Home > Archive: September, 2012

Archive for September, 2012

I've been downsized

September 30th, 2012 at 11:40 pm

Well, I knew this was coming. The guy I regularly drive told me the new schedule will start this week. That is, instead of having me drive him to and from work daily, I will now only have to drive him Monday, Tuesday and half of Wednesday (in the a.m.) He found someone who is willing to drive him the rest of the week for free.

I have mixed feelings about it. Glad on the one hand because over 2 hours of daily driving was wearing on me, even though it was broken up between mornings and afternoons. I was concerned about the wear and tear it was putting on my 12-year-old car, as I don't want to have to get a new car anytime soon.

But of course I will miss the money. Instead of grossing $800 a month (tax-free, I might add), it'll be just $400 a month.

Once again, i'll have to come up with something to make up for that lost income. I need a friggin' regular job is what I need.

Tomorrow I'm heading to Agway after dropping him off to get some garlic sets to plant. I use garlic fairly often in cooking and I'd like to try my hand at growing them. It seems fairly easy, as long as the voles/moles don't have a hankering for them.

I made a chicken soup today, which is always good, saving the veggie scraps for stock. Smile

Also mowed part of the front lawn and set more mousetraps. There was one I set right by the garage door, where they always come in, and I went to check it and it was completely gone. I looked around the area and nothing. That one is a mystery.

Went to a condo open house but didn't really care for the unit or the complex. I'm beginning to suspect that what I'm looking for doesn't exist.

Saturday stuff

September 29th, 2012 at 09:04 pm

It was a mildly interesting day even though I didn't get as much done as I could have.

First stop: what sounded like a huge tag sale, based on the item by item listing. There really wasn't that much stuff after all, though I did spend $1 to buy one of those old-fashioned heavy metal staplers, if you know what I mean. It was one of those nostalgia buys for me.

Next, went to the annual health fair and collected a variety of free pens, toothpaste, an apple and lots of information on ticks, the local scourge. I also got a free flu shot. Ran into my neighbor a few doors down, a dentist. I didn't think he knew who I was, but he did, and we had a nice little chat. He has the perfect yard.

It's always mildly surprised me that he lives in my neighborhood, since dentists make pretty good money and this is a neighborhood filled with hard-working people. He must be very frugal. Other neighbors' occupations that I'm aware of: p/t school bus driver, butcher at a supermarket, realtor, bookkeeper at a non-profit, a few retired folks.

I had an early roast chicken dinner and since I had to heat up the big oven, I stuck in 3 sweet potatoes, an acorn squash and a spaghetti squash as well.

I still have some freelance work to do, but I'm not in the mood. Hopefully tomorrow.

I had ordered 2 pairs of comfy sweatpants from Walmart recently, as I live in sweats all winter long, especially as I work from home a lot. They even had them in petite sizes (hooray) but the "Mediums" I got were swimming on me, or should we say, falling off me at the waist. Lengthwise, they sure didn't seem like petites, either. Who's in charge over there for apparel sizing, anyway? I know Walmart clothes are supersized, but I didn't expect a medium to be so huge on me. Luckily, I can just return them to the store, which I think will be easier than having to mail the package back. But I ordered them online becus it's often difficult to find a specific size, especiall petite. I've already reordered. For $13.71, (and that's for TWO pairs), and including the .97 for shipping, you really can't go wrong.

It's a very grey, dreary, chilly day today. Tonight, since I don't have a new Netflix movie, will likely be devoted to reading the new book I'm into.(See profile.) I've always had an interest in natural history; I picked the wrong major in college, probably, but I also did very poorly in things like Algebra, so I steered clear of a science focus.

Or, maybe I'll continue editing The Author's 2nd book. She's always scraping for money, and she owes me another $150 installment which I'm guessing won't be coming soon. Sigh. She'll pay me, I'm sure, I'll just have to wait. My #1 client still hasn't paid for a job I invoiced August 10. The gal there seems to not be very organized when it comes to submitting those invoices to Accounting. That means yet another email pointing this out.

Yippe yah hi ho!

September 29th, 2012 at 02:00 am

That was my reaction when I picked up (via an email query) what sounds like ongoing editing of blog posts for another real estate former client of mine.

Thing is, she's a pretty good writer to start with so I'm going to have to work pretty hard to add value and thereby justify my charge!

All I need are a few REGULAR streams of income from certain key clients like this and that would make my life SO much easier.

I did apply for 2 very local jobs here near me, part-time and very likely low-paying. One's a proofreader job. But really, I don't much care, I just need some REGULAR income I can depend on so I don't go all month long scrounging around for work all the time and wondering every single month if my income will exceed expenses.

I was pretty busy today with the real estate case study job and hope to finish up the bulk of it this weekend.

The NY agency client simply amazees me that they are so slow in getting back to us and i'm starting to wonder if something is wrong. Also, the more time that goes by, the more nervous i'm getting about eventually getting paid for this. The PR agency owes me $1100 to date. It's been dragging on for nearly 2 months now. Would it be inappropriate of me to request payment for work performed so far, even though the job is not complete yet? I think that's what I'd like to do on Monday.

So it'll be another working weekend. I am NOT complaining. I may hit the church craft fair where The Author will be hawking her book, the one i edited. I'm sure she'd be happy to see me there, but the place will be mobbed. Unfortunately with that 1st book, she continued to make content changes AFTER I'd edited it, and she did NOT return it to me to check her changes. She just had it published becus she just wanted to get it done by that point. And so, on the very first page, is at least to me a blatant error. The name of a river, a proper noun, does not have the word "river" capitalized. It JUMPS out at me and looks terrible. So I cringe when I see it or she introduces me as her editor or something and I'm not sure how proud I am of that book because as I said, she rushed the process toward the end and just did some stuff on the fly. Oh well.

On Sunday there are 2 open houses, side by side, of 2 condo units at a complex I haven't checked out yet. I just can't wrap my head around $500/month common charges at my favorite complex. Over the years, and on a fixed income, that would really add up and I keep getting stuck on that expense, even though the purchase price and, to a lesser extent, the taxes, are lower.

There is also a big tag sale in town that i think i'll check out tomorrow just for hoo-hahs. Haven't done that in ages. Oh, yeah, and there's the town's annual health fair, when you can get free health screenings done and lots of free samples, toothbrushes, etc.

I went to a nice free dinner sponsored by MS drug maker Thurs. night. They had your choice of FOUR entrees: chicken, beef, pasta or salmon (my choice) with all the fixin's, buffet style, plus quite a good chocolate cake for dessert. All I had to do is listen to the same old generic, boring doctor lecture. I'm going to another one of these on Monday! It's the only time I get to eat dinner out, unless my dad's up and he treats!

After the doctor spoke they also had an "MS Ambassador" speak, someone who has MS who describes their own story with their first symptoms and how they reacted and their foray into the medical system to learn their diagnosis.

She should have been someone I felt connected to as a fellow MSer, but I didn't feel that way at all. Here she is, telling what's basically her life story, a very personal story, and she's 100% reading from note cards. So no eye contact. On top of that, happened to learn she's a school teacher, and the way she narrated her story, she made it sound like she was reading a super-cheerful story to little kids. It sounded not at all genuine to me and quite a turn-off. In fact, I slipped out the door, pretending to head for the rest rooms, but instead i left early.

The No-Heat Challenge!

September 26th, 2012 at 06:24 pm

Like a big 'ol bear looking forward to some hibernation, I'm feeling a little I'm not sure I'm doing the OFFICIAL no-heat challenge this fall, BUT I still plan to hold out with no heat for as long as possible, and I invite you to join me.

There are a lot of newcomers here, so if you're one of them, it's just sort of an informal contest we had here for the past few years to see who could keep the heat turned off (and the dollars turned on) for the longest into the fall.

Feel free to "report in" here whenever you like, as in, "As of today, we still haven't turned the heat on in [name of state.]" It's fun to track, and of course, it can make a difference what part of the US (or beyond) you live in.

Last year, on Oct 11, 2011, Little Gopher from Minnesota and Ima from Georgia still hadn't turned the heat on. I think I stopped tracking it at that point, but looking at it now, it doesn't really seem all that late. Who knows, with climate change, maybe someone can exceed that date.

And I see that in 2008, I turned my heat on Oct. 18.

So let's all shoot for AT LEAST October 11. It's only another 15 days!

Today's doings, going on a wheat diet?

September 26th, 2012 at 12:33 am

Well, I learned late yesterday from the doctor's office that yes, I tested positive for Lyme Disease. I am already well into the 3 weeks of antibiotics AND the 3 herbs that worked for me before. The high doses of antibiotics caused a nasty yeast infection last time this happened, which was VERY hard to get rid of, so I am TRYING to take preventive action by popping probiotics twice a day and using 4 leftover herbal anti-fungal suppositories over the course of the 3 weeks, just for good measure.

I'm TRYING to avoid sugar and bread and cheese, but that's a bit hard.

Switching gear...
One thing that's been bothering me lately is how shabby and worn all the trim/moldings look around the doorways and windows here. It's an old house, so it's collected a lot of dings and dents in the wood, plus it's peeling a bit here and there.

So I decided to tackle the 2 doorways into the kitchen, since it's such a high traffic location, as well as the door (also in the kitchen) that leads to the basement.

I got out the small electric sander I've been borrowing from a friend for the past 6 months! (He hasn't seemed to be in any hurry to get it back.) I sanded all the wood down pretty good, then used some wood putty in a few spots and then painted everything white. It looks a lot better, I must say. I suppose a second coat is de riguer, but I don't know that I could muster the enthusiasm for that.

It's one small step toward getting this house on the market some day. Didn't like all the mess that electric sander made, though, especially since I had to wipe it all up so carefully in case it had any lead in it. (I was wearing a mask.)

Tomorrow after dropping J. off I think I'll pick up more probiotics at Wal-Mart (shouldn't it be kept refrigerated?) and some groceries at Caraluzzi's.

I made the most delicious Mediterranean Beef Ragout in the slow cooker tonight. I used my own tomatoes, of course. Maybe that's why it was so flavorful.

J., the guy I drive, was telling me about a book he's reading called Wheat Belly. Written by a cardiologist who feels that our obesity problems are caused by wheat in our diet, that the wheat we eat today is not the same thing as what our grandparents ate, and talking alot about the high glycemic index of whole wheat products, which everyone believes is "healthy."

Supposedly, refraining from wheat will really take the pounds off, even if you do nothing else different.

I looked it up in a glycemic index online, and I was actually very surprised that the glycemic value of whole wheat bread is pretty similar to that of white bread, and whole wheat pasta is pretty similar to regular pasta. Now, whole wheat products are still going to have a higher nutritional value, but if you consider just the glycemic value, well, that is interesting.

I might like to try a wheat-free diet for a while, once I use up all the wheat bran cereals and whole wheat pasta in the house. That may take a while, but I can't bear to throw it out.

Unusual credit card policies, Netflix, mice and woodchuck dilemmas

September 23rd, 2012 at 12:12 pm

I watched my first Netflix movie last night. (See below for a recommended movie.) It has been several years since I enjoyed Netflix, and it was like hanging out with an old friend.

Anybody happen to know the maximum number of movies you can rent in a month if you watch the movie same day you get it and return it the very next day?

I'm guessing 6 to 8, but I'll be perfectly happy to have 1 a week.

I am perturbed by the Amex Premier Rewards card. The final charge of $180 needed to hit the $2,000 spending target has been held up in posting on my account online. The charge was made 4 days ago. I called about it and I believe she said she saw it was "pending." She also said that the bonus rewards aren't awarded until 6 to 8 weeks after you earn them!! This is so unlike other credit cards where they post them to you account immediately, or at least as soon as you pay the bill. So I guess I'll have to wait a while.

The other thing I REALLY disliked and thought was rather strange, is the due date that shows on my monthly Amex statements. I have noticed on each of the two previous bills I've gotten that there was a span of only 6 days from the date I received the bill to the due date.

Credit card reform laws require giving the consumer at least three weeks to pay it.

So since I had the rep on the phone, I brought up the short timeframe, and she said, oh, that's not a DUE date, that's just a "suggested" date for payment. The actual due date, she said, is 4 weeks later.

Well, HELLO. How is the customer supposed to know that? doesn't mention that anywhere on the statement. Is this misleading, or what???? I don't know about you, but I like to know exactly when the bill is due. Not when it's "sorta" due, or, God forbid, overdue, but the Exact Date It Is Due.

A recommended movie (the one I watched last night, which was very touching and sweet):

Kinamand (Chinaman) Subtitles
A middle-aged Danish man who happens to be a plumber is divorced by his wife after many years of marriage. He's become boring. Depressed, he starts to eat all his meals at the Chinese place across the street from his apartment. One day the pipes burst at the restaurant while the Dane is eating there and, since he's in the business, he repairs all the pipes for the owner. He's just a nice guy.

They get kind of friendly; he's there every day, after all, working his way through the menu. Soon, the proprietor asks him if he'd be willing to marry his sister so she can stay in the country. He agrees to do it for $8,000, the exact amount he's got to cough up to pay his wife in the divorce settlement. The woman's family stages the entire wedding, complete with photos, which they plan to use to prove the marriage is legit to immigration officials. The Danish man goes along with it all. He doesn't say much, but you can see he's got a good heart. He finds himself falling in love with the woman. And that's all I'm going to tell you!

I actually have a bit of work today, from the IT director at the private school. It's more than the usual email or two he wants me to edit; this is a proposal of some sort, several pages long. I will actually be able to charge him my going rate, which is $40/hr for editing. ($50/hr for new copy). I've had a work relationship with him for over a year now, but editing an email here or there that could be just 2 sentences long, well, I didn't start out charging more than the time it took me to edit it, which wasn't much, so at most it amounted to $20 a week. I probably should have established a minimum fee, but I didn't.

Actually, I just had a good idea. I could propose he pay me a small weekly retainer fee and in return I'd edit unlimited emails. It would create a regular income stream and I think would be better for me since there are often weeks he sends me nothing to edit, plus I could avoid the tedium of adding up very small dollar amounts and billing him for it. Not sure if he'd like the idea. What's the incentive for him? Would he barrage me with so many more emails that I'd be working for nothing? He doesn't usually send me many, maybe 2 or 3 a day at most, and usually just 4 or 5 a week. And sometimes I'm not always here to turn them around in a timely fashion.

The cats have been working overtime catching mice in the basement. I hate it because they love to bring the live mouse upstairs and chase it around, and then I don't want to walk around barefoot anymore or touch the cats when they sidle up to me. And it always happens at night, when I don't want to have to chase cats chasing mice.

If I can get them to run down the basement with it again, I often just close the door the basement and leave them with it until they start scratching at the door. Sometimes I'll find a dead mouse down there or sometimes, it's nowhere to be found, which means it got away and may crawl away to die somewhere later and then leave a lasting stink.

Either way, very distasteful to deal with, but if I DONT let the cats catch the mice, like if I blocked off access to the basement at night, well, I shudder to think about the mice population explosion that could take place.

I used to set lots of traps all the time,and I think I really start doing that again, although that, too, is an extremely distasteful business. Who even wants to handle a trap with a dead mouse in it?

I'm also limited in where I can place the set traps since the cats could really get hurt should they sniff or step on one and it snaps.

It's an old house. Who knows how the mice are getting in. Is there a hole in the outside foundation somewhere? I really have no idea.

I'm also not helping matters by having 80 lbs. of bird seed in the garage. I know rodents can smell that, and even though they can't get into the containers, I imagine it draws them in. But I really enjoy feeding the birds all winter. (Sadly, I found a dead sparrow inside the caged triple tube feeder yesterday. I don't know why it died. It was halfway through the cage. Was it stuck there? I don't think so, but who knows.)

Which brings me to yet another critter...the big fat woodchuck preparing for winter in his cozy little den about 50 feet from the house. It's a great spot, totally camoflauged by tall stilt grass, an invasive grass over a foot high now.

It's an area I eyeballed in early spring while saying to myself, I should plant grass there and then keep it mowed so it doesn't get so overgrown. Then I never got around to doing it with all the other stuff i have to do.

I noticed the woodchuck a month or so ago and never got around to a proven effective method of getting rid of him that did not harm him but encouraged him to move on: used cat litter dropped down his burrow. Now that a frost is just a few weeks away, i was having a tough time bringing myself to do this so late in the season. It's getting chilly at night, and what if he had trouble finding another suitable location? Once the ground freezes, he'd be out of luck, I think.

So I decided to let him stay the winter and then boot him out in the spring. they are voracious eaters, worse than deer in many respects, but I hadn't seen any damage by him. Until yesterday, when I noticed he had indeed been munching on my mums, now in bloom, and some autumn joy sedums, a prized plant. Grrr.

I am still so undecided about it all. The ground won't ACTUALLY freeze probably for another month, so he COULD still dig out a burrow somewhere else. and if he turns out to be a she, then I just may regret the free pass til spring.

What to do, what to do.

Oh, what a beautiful day!!

September 21st, 2012 at 07:08 pm

It would be CRIMINAL not to get outside on a day like today.

So I did.

I went to one of my usual haunts (Dido walked this trail with me once.)

There's a nice paved loop through a deeply shaded woods. Then it transitions into wide open meadow.

The trail is on the campus of what used to be a state-owned mental hospital. I believe it was all built in the 20s or 30s. Quite some time ago now, the state sold it to the town for $1. That includes the buidlings themselves as well as the roughly 1,000 acres.

Parts of the campus have been very nice renovated. Our new town hall is here, as well as a huge sports center, the organic farmer's market and the newly built dog shelter and dog run. Volunteers also planted a Victory Garden, where all the produce grown goes to the town's food pantry for low-income people.

There have been lots of surveys done about what people want to happen to this land, and the overwhelming consensus is NO housing or development, but keep it for municipal uses, ball fields and passive recreation. I don't think the housing or development has been completely ruled out as there is a certain contingent pusing for that, but this is the town's last large piece of open space left,and it's very centrally located.

On the grounds there are 5 duplexes which used to be where the doctors lived on campus.

They all look exactly the same, like this one. Each of the buildings faces a small green, so it really has a pleasant community look.

I don't know what the town's plans are for them, but work here has pretty much stopped due to a lack of funds. there are a number of buildings that are slated to be torn down, but I would love to see these rehabbed and sold as small condos. They are dilapidated now, but they would be just perfect for me. Each one has the nice sun room on the end and each also has a one-car garage discreetly tucked in the back. I would LOVE to live here!

I like walking around here. Others come here too to bike ride, rollerblade or walk their dogs. They have begun pulling out invasive barberry, known to be tick habitat, from the woods, something I suggested a year or so ago.

You've seen photos of this building before. No work done on it at all, sadly, as wood trim rots and weeds gain a foothold in the granite steps.

No freelance work of any kind today. After I drove J. to work, I came home and got some pea soup cooking in the slow cooker. So I'll have a nice dinner. I get my first Netflix movie tomorrow!

Sweet deal on Citi Forward card

September 20th, 2012 at 07:27 pm

I saw over on My Money Blog (the only personal finance blog I subscribe to these days) there was mention of a pretty sweet credit card deal.

If you apply for a new citi forward card (make sure the ofer is mentioned when you apply) and designate that card to pay for your Netflix streaming, you'll receive a credit up to $10 a month from Citi for the first 12 months. Meaning you get a free one-year streaming membership to Netflix.

It's been a few years since I had Netflix. I had the 2 a month DVD plan, which suited me just fine.

So I called Citi to see if this deal would apply to DVD rentals, or just streaming, and no one seemed to know. I talked to 3 Citi people and 2 Netflix people.

Then I just went to the Netflix website and I think I answered my own question. I realized that Netflix today no longer seems to offer DVD rentals as a stand-alone offer; they only offer it as an add-on to a streaming membership that costs $7.99 a month.Now why couldn't Netflix tell me that????

I'm really sort of surprised Netflix doesn't do DVDs anymore except in the capacity described above.

So I guess I own't spring for the card after all. I need to do a memory upgrade on my computer; it is constantly locking up and freezing on me, and I remember a computer repair guy had told me a while back to wait 6 more months and memory would be much cheaper. I want to finish up the 2 big freelance I've been working on and then let him make the upgrade for me.

I discovered unexpectedly that I could charge the $180 for the furnace tune-up to my Amex card; it was all i needed to meet my 3-month spending goal on that card, so as soon as that final charge posts (or perhaps only when I pay the bill), I'll be able to redeem muchos ($250) gift cards. It'll feel like Xmas again. Smile

At that point, I'll have earned $850 in either cash back or gift cards from assorted card offers, which is double what I earned last year.

It's tempting to try one or two more offers this year and shoot for $1,000 earned, although I do have over $500 in grocery store gift cards I should really use.

I went to cancel my Citi Thank You card and the rep pointed out that I had 2,279 points, or just a few hundred points shy of a $25 gift card, so I decided she's right, maybe hold off cancelling it for now. But I do want to winnow a card or two and close them so i can more easily track points and just maxmimize points build-up on one card rather than multiple cards. It'll go faster that way.

I did use a gift card to do some shopping at Trader Joe's this a.m. Didn't buy as much as I wanted, mainly becus i remembered my freezer is packed with frozen tomatoes and I just can't fit anymore in there.

J. is working late today and tomorrow so I don't have to pick him up til 6 pm.

Mowed half the lawn but pooped out and have to go out there again in a little while.

Another day in the life

September 19th, 2012 at 04:40 pm

Last night we had a strong rainstorm that knocked out my power from about 7 pm, just around the time I was cleaning up after dinner, and midnight, when a CL&P truck rumbled down the street to replace a blown transformer.

It was just about this time last year (October, to be specific) when we had a freak snowstorm that dumped about a foot of early snow on the ground and knocked out power for a full seven days.

At least I didn't have to throw out bad food this time. Electricity is NOT something I take for granted these days, and I can only pray that we have a mild winter.

This morning, I turned in a draft of a case study I've been writing for a real estate executive who wants a certain certification. I've put in 12.75 hours so far, so that's $637, a nice piece of change and quite a bit more than the usual brochures or press releases I do for this client. I know there is still quite a bit of work to do on the case study. I feel squeamish about sending them a bill that will probably be in the neighborhood of $1,000 or more.

I know getting the certification is very important to him; he's tried a few times before to do it and procrastinated and it never got done becus he's just too busy. Just hope he's not shocked by my bill. I'm putting in the time and certainly earned it, but they're just not used to seeing dollar amounts that high from me. Oh well. I'm sure my bill will be very small potatoes when compared to other fees they pay, and receive.

Any day now the client of the PR firm should be setting a meeting time during which to discuss the draft we sent to them over a week ago. Once that meeting takes place, I'll surely be spending considerable time making revisions to the brochure I wrote, so I'm trying to do as much as possible on the real estate case study as I can before I have to switch gears and think energy efficiency initiatives.

It's good to be busy, although since both projects are ongoing, I haven't been paid anything and there will be a long delay in getting payment. Usually 6 weeks for the real estate client.

I went to the doctor yesterday and am nearly positive I have Lyme Disease again. I've already started on the antibiotics although I won't have the results from the blood test for another few days. I'm also taking 3 herbs recommended by an herbalist in a book written about curing Lyme Disease. It worked for me once before when the 3-week course of meds failed to stop the daily headaches. So I am doing both the meds and the herbs, PLUS plenty of acidopholus to avoid a subsequent UTI.

Ha! Just got an email from another client (guardian ad litem) asking if I have time to edit a report. Work actually comes to ME. I love it.

I discovered today that I could pay a $180 bill for a much-needed furnace tune-up with my Amex card, so with that charge, I've attained the magical $2,000 spending mark, earning myself the $250 in gift cards. I'll have to wait for that final charge to show up on my account online, and then I can redeem. Whoeeeeee.

I still have $64 in Amazon gift cards burning a hole in my pocket and I have yet to figure out how to use them. Anything I might like to get, like clothing (I'ld like some comfy sweatpants) or shoes, is something I've learned thru experience is better to try on to ensure a good fit rather than winging it on Amazon. There have been other things I've thought to buy, but they don't qualify for free shipping and so I refuse to waste gift cards on shipping charges. Other things, well, they cost more than $64.

I am still driving J. daily to work, but am really sort of looking forward to a break from the 2 hours plus driving I've been doing when this person he mentioned will start driving him (for free) 2 days a week. When I started driving him in late July, gas prices were at about $3.50 a gallon, and now they're up to $4.05 a gallon, a more than .50 a gallon increase. So I'm making less money doing this than before, and it's also been somewhat disruptive in my freelance work schedule. When I have big projects like the two mentioned above, I can't settle into doing them until after I get back from driving J. in the morning, usually around 8:45 am, and then I have to break from it at 4:40 pm to pick him up.

My freezer is packed with frozen tomatoes from my garden, and until I start using them in soups and stews, I can't fit a single thing in there! I realized this when I was going to take advantage of a sale on Lean Cuisine and had to pass on it becus there's simply no place to put it.

Luther and Waldo have already caught a few mice in the basement trying to escape the cold. Then they end up in the maws of my felines, who are fond of carrying them upstairs to show me their find.

As my world turns

September 17th, 2012 at 12:02 am

Another lovely fall day, so bright and sunny. Almost too beautiful for words.

My goal was to finish writing the luxury home subdivision sales brochure on Saturday and start on the real estate certification case study on Sunday (both freelance jobs with the same client).

I accomplished the first, but kept finding other things to do than start the case study. It WAS my weekend, after all.

Instead, I did the following:
1. Continued cleaning up the vegetable garden, which meant pulling out all the tomato plants, pepper and bean plants. By ths time of year, the tomatoes get a bad case of blight,and it's important not to leave old dead leaves lying around because it will allow the blight to overwinter and return next year with vigor. So I dumped all the veggie plants onto a large tarp, which I hope to cram in my tiny Honda trunk, when the landfill opens on Tuesday.

2. Watered the two areas where I planted grass. Ho hum, I know, but it's a very relaxing thing to do.

3. Read the Sunday paper.

4. Filled the bird feeder.

5. Refilled the bird bath with water.

6. Replenished the hummingbird sugar water and then watched as it zipped back and forth among the feeding stations, apparently too impatient to wait for me to leave.

7. Made some Trader Joe truffles, aka brownies.

8. Boiled up the last batch of tomatoes from the garden, then to the freezer after they cooled. We are really winding down now.

Walked to the library and got some DVDs. The first one i watched last night was Prairie Love. A drifter driving along in the middle of nowhere, North Dakota, in dead of winter finds a man who looks dead lying in the road in front of his truck which had broken down. Frozen solid, in other words. He drags him to his own vehicle and eventually, the frozen guy comes to, but not before the drifter snoops in his suitcase and reads a bunch of love letters from a woman in prison.

Turns out the man he rescued was on his way to see her for the very first time after a 3 year penpal relationship. She's being released from prison.

The drifter decides that he's going to get rid of the guy and show up to meet the girl and pretend he's the guy who's been writing letters to her all this time.

After saving the man's life initially, he leaves him in the snow and goes on to meet the girl.

I won't tell you anymore, but it's an interesting story....

Yet another downshift in the job situation

September 14th, 2012 at 01:01 am

So, I've been driving J. to work, and bringing him back home again, since late July, I believe. He's been paying me $200 a week/$800/month.

Quite a lot of out-of-pocket expense just to get someone to drive you to work, especially when I know he only makes $45k.

Still, he took me by surprise today when I was driving him home and he announced that through AA, there's someone he met who happens to live in his town and happens to work in the same town he does and who has generously offered to drive him to and from work 2 days a week, for free.

J. said he's totally tapped out and has a lot of bills coming up. I totally get it. So I had to be gracious about the whole thing, and while it's not finalized yet, looks like my $200/week gig will soon become a $120/week gig, or $480/month instead of $800/month.

It was the only "steady" thing I had.

Let's just hope when one door closes, another door opens. Like a real job offer from the PR agency for a regular 2 day a week, eventually 3 day a week job. That would be real money.

I just learned that my unemployment benefits will run out at the end of the year. Hey, they lasted a LOT longer than I initially thought, mainly because I continue to freelance and then report the income to the state, who then suspends your unemployment check, or a portion thereof. I originally thought they'd run out in April of this year.

One small consolation is that starting in 2013, I will then be eligible for a whole new round of unemployment benefits based on that itty, bitty little p/t job with the publisher that lasted 7 months or so. Based on what I earned, which was little, I will be eligible to receive $52 gross each week.

The universe just keeps throwing monkey wrenches in my path. So far, I've been able to rise above. Hope that continues....

In other news, I have $65 in Amazon gift cards and I can't decide how to use them. I had wanted to upgrade from a cheapie and defective DVD player an old boyfriend had bought me 8 years ago that often rumbles as it plays and is rather fickle. But it's a toss-up whether to buy a Blu Ray or High Def DVD player, and neither is compatible with the other. Plus some don't come with the cable, and i started getting nervous whether I'd know how to hook it up. Frown

As far as current work goes, here's what on my plate:
1. PR agency brochure on hold this week, but to be reviewed by all next week, with likely revisions by me.

2. I'm still editing The Author's second novel; she'll need to pay a 2nd installment soon.

3. Tomorrow after driving J. to work, i have to schlep down to town about 45 minutes away to meet with my real estate client to help him write a roughly 40 page application for a certification he really wants. This should be decent money, and I'm hoping this is the only in-person meeting I'll need to do.

4. Same company also just assigned me another project that's worth a few hundred.

So, thankfully, I have stuff to do. It's just the long-term I always have to worry about. Inevitably, things will slow down.

I like my lifestyle now very much (think: time and freedom) but future bills and how I'll pay them is a constant source of concern. And I wonder how long I can live this way.


I had the furnace cleaned and tuned up today, and it's ready for winter. $170 expense. Had to be done. He said it was very dirty and all out of whack. I skipped the tune-up last year. I guess I won't do that again. But once again, a technician has complimented me on my furnace. It's an expensive one, but one of the best (ThermoPride) and it has a lifetime guarantee on the heat exchanger, which is always the one part that, if it goes, basically means you'll be in the market for a whole new furnace.

I haven't watched a library movie in a long time. I think I'll try to get a Friday.