Home > Archive: March, 2013

Archive for March, 2013

Month of March, Financial Analysis

March 31st, 2013 at 01:09 pm

March turned out to be a pretty good month. I thought I might be in the red after having to spend $355 on heating oil and $246 on doctor's visits. I also overspent on food, at $236, and had an unexpectedly higher car repair expense of $131 after Honda told me the transmission oil was very dirty.

All told, expenses totaled $1801. But my income from freelance work, unemployment, my part-time proofreading job, credit card rewards and online surveys/forums totaled $2754, leaving me with a positive balance of $953 for the month and $2,070 for the YTD.

Of course, my balance sheet always seems skewed to me since I only pay property taxes twice a year; after my next payment, I'm sure my apparent monthly savings will shrink quite a bit since property taxes come out to about $550 a month.

Keeping track of monthly income and expenses allows me to see certain "trends" right away, often as I'm filling out my Excel spreadsheet. For instance, I noticed that my p/t monthly income has been gradually diminishing since the start of the year, when I netted $1369. Their busy time is Jan/Feb. Now this month, I earned just $956, and I'm guessing it will drop further as we move into April. I talked to them Friday about this; they said they'd try to keep me busy on various "projects," so I guess we'll see.

While I was filling out the spreadsheet, I also noticed that I had forgotten to record the $46 refund I got after doing my state taxes, since I have a line item for that and it was blank. So I adjusted things accordingly.

In looking at my food bills, things are really out of control, despite my hopes that more regularly shopping at BJ's would save me money over the long run. Here's what I spent to date on food:

Jan: $496
Feb: $122
Mar: $236

And this was while I was still using up Shop Rite gift cards I'd purchased last year to hit a spending target for a credit card bonus. My hope was to try to keep it closer to $200.

This month I'll have to make an estimated quarterly tax payment to the IRS for my freelance work. It shouldn't be much because my chief client really drags its feet to pay me and in fact I have to call their accounting office Monday to inquire about some February invoices that still haven't been paid. Two months is getting ridiculous, though at least some of the time the delay is due to my marketing contact there forgetting to forward my invoices to Accounting.

But I decided to call Accounting about it first this time because it seems like my having to pester them about timely payments has an inhibiting effect on my getting more work. Not intentionally, but it's basically unpleasant for us both when I have to bring it up, so my preference would be to go straight to their Accounting office so I can avoid bringing it up with the person who gives me work if I can do so.

A little of this, a little of that...

March 31st, 2013 at 12:26 am

Today was one of those rare days when I didn't really have any things I HAD to do, no running around and oh, I like that.

I did do some baking for Easter. I made my yummy three nut and cranberry pie, very similar to a pecan pie except it's walnuts, hazlenuts and pecans with a little maple syrup and dried cranberries. I also made some cupcakes with a crushed walnut and tahini crust and cheesecake filling that I'll top tomorrow morning with lemon curd and sliced kiwi. Does that sound good or what?

It was sunny and up to 50 degrees today so I got out there in the garage and planted some lettuce and snow peas in pots and put them in front of a large, south-facing window in the garage. They should germinate okay in there, I would think.

I did a little sweeping in the garage, cut out some dead leave from the many perennials I have stored in there (also, some very nice annual flowers overwintered again successfully there, saving me money and the need to buy any), watered them some, collected more pine cones (which I'm bleaching to a lighter color), sawed up a small amount of wood and put out some crushed eggshells for the birds, which need calcium right about now as they set about nesting.

I had some time for a 15-minute late afternoon snooze and did my April investment report. (See sidebar.) I gained about $12k for the month of March, which is doing quite well, but I need to rebalance on Monday as I'm over-weighted on domestic stocks.

My total portfolio is up to $554K now. I believe that's the highest it's ever been. Remarkably, that's $54,410 more than I had a year ago at this time, and I wasn't working f/t then, either! So that's a nice piece of change to make for doing basically nothing.

I would love to grow that to $600K, but that isn't going to happen anytime soon since I can't afford to contribute a penny without a full-time job. It's so frustrating not to be able to move toward my goals, because I have such clarity, focus and determination. It kills me to let time pass without inching closer toward my goals.

I set up my new cordless keyboard and mouse and everything's working quite nicely. It's even nicer knowing I didn't have to pay for it as I used Amazon gift cards earned from a couple of different online forums I'm in. I've been earning $40 a month from this since last year and I do look forward to that as a way to spend a little fun money without having to feel guilty about it.

I'm working on a new credit card bonus reward for the Capital One green cash reward card ($100 after spending $500). I have my eye on the Citi Thank You Premier card (not to be confused with the Amex Premier card or the Citi Thank You Preferred card, both of which I've earned upfront bonuses on already), but won't go for it til September. You have to spend $2,000 (for $250 in gift cards) but both my car and homeowners insurance are due in the fall, so it will help me spend not quite half of the required amount.

March movies

March 27th, 2013 at 02:27 pm

So for the month of March I watched 7 Netflix movies, you know, the old-fashioned way where they mail you one at a time. I like that sense of anticipation waiting for a new movie to show up in the mailbox.

Here's what I saw:

Hiding & Seeking: I thought this was an excellent documentary, about a modern-day Jewish father living in upstate NY who is concerned that his two grown sons, both Orthodox, have insulated themselves in the Jewish community. He takes them on a trip to Poland to visit the Polish farm family that sheltered his father and two uncles from the Nazis by hiding them in an underground pit in a barn. Going into it, the 2 sons had conflicted views about non-Jews, not wanting to have anything to do with Poles in general since many of them collaborated with the Nazis. It's a documentary, so there are no neat endings, but there is some resolution and closure.

Delicatessen: I didn't really care for this one; it was a bit too bizarre for me, about a butcher who kills tenants who live in his building and sells the meat in his shop to impoverished customers.

I Served the King of England

The Edge of Heaven: This was very good. A Turkish man accidentally kills a prostitute and the man's grown son becomes involved with making amends for her death to the woman's daughter.

Late Bloomer: Didn't care for this one at all. About a handicapped killer.

Doubt: This was excellent. Starring Meryl Streep as the principal of a Catholic school who suspects the parish priest is molesting one of the students. Thruout the film, Meryl is steadfast in her knowledge of what the priest is doing, based wholly on circumstantial evidence, and determined to protect the boy. At the very end of the film, Meryl has succeeded in forcing the priest out (though he's just being transferred, not prosecuted) but she confesses her lingering doubt to another nun. Hence the name of the movie.

The Way Home: Great movie, poignant,funny, low key, subtle. A selfish and spoiled boy in South Korea is dropped off by his mother to live with his grandmother in the rural countryside for the summer while mom looks for a job. All he wants to do is play video games and eat fast food, but when his batteries die, he slowly becomes more receptive to another way of life and stops calling his grandmother a retard. Really beautiful movie.

What will April bring?

Tuesday doings

March 26th, 2013 at 08:12 pm

Went to the product testing place to pick up product I will test for 7 days, then return for 2nd and final visit next week = $90.

Used my 3 BP gas cards to put about $20 in the tank, but one card, which has just .65 on it, was not read correctly. Dang, I don't want to waste it. Will try again another time.

Stopped at Kohl's and wanted to use up a $19.12 balance on a gift card there. I didn't want to overspend that $19.12, so I thought I MIGHT be able to get a single top or something. I was able to get a shirt, a turtleneck and a pair of pants, all from the 60% off racks. (And I still got .84 in change back.)

Picked up a cotton long-sleeved shirt for my sister's birthday in a color (minty green?) I'll be seeing her Easter Sunday at my mother's. I think she'll like it. Hopefully it fits. Marked down to $3!!

Also got a mock turtleneck for myself ($5 and change!) and a pair of coffee colored cord pants ($8!). When I got home, I saw the receipt rang it up as "Young Men's Pants." Ha! What were they doing on the women's rack? They seemed to fit ok, altho a bit snug around the waist. For the price, I'll deal with it (and lose a few more pounds).

Amazon got the book I returned and I promptly placed another order with the money returned to my gift card balance. I really need a cordless keyboard/mouse combo becus I put the tower inside the cabinet where it's supposed to go (it'll get less dusty there and I won't have to be kicking it anymore under the desk. All the other many cords reached the tower thru a cutout hole in the back of my computer desk Except the keyboard one BARELY was long enough and sort of requires me to type with the keyboard at a funny angle and not on the slide-out tray.I also got some toiletries just to ensure free shipping.

I also brought a trunk full of heavy logs to the dump. I tried to help a senior citizen unload a very heavy tarp full of leaves from the back of his pickup, but it was super heavy. He was getting it slowly pulled off the tailgate, while I could barely budge it.

I already loaded another trunk full of logs in the car and will unload them tomorrow on my way in to work.

Everything's breaking down

March 25th, 2013 at 10:18 pm

What I thought would be a quickie visit by AT&T U-Verse turned out to be several hours; they had to install an outside line and put a big box on the outside of the house.

While he was working on that, i decided I really would like to put my computer tower inside the cabinet that's made for it in my computer desk. I'm constantly kicking a pile of wires under the desk and I'm tired of looking at it. I never put the tower inside the cabinet before becus the cables/wires didn't quite reach. Now I have it all hooked up but the keyboard wire is too short; i will have to get a new one; luckily a wireless is not that expensive but for now I'm typing at a funny angle.

I think I can notice that everything does seem slightly faster with the U-verse. Even though it's the slowest speed U-verse, it's still 25 times faster than my basic DSL. I couldn't be more pleased about that!

So I boxed up the DSL modem I'd just purchased from them and put the postage free return label on. Not exactly sure if I'll get the full $75 back or $62, sans shipping cost. It didn't seem to be working (that's why I went with the U-verse), so I would think I should not have to pay for postage for a defective unit.

I had a wireless keyboard/mouse before but something stopped working and I never took the time to try to figure out if it was the mouse or the keyboard. (It wasn't the batteries.)

I also finally succeeded in emptying a two-drawer file cabinet that sat next to the computer desk and will bring the ugly thing to the dump tomorrow. It's a bit rusty,and it's scratched up my wood floors. It took up too much room. Now I've put the printer on the computer desk itself; everything all looks a great deal more compact, neat and tidy.

And just the other day, my little shredder stopped working. Strangely, the thing is coming apart at the seam and you can see all the wires and stuff inside. I don't know how that happened. I didn't drop it. It could be unsafe to use that way. I can't seem to get it snap shut again.

I hardly did anything else today besides vacuum the upstairs.

Tomorrow I'm going to do a product testing thing that involves lotion on my arms. This is the 1st trip; after the 2nd visit, they'll pay me $90. Since I'll be 40 minutes out of my way, I'll make a point to hit the BP gas station nearby,since all the ones around here closed up. I have 4 BP gift cards burning a hole in my wallet.

Oh, and talking about gift cards, I discovered I'd put a pile of what I thought were all infrequently used credit cards in a desk drawer and forgot about them. As I whiled away the time when the U-Verse guy was here, I was going through them and realized that one of them was actually a Kohl's gift card. I called the number of it and found I still have $19 on it, so maybe I can hit a Kohl'ls on the way back from the product testing thing. I'll also stop at the landfill to unload some cut up logs. There's still quite a pile in my driveway, leftover from the big pine that came down over the winter.

Long Rant, Whining & Complaints

March 23rd, 2013 at 01:32 pm

Thanks, everyone, for the kind words about my (non) job offer.

It IS very discouraging. I DO know what it feels like to just want to give up; I have to battle those feelings constantly these days. I try not to whine about it too much, but there it is.

When it comes to finances, I "did everything right" for most of my life. Thanks to frugal living and a prodigious savings rate, I was able to purchase my last two cars new, in cash. I put 45% cash down when I bought my house in 1995 (about $95,000). By my early 30s, I nearly always maxed out (to 15%) my 401k and IRA contributions, never incurred massive debt (not having kids helped) and then paid off a 30-year mortgage in 17 years, all on a single income that ranged, in the past 20 years, between $50,000 and $80,000. (OK, there was one incredible year when I grossed $130K.) But now I feel I'm being slowly, inexorably, undone by a stupid job loss just at a time when I was hoping to cap off my hard-earned retirement savings.

For years, I dreamed about a comfortable early retirement, at about age 60. I knew I would continue freelance writing on a part-time basis, but I wanted to live a lifestyle on MY terms, terms that would include lots of travel and unstructured free time to pursue my interests. A lifestyle not dictated by anyone else. Iíve always hated long commutes, fixed work hours and, most of all, office politics. The egos, the personal fiefdoms people build around themselves in reaction to the impersonal, ruthless environment that is corporate America.

Late last year, I was hired as a proofreader; I am sharing the job with another part-timer so the employer can avoid paying for our health insurance and other benefits.

They recently asked us to start making sales calls to customers who basically dropped off the face of the earth in recent years. Iím sure if they were truly valuable customers they wouldnít have us making calls to them, but I guess they figured, what have we got to lose?

Umm, first of all, they havenít offered us any commission if we make a sale. You see, theyíve discovered that you can get an awful lot done with a $12-an-hour, college-educated, white collar professional. (Maybe next week theyíll have us cleaning the bathrooms, helping out in Accounting or who knows what.) But hey! I donít have a sales background, nor do I have an interest in becoming a sales assistant or sales anything. I was hired as a proofreader, dammit, not to fill in wherever you happen to have a labor shortage.

So about a half dozen of us were assigned a bunch of calls to make. All but the two of us proofreaders are salaried employees, and all of us normally do work that doesnít involve sales. Making the calls involves a fair amount of upfront research using the companyís databases to see when the customer last placed an order, what they ordered the most of and how far away they are from reaching a certain purchase threshold that entitles them to certain discounts. We also have to inform them of various promotions weíre offering this month. Thereís a whole sales script involved. No oneís really sat down with the two of us proofreaders to familiarize us with the software. (They had a meeting about the calls on a day I donít normally work.) So the training consisted of about 15 minutes of looking over someoneís shoulder to see how she did it.

The other part-timer didnít want to do it either and was procrastinating about doing so. She was hoping she could just say hey, I was just too busy with my normal work and I ran out of time. I took the opposite tack and just got through my (half-assed) research and calls as quickly as possible. I made one sale out of about 25 calls. When I approached my manager about needing something else to do, she then wanted me to do HER sales calls for her becus she was so busy and hadnít had time to start hers yet. I told her politely no, I wasnít comfortable with doing the calls, that sales wasnít really my ďschtick.Ē Then sheís like, well, then you can do all my research for me and Iíll make the calls. I said Iíd really rather not do that, if thatís okay.(If more was at stake, I might have relented, but for this piddly job? No.) She got pissed when I said that and replied, ďWell, it may NOT be ok.Ē

She gave me something else to do and then immediately walked into her managerís office (that woman is a true sweetheart) and closed the door . Of course, she was discussing my insubordination, and I contemplated whether I would be asked to leave in short order.

That didnít happen, and the rest of the day proved uneventful, though there was tension between me and my manager, someone who ordinarily is quite cheerful and nice, though she is a control freak who doesnít allow you to think for yourself. Everything must be done precisely as she says and that, for an intelligent person, is really grating.

Thereís a strong correlation between the degree of autonomy one enjoys in their work environment and the amount of personal job satisfaction experienced. While I completely defer to this manager on all things related to proofreading (tons of procedural stuff leave little room for interpreting anything), I also notice that she rarely takes any of my suggested edits when Iím asked to proofread a letter or something else. So why bother asking me to proofread it? Even when I back up my edits with credible/reputable online sources that explain why such-and-such shouldnít be capitalized, why you donít need a comma or why you should hyphenate, she often responds with, "But thatís the way weíve always done it." But that doesnít make it right! She actually showed me a letter that one of our clients sent back to her, all marked up and edited. She was embarrassed, but instead of taking it to heart, she found ways to rationalize and justify not making any changes to it.

So maybe you can see how defeated it makes me feel to work there; when Iím asked to do what I was hired to do, my suggestions are consistently overruled, and then they get pissed when Iím less than willing to do work thatís clearly beyond the scope of my experience or current job description!

Didn't get the job...but i got AT&T UVerse

March 22nd, 2013 at 12:16 am

The guy who interviewed me sent me an email today about it. I was very disappointed, but wrote back to say, "I understand" (even though I don't) and to express an interest in doing some writing for the website, as he'd mentioned in the interview they were looking for more writers.

The publisher/owner, with whom I'd also met, wrote back to say they were happy I was interested in writing for them, that they were "very impressed" with me and hoped that as the website grew, she could find a way to put all of my skills to work...or something to that effect.

Maybe something good will come of it, even if it's just a bit more freelance work, which I could always use.

The other job I interviewed for about 2 weeks ago was with an agency. After meeting with me, she submitted my resume to the employer but after all this time the company hasn't even had the courtesy to get back to the agency. I assume that job's a dead deal.

The woman at the agency told me yesterday there was another opening and did i want her to send on my resume. I said sure, yes, even though she could tell me nothing about it and the job is located further away than I'd like but at this point.....

I spent about 2 hours on the phone with AT&T about a replacement DSL modem I bought from them for $70 which keeps dropping the Internet connection. They explained that DSL is considered obsolete technology (then why do they keep selling DSL modems?) and suggested AT&T UVerse. Initially I said no becus i'm not interested in bundling anything, but I did change my mind since the price for the first year is actually $10 cheaper than what I'm paying now ($15 a month vs $28 a month) and it's supposedly much more reliable and faster than what I have, which is slow DSL at 768k vs. 1.5 MB.

(Interestingly, AT&T just increased the cost of my basic DSL service from $25 to $28; i have no idea why. I wonder if they do that to prod people like me to upgrade to a more expensive service.)

But after the first year of paying $15 a month for the UVerse, the price shoots up to $36, which I know I won't want to pay. But there is no contract, it's just month to month, so maybe by that time I'll either have a job which enables me to pay that kind of monthly fee or, if not, I'll figure something else out and get another provider at a better cost.

The technician is supposed to come out here Monday to set it up. It's still a modem, so I don't know why they're willing to send out a technician to set it up for free (and the modem's free too) while they don't do that for the DSL modem. I'm so distrustful of big businesses like AT&T that it makes me wonder if they do something to your connection so you're stuck with it or can't uninstall it yourself or something.

I also have a postage paid shipping label so i can ship out the DSL modem once I'm hooked up to UVerse and get a refund for it.

I'm feeling very discouraged and fatalistic right now. I was really wanting that job. I'm really afraid that at my age (54 this summer) I'll never get another full-time job again.

Getting stuff done but not as much as I'd like....

March 19th, 2013 at 08:04 pm

As usual, my To Do List is a bit of a stretch to accomplish. This morning I had a 10 am oil/filter change scheduled. It was cool to schedule it online at the dealerís website. I was able to push it back an hour on account of our nasty weather here today. (I havenít been using the dealer much lately becus I found a trustworthy mechanic who will do things more cheaply, but I had a coupon at the dealer for a $21 oil change and itís more comfortable to wait for the car in their nice seating area. The other mechanic will only say heíll call me when itís ready, which can be a big pain as, without a car, it forces me to coordinate with my mother so she can give me a ride and hang out at her place until the carís done, something I canít always take the time to do.

The dealer informed me the transmission oil was really dark and did I want it changed ($79). Also, my rear brake light was out. So I had them do both since I was already there. Somehow, the $100 bill I envisioned was actually $131, even with my $18 coupon, after accounting for ďlaborĒ to change the back brake light and taxes. Sigh. They also told me Iíd need to do the front brake pads next time I did the oil change; I remember the other mechanic telling me that 6 months ago, but I think my gentle driving habits prolong my brake life. (Just for reference, I asked how much to replace the front brake pads. $299, he said. RIDICULOUS. I'm sure my other mechanic will do it for less. At least I hope so.)

My plan after getting the oil change was to hopefully hit Trader Joeís, BJs and Shop Rite for various sale items or other reasons (5% in rewards points from Capital One if you charge at least $60 at Trader Joeís), and then catch the 1 pm matinee of ďLincolnĒ at the $2 movie theater. However, it took longer to do the extra stuff to the car, so by the time I got out I had to make a decision to either go straight to the movie or do the food shopping.

The sleet and icy rain was still continuing, so I decided to bag the furthest trip out to Trader Joeís (I can try to do it again next week) and just head home, but then I wound up at Shop Rite, and then since BJs is just down the road, I did that, too. Iíd really like BJs to account for at least half of my overall grocery shopping this year since all my calculations show significant savings. It will be interesting to see if I squeak out any reduction in total grocery spending.

I was a little sad to miss the movie, as it seems I rarely do things for fun anymore! Maybe next week. They only have one weekday matinee, and thatís on Tuesdays, one of my days off from the proofreading job.

Today I was also able to mail out two return packages for about $50 worth of vitamins/supplements Iíd purchased for the acid reflux, and a book I got from amazon on acid reflux diets. Since Iíve been liberated from that particular fate, I figured I might as well get some sort of money back, even though it cost me $16 to mail the 2 boxes at USPS.
I got back home around 2ish and wanted to make lunch but then saw I had some memo editing requests from one of my clients, so I did it and sent it out, then went to get a late lunch going. Then he called and asked me to quickly edit a 2nd memo, so my lunch got cold but thatís okÖ.he got what he needed in a more or less timely fashion.

I have to call a builder tomorrow morning for the next sales brochure Iím writing and for that reason am bagging going into the proofreading job earlier than my usual 1 pm on Wednesdays. Itís a matter of $12/hr vs. $50/hr. I try to do both whenever possible, but sometimes I seem to run out of time. Have to get the agent on the phone too, but I just want to relax a bit this afternoon so will leave that til tomorrow as well.

Wondering about that web editor job I interviewed for and if Iíll hear from them after turning in my 2nd writing assignmentÖÖ.It would be HUGE to get that job, even without benefits, and EVEN if, as a one-year-old start-up, they go belly-up in a year. It would all still be worth it!!!!

A big surprise (non) diagnosis

March 18th, 2013 at 07:01 pm

OK, so today was my follow-up visit to the ENT doc to learn the results of my wholly unpleasant pH test. He told me that my acid levels were COMPLETELY normal and not a trace of acid reflux.

He seemed as surprised as I was. So he's referred me on to a pulmonologist. He said maybe I have something called "reactive lung disease," which is basically a condition where your airway is irritated by air pollution or sometimes by ongoing exposure to toxic chemicals, like on the job. The latter certainly wouldn't be me. The treatment is an inhaler.

Of course in a case like this, your first worry is, do i have cancer or a tumor somewhere that's causing my chronic cough? He said he didn't think i had that becus if so, i'd be dead already. (And besides, I've already had 2 normal chest x-rays.)

So I'm going to celebrate with a big steaming cup of strong black and yes, acid tea with a square of acid dark chocolate!! Yeah, baby.

I made the appointment with the pulmonologist, but earliest appointment I could get is a month away. I'm going to see if I can return the acid reflux book I just got from Amazon, and possibly even return some of the supplements I bought from Puritans Pride.

I guess this is good news, and am certainly relieved I don't have to give up on garlic, tomatoes, onions, strawberries or citrus fruits, but my chronic dry cough, which I've had for several years (at least 3) is somewhat troubling. I don't want to go on a wild goose chase to figure out what it is as i can't afford that in my current underemployed state. (Although I just checked to see what that pH test cost and of the total $1,000 bill, I only have to pay $23, not including the $45 for the office visit. I was afraid it was going to be a lot more becus I have a $1500 deductible and for some reason, going to an ENT (a specialty doctor) didn't require me to pay toward that deductible. I just don't get that..... but not complaining.

From what I've read online, reactive lung disease doesn't quite fit me. My cough is not triggered by exercise, and the doctor already had me do an asthma test, which was negative. So at this point, not really sure what this is.

I can say the air in my house is very dry in the winter. Years ago, when I had a new furnace put in, they guys persuaded me to disconnect the built-in air humidifier becus they said mold and stuff can grow in there and cause lots of problems. As a result of doing that, I have a VVERY dry house every winter, to the point of, if i don't run a humidifier in my bedroom, I wake up in the a.m. with a sore throat.

I'll go back to using that humidifier, but the fact is, my cough is year-round, so i don't think that's what it is.

The next step in the interview process

March 18th, 2013 at 01:48 am

So, I was sort of looking forward to a leisurely Sunday. That was not to be.

I worked a few hours on some take-home work from proofreading job. But then when I was just wrapping up, I got a surprise email from the guy I interviewed with for the web editor job last Friday.

He said you're one of the finalists, and by the way, here's a SECOND test editing/writing assignment (It was actually two.) I mean, an interview, a look at their portfolio and the first writing assignment wasn't enough to tell you about what they can do?

Sheesh. I've been through so many of these. I do hope I get an offer.

Tomorrow I go back to the ENT doctor to discuss the results of my pH test. I am very anxious to hear whether I have minor, moderate or serious problems. I don't feel it's that bad, but that's why they call it "silent" reflux. And I have had a cough for years.

My snowdrops are in bloom. They are so reliable and always the very first flower up around here, even when there's snow still on the ground.

I've been able to reduce my tea drinking to just one cup of caffeine daily, which is "allowed." The other cup is decaf but I recently got the Dropping Acid book from Amazon and she said that it's the tea which is acidic, as well as the caffeine. So tomorrow when doing the grocery shopping, I'll pick up some chamomile tea for one of those 2 cups.

I've also stayed away from tomato sauce and ketchup, as well as citrus fruit and juice. No onions and mostly no chocolate. I want to get rid of my cough and then very slowly reintroduce certain foods to see if they're trigger foods.

I've also started taking various supplements, and more are coming in the mail. Vit. C, B12, fish oil, slippery elm bark and DGL. I may still end up taking a proton pump inhibitor like Prilosec, but my plan is not to stay on it for more than eight weeks.

I plan to fill the prescription at CVS and then switch it at the first refill to Walgreen's so I can get the $25 back for a transferred prescription. Smile

I've been able to keep my weight down to 140, which feels pretty good after flirting with 150.However, I'd like to get down to 135, or even 130. I was at 135 about 5 years ago.

Interview went great

March 15th, 2013 at 10:26 pm

I had my interview this a.m. for a web editor position at a start-up news website. It's been around since last summer.

I think it went super. I impressed him with a writing assignment and also offered up a host of ideas for improving their website and promoting it better. Which was pretty darn good considering I didn't know this website even existed a week ago and he only asked me to do this the day before the interview. I do hope they don't just steal my ideas, though.

Would love to work there. No idea what the pay would be, but they are a very small group. It would be mostly work at home, writing my stories and editing freelancers' stories, then loading all onto the site. Would need to travel to the town I went to today, about a 50-minute drive. Maybe twice a month. I can do that.

I'm pretty psyched. This seems similar to my last salaried job, writing and editing for a news type website.

If I got it, with even a very low payscale, I'd end up with maybe $1,000 more a month than my bare minimum expenses. (Remember, I paid off my mortgage.) If I could save $1,000 a month for 15 months, I could buy a new car, which I really need. (I'm driving a 1999, which still runs great, but i do feel a little nervous going on the highway for long distances.)

This is a job that would put all my marketing and PR experience to good use. At the little p/t job i have now, i feel it's largely going to waste and I am doing mindless grunt work. Well, it's not really mindless, but it is tedious as all get out and quite boring to me.

The only thing that worries me a bit is how stable this job would be. With a bit less than a year under their belt, i consider them a start-up, and that can be dicey. I worked at a start-up before that went out of business. I would have no real job security, but then, I certainly have none now, either. What if the website didn't ever really take off, or what if their advertisers dried up? (That's how i'd be paid, according to the guy who interviewed me.) What if the 3 partners ran out of money or lost interest in the venture?

I'd still go for it and just try to squirrel away as much as I could in case the unforeseeable happened. What else can you do?