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Archive for January, 2007

A tip? Not likely!

January 27th, 2007 at 05:30 pm

A girlfriend of mine received two gift certificates for a pedicure and manicure. She invited me to use the second one. We used them this afternoon.

I'm not sure what the problem was, but the person who did my pedicure/manicure was pretty rude to me. My entire pedicure/manicure took maybe 15 minutes tops. My friend's took more like 25 minutes. The lady who did me finished and then tried to ask me how I was going to pay - but she wasn't exactly easy to understand. It sounded to me like she was asking for a tip. I played dumb and told her that no I didn't want any tips. Smile Her coworker (who was working on my friend) finally interpretaed for her and let us know she wanted money. So my friend gave her the two gift certificates.

I sat next to my friend waiting for her to finish for a good 8 - 10 minutes.

I haven't had a *lot* of manicure/pedicures done in my lifetime, but I have had enough to know that this experience was WAY below subpar. If this would have been one I was actually *paying* for -- I would have been majorly complaining. Of course, I wouldn't have gone to this place in the first place, because there is this great place that does a *real* spa pedicure, including heated rocks/towels etc, for $10 LESS than this place.

My standard tip when going to one of these places is $10. I would have left a tip today if I would have received even good service. Maybe the lady thought I was going to stiff her because I was wearing my workout clothes (clean, but a bit wrinkled - the last of my clean clothes that I could wear and push the pant legs up) ?

I could say maybe it was because of my weight - but my friend weighs as much as I do. Maybe it was because my heels were in such bad shape. Smile I do give myself pedicures and manicures of a sort, but am not that good at getting my heels nice and soft.

Who knows what the problem was. At least it didn't cost me or my friend anything. It did cost that lady a $10 tip though!

I wasn't going to say anything to my friend about it, but she actually spoke up and apologized to me for getting jipped -- and mentioned that it was a good thing we weren't paying for it, otherwise there would be a scene! Smile

More car stuff

January 21st, 2007 at 01:26 pm

My dad took my car to Discount Tires yesterday afternoon after getting the alternator fixed.

My car's been having some major vibrations going on for at least the past 5 or 6 months. I thought maybe it had to do with the rear something or other thingy that needs to be fixed sometime (according to the Honda dealer who did my 90k mile checkup, its needed, but not urgent).

Well, according to Discount Tire, my two front wheels are made of steel. And they are now an oblong shape rather than a circle. That's why I've been getting the vibrations.

They suggested either replacing the two front wheels with two new steel ones ($180) OR replacing all 4 steel wheels with aluminum wheels (which supposedly last forever) which would set me back $300 or so.

I know so much more about cars now than I did on Thursday. Ugh!

Anyway, my dad offered to look and see if he could find some steel wheels or aluminum wheels at the junkyard on Monday, while he's looking for a spare tire to replace mine that vanished.

I'm really glad he has my car right now and is willing to do all this stuff for me. Cuz most likely if it was left up to me. . . . I probably would just live with the vibrating and would probably have been sick in the gut, but paid the bigger price for the alternator just to get it done and over with.

I really wish I could find a class that would be geared for women who want to know more about their cars - at least enough knowledge so I sound intelligent when talking with a mechanic so I'm less likely to get taken for a ride.

I do wish I had my key ring that my car key is on -- because that key ring also has my mailbox key on it! I do have an extra mailbox key - but it unfortunately is IN my car. Rolleyes

Honda meet Murphy :(

January 20th, 2007 at 09:32 am

For the past couple of weeks every time I've gone somewhere in my car I've had a more difficult time getting it to start. My dad was going to check the battery this weekend to see if it was low on water.

Well, yesterday after work I headed to the library to drop off a couple of books. When I got back to my car, I realized that I had a problem.

Btw - to complete this picture. -- It is a Friday after 4 p.m. and it is drizzling/raining off and on.

My car would. not. start. I have roadside service with Cingular, but I couldn't remember the customer service number. (I thought it was *66, but apparently not.) So I went inside the library to look it up in a phone book.

When I came back outside, I noticed there were people in the car next to mine getting ready to leave. I hurried to their car and got their attention and asked if they would be willing to jump my car. The man was willing (an older oriental man) but did not have cables. I thought I had cables in my trunk, but they were nowhere to be found. Frown

So, I go back inside to ask the security guard if he happens to have any. He doesn't, but does follow me outside. At this point a woman pulls into the spot on the other side of me. I ask her if she has cables -- she does!

So now the security guard and the first man get my car jump started. The woman with the cables gives me the name of her trusted mechanic. I thank everyone profusely for their help and start driving (well, not before having the security guard flirt with me a bit!)

I'm trying to decide what the best thing is to do. I know that now that my car is started, I better not turn it off until I'm someplace where I know I can get it going again easily. I decide to head to the place I got my oxygen sensor replaced at.

When I get there I ask them if they sell Interstate batteries (because that's what my dad told me my battery was). They didn't. So then I decide to go to the place where I had my car inspected a couple months ago.

They confirm that my battery is dead, but that it isn't an Interstate battery - in fact they're not sure what kind it is. They then replace it with an Interstate battery ($86.xx with 72 mo warranty). Then they run a test to make sure the problem was the battery.

Bad news. My alternator is dead (which is what caused my battery to die in the first place.)

These guys give me an estimate of $130+ $100 labor + tax for a rebuilt one, and $180 + $100 labor + tax for a new one with lifetime warranty. My dad tells me that he thinks both of these figures are WAY out there and tells me to give him a little time to check with the person who fixed his alternator a few years ago.

He calls me back about 15 minutes later. This person will do it for $75 + $25-40 labor + tax. Woo hoo! But this person is in the town where my dad lives. About 80 minutes from where I am.

When I tell the mechanics that I've decided to go with someone else who gave me a much less expensive estimate, they start giving me all these dire predictions about how my battery will be drained within one - four hours depending on how much I use my headlights/wipers.

I still decided to go with the less expensive option. Smile I did however drive the 10 minutes or so home with just my parking lights on and minimal use of my wipers. Not fun when its getting dark out and it's raining.

My dad came last night and spent the night, then this morning he drove it to the shop he found. I'm now just waiting to find out if the guy can fix it today or if it'll have to wait till Monday.

Thank goodness for Dad's and thank goodness for having money set aside in a car repair fund, and thank goodness for the kindness of strangers!

___
So far this visit from Murphy has cost me a total of: $107.13 The cost of the alternator: ? $100 - 125 + tax. Plus probably another tank of gas - ~$20

ETA - Just got a call from my dad. The alternator is fixed! Cost: $129 total. He also filled up my gas tank - $1.93/gallon -- $17.82.

He is also going to check at the local Discount Tire place to see what it would take to fix the vibration in my car. He thinks my front wheel is bent and is causing the vibration. May as well get it fixed now since he has my car and I'm already spending money on it! Smile

Well . ... I got the raise.

January 15th, 2007 at 07:54 pm

It almsot didn't happen today. A lot of people were out due to the weather. The VP said he wanted to talk with me when Sh was also there - she wasn't coming in that day. Frown

Later this morning he called me into his office and he had Sh on the speakerphone. They told me what my raise was. Let's just say its a good thing I didn't set my expectations too high. It works out to about $.70/hour increase -- or about enough each month to buy less than two tanks of gas for my car.

Not exactly what I was hoping for, and certainly not enough to make it feasiable for me to move closer to the new office area anytime soon and still be able to have any kind of significant savings.

So, I can chalk this up to another life experience -- asking for and getting a raise. Maybe next time I'll be able to do it in a better way where I can let them know how much of a raise I am hoping for.

All because of a dentist appt!

January 13th, 2007 at 01:43 pm

Remember I mentioned that I bit the bullet and asked for a raise this past Monday?

Well, I didn't hear anything at all about it one way or the other by Friday afternoon. So, I planned on talking to Sh, our Communications Director about it on Monday, to see what she would suggest I do. (She is the President's daughter and VP's niece).

I had to leave 30 minutes early on Friday to get to a Dentist appointment.

While I am sitting in the waiting area, I get a call from S, the VP. He asks me where I am - and I tell him that I had to leave early for a dentist appt. He then tells me that he was ready to talk to me about my raise!! But that we could do it on Monday instead.

Oy vey! I could have found out about my raise Friday afternoon and had the whole weekend to rework my budget - but no, I had to go to the dentist! Smile

The one good thing is that I now know I will have an answer by Monday. Yay! Maybe it will go into effect by this Friday's paycheck, which would be awesome!

Moral of the story: It's good to take care of your teeth - just don't do it when you're waiting for an answer from your boss!

P.S. I ended up having 2 small cavities. Not too bad considering that it had been over 3 years since I last went to the dentist. Smile

I did it! :)

January 9th, 2007 at 06:44 pm

Only a bit more than six months since my promotion, and nearly 11 months since I was first hired I did something I never had to do in 10 years of working.

I asked for a raise!!!

Sunday night I spent a couple hours preparing a document showing what my job responsibilities were when I was first hired (front desk receptionist) and what my responsibilities include now (Engineering Tech). Then I wrote a short paragraph essentially saying that it would be very much appreciated if my growth in responsibility and time with the company would be financially recognized.

I was a total bundle of nerves the whole morning before finally giving it to S. When I finally did give it to him, he was on the phone - he'd seen me try to slyly check and see if he was in his office and called me to come in.

I didn't say much, since he was on the phone. Just told him that this was something I'd put together, and would like him to take a look at it when he had a chance.

Then this afternoon a little before the end of the day I got my courage up once again and stopped in his office. I asked him if he'd had a chance to take a look at what I'd given him yesterday. He said yes he had, and that he would need to meet with a couple other people to discuss it .... then see what path we would take on it. Smile He sounded very positive.

I really don't think the question is whether I'll get the raise or not - I think the question is HOW MUCH! Smile

I hope they have the meeting soon. I'm going to be on pins and needles till I find out one way or another!

Before, as a teacher, all I had to do to get a raise was teach another year. Smile When I took this job, I took about a 14k pay cut (from what I made my last year teaching, that is.) So . . . I would be very happy with just about anything!

Spent some/Made some :)

January 6th, 2007 at 10:11 pm

Last week I put myself on a kind of financial roller coaster.

I canceled my cable (basic), a hosting service (for a website who's domain had run out 9 months! ago), and the pet insurance plan for my cat.

But . . . over the next few days the more I thought about it, the more I realized that I really wanted to keep my cable .... and that I really wanted to keep going with Tivo. So . .. I reinstated my cable (thankfully before it was fully canceled - thus no reconnection fee) and . . . bought a dual tuner 80 hr Tivo w/3 yr plan. Gulp. Regarding the Tivo - My current Tivo's 1 year gift sub ran out this month. To continue it on the monthly plan would be ~$13.10/month. The DT Tivo w/3 yr plan works out to be ~10.80/month. Big initial outlay, but a lot less in the long run.

My spending spree didn't stop there though. I bought two needed sports items from Ebay (think bounce reducers) Smile which will be helpful in my upcoming fitness classes. AND I bought two items from Harriet Carter -- Both of which I had seen in their catalog a year ago and wanted, but kept talking myself out of it. ---
Divided microwavable/freezer plates (3 sets of 4) and a cordless water pump. The plates obviously are for make ahead do it yourself freezer meals. The cordless pump is for, well ... pumping water! I'm really getting tired of drinking water from the tap. -- I still need to get one or two of those big 5 gallon jugs to use and fill up.

All in all I ended up spending close to $500. In one night. Gulp. All paid for in cash (initially credit card for bonus points, but already made the payment to pay it off.) Oh yes, all spending also was entered into YNAB (You Need a Budget.) Smile

Then Friday I found this website called treasure troopers and sort of snooped around it checking it out. Finally decided to take the plunge and sign up for it. Chose a few of the offers that looked interesting. As of tonight, I have $58 in approved offers + $27.50 in pending offers. I feel pretty confident that this will actually payout. And, if it doesn't, then I'm not out very much at all ($3 Sh&H on one offer.)

What brought all this about? The best that I can come up with is that all my cutting expenses happened at the beginning of the week before I had made my final decision about whether to get into a house with my dad/grandma. The spending splurge happened after I was completely settled on the idea that I was NOT going to go for the house deal -- and I got some very encouraging news regarding a very real possibility of a raise in the near future. Smile

So, anyway. I better hit the hay. I'm meeting a bunch of veggie heads for lunch tomorrow. Smile Supposedly this place has the best vegan/veggie food in town. We shall see. Smile Smile This will be my first time actually going to a meetup activity --- check out meetup.com (free site).

Of course I've gotta put in another little plug for Sparkpeople. Smile If you made a resolution to get in shape this year, but don't want to spend a lot of money on a diet program - be sure to check them out. Smile If you do join, I'd love to get a sparkmail from you. I've had a couple people let me know when they joined because of me. Smile Smile

Off to bed I go!