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I see a tiny light at the end of the tunnel!  I called the apartment office tonight after work and told them about my higher electricity bills (and asked the status on fixing the compressor) and the assistant manager told me to come by on Sunday afternoon, bring my last 4 electricity bills and we’d discuss a rent credit. She said it will be no problem giving her my rent check on Sunday (no late fee).  I thought there would be balking and whatnot, but apparently this must happen quite often. She outright admitted that the emergency heat setting raises electricity costs — so at least I don’t have to argue that point. Also, I tried switching to the regular heat setting just last night, and it start squealing again, so I know the compressor still isn’t fixed (after 2 months!)  Considering my electricity bills have been $50 to $75 higher the last couple months, I’m encouraged that I might be able to swing a decent rent discount. Actually, come to think of it, I’m basing those figures on past winters, but if you compare these last 2 months with the 2 previous months, my bills have nearly tripled!  At this point, even $10 off my rent will be a blessing, but now I’m thinking that I might be able to get $50 or more off. I almost don’t want to start thinking that way in case it’s not anywhere near that much…and I still have to dig through my box of bills and find my old statements.

But if I could get a discount in the $50+ range, I will not only have money to get by next week, I might be able to mail that water bill, and perhaps, even send a small check to the IRS.

As far as an increase in pay, still haven’t heard back. Grrrrr.  I left a voicemail for my rep tonight asking her to call with an update. Interestingly enough, this project I was working on suddenly ended this afternoon. They ran out of files for me to review!  So now I’m back to helping with the manual paperwork (although they’re letting me stay in my cube for the moment). My new supervisor guy (“L”) said he might have stuff for me to do next week. So I don’t know if I’ll be stuck back in the paperwork trenches for another few weeks, or if the higher boss (“D”) has another project or what. I informed him of the change back and he didn’t mention anything else, so I have no idea where this leaves me. Regardless, I should still be compensated for my higher skill set work this week. Had I known this new project only had a finite set of files for the immediate future, I would’ve dragged my feet a bit more. See, my boss would just transfer a new folder over from the network when I was done with whatever set I was working on, so I had no idea how many there were. I thought this was an ongoing deal, at least for awhile.

I’ll tell you something, and it’s pretty sad, but my efficiency always seems to get me into trouble eventually. I either get more responsibility and (unwanted) work piled on me, or have to hunt around for other shit to do out of boredom. Which is great for awhile, but once you have a full plate again, people expect you to keep up the pace on all the tasks. Right now, it totally works, but it could go sour on me. Hick drone actually approached me yesterday about helping prep some “non-pending” items to scan (after all my offers) and so I happily prepped papers while waiting for files to upload. It sure made the day go faster. I love to multi-task, so I was quite content. I got stacks and stacks of stuff done the last couple days.  And “D” made a point to drop by my cube today. He said he’d heard I’d taken the iniative to do paperwork while working on this other project, that he appreciated it…and that it hadn’t gone unnoticed. Well, fancy!  But again, once they see how hard-working and capable I am, they may start to take advantage (happens nearly every time), so I hope I didn’t shoot myself in the foot here.

And I hope this doesn’t come back to haunt me, but I volunteered to work tomorrow to get some more hours in. No one said a word about backlog or whatnot, but I know there is…and I need the damn money. “D” said it was fine as long as my hours didn’t go over 40 for the week. I assured him they wouldn’t. I worked out the details with hick drone (who actually seems more chipper about me lately…wonder why?!) and with the other manager gal who will be in tomorrow. So the plan is for me to show up after 10 am or so, give her a ring on her phone so she can let me in the building, and stay a few hours making copies and such. What’s nice is that weekends are so laid back and I don’t have to be in precisely at 10 or stay till a certain time. Manager gal said she’s heading out about 1, which is just about perfect. If she stays longer, maybe I will too if I’m in the mood. I worked 36 hours this pay cycle (an hour longer than normal, with the four 7.25 hour days I put in), and the next one starts tomorrow, so I really couldn’t stay more than 4 hours anyway. On the other hand, if I want to take off at noon, no problem. For reasons unknown to me, manager gal signs my timecards, but I don’t actually work with her or even know what her job is…so she’s not any type of direct supervisor. Anyway, I’m proud of myself for squeaking out ways to get a bit more money however I can.

Speaking of which, the newcomers moved into the office I clean, and it looks to be quite a bit more work. Well, not a HUGE amount, but I could definitely see a difference in the time it took to do stuff. More wastebaskets to empty out, lots more desks and spaces to dust, more weaving gingerly with the vacuum, more mess in the kitchen, etc.  Already in my head I’m revising the $10 more a cleaning to $15 or $20. When you think that they went from a 2 person office to a 5 person office, I think $20 extra is quite reasonable. I still want to keep my rate on the cheap side, to ward off them hunting for something less expensive (which would be hard to find)…and too, the cleaning service will now be a shared expense, so I don’t think it will be an issue. Once everyone is fully moved in (all pictures hung, all furniture in its proper home) in a week or so, I’ll renegotiate. And by the way, for a 2 person office, they had more wastebaskets than I’ve ever encountered to begin with…one in the copy room, one in his office, one in her office, one in the file room, one in the kitchen, one in the conference room. Crazy!  So now, there are 3 more!  Also, they don’t recycle (even though they use lots of plastic water bottles and aluminum cans), so I always take the cans with me. Bonus!  I wish they paid for recycled plastic here though. Sigh. (If there was a plastic recycling place nearby I’d do it as a good deed, but I’m not quite that environmentally conscious).

Alright, folks (2 hits total so far!  Wow…I’m swimming in love)…whoever happens to stop by, thanks. I keep thinking, this blog is for me, me, me mainly anyway. Still a few little bloggie love comments would be nice.

I’ve got a big day tomorrow: Recycling center (if I drag myself out of bed in time), one Craigslist appointment at 9:30, then work, then more CL (2-3?) appointments…then RELAXATION!

Wish me luck on the rent credit discussion Sunday!  Fine, I’ll wish myself luck.

(P.S. Forgot to mention!  Had a guy come by last night from CL to look at horse memorabilia. He bought $20 worth of stuff — and he got a great deal. Damn wheeler dealers!  But I was pleased. Stuff I didn’t have any use for anymore)

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Man, the last 2 days at work have dragged. Still continuing to feel antsy about all my money issues, but a few positive things have cropped up. First off, I spoke to my rep at the temp agency (called her while I was on a break) and she’s working on getting a pay bump for me. She’s waiting on confirmation from the HR person. Apparently, they gave a pay raise to the other temp in the auditing department once he transferred over like me, so it looks like this will go through. (By the way, he stopped by my cube today. I thought the “other temp” was the big guy in the cube next to my supervisor, but no!  This dude is actually kinda cute…we had a very quick, whispered convo about our jobs — the “yep, it’s boring as all hell” mutual agreement. I hope to talk to him more again soon!)

However, I don’t understand why, but my rep said she wouldn’t be able to make this pay retroactive for the time I put in doing it last week (about 9 hours or so), only this week forward. Now, I realize it’s on 2 different pay periods, but still — this sort of change in responsibility must happen all the time to their temps between pay periods. I can’t believe they are unable to pay me the difference with a separate check for last week. We’re talking what, about 6 bucks after taxes?   I’m not sure if the error is on my part for not alerting them to the change on Thursday or Friday, but if the client agrees on when the changeover occurred AND the agency was alerted in a timely manner (i.e. not weeks or months after the fact), why the hell can’t they cough up the extra dough? Then again, I believe the client should also be responsible for mentioning changes in job duties to the agency, so I doubt this falls squarely on my shoulders. I know, it’s a small amount of money to worry over, but with things as tight as they are, it’s very annoying I might get gyped on what I’m owed.

As far as what I’ll do if the client refuses to pay me more for this new project?  Yikes. In many respects, if that happens, I’ll need to extricate myself from this place as soon as possible, but if neither agency has no place new to send me, then I’ll be worse off than before. This stint is definitely better than nothing, but geez, what a reason to stay, huh?  And you know something else I was thinking about today…the people at this job aren’t the friendliest bunch. My last co-worker (the hick drone) was not entirely charming personality wise, but the few times I dropped by to say hi and see if she needed any help (I can do stuff between document uploads), she was very “meh” to me. I actually did help them out last week with a stack of member cancellations, because the computer was being terribly slow that day, and she didn’t even bother to say thanks. Then yesterday I smiled at one of the customer service girls who was milling around the cube next to mine, and she stared at me blankly. The receptionist (bleach blonde with an overdone tan and tiniest waist I’ve ever seen) doesn’t smile either, and I don’t think she’s ever even greeted me when I walk off the elevator. Aren’t receptionists supposed to be a LITTLE bit bubbly, at least?  Once I got to thinking about it, I realized that most everyone there is very closed off to newcomers. When I walk into the break room, or down the halls, I feel invisible.

Now, after years of doing temp work here and there in various fields, I know this is a common occurence and it’s happened many, many times to me over the years. Which is why I was so surprised when during a few of my last gigs, people were SO nice and welcoming to me.  I never thought I’d live to see the day when people actually treated a temp like a regular person. So suddenly being in a cold environment again is a bit uncomfortable.  The only upside is that I’m pretty much left to my own devices, and I’d rather have that than people constantly bugging the shit outta me.  I guess I should appreciate what I’ve got. It could be so much worse (I’ll have to discuss one of my worst jobs ever here soon. When I think back on that job — which lasted a very hellish 3 months last year — I remember thinking I would do ANYTHING else in the world rather than go back there again. So yes, this stint is an absolute dream in comparison).  *Thanking lucky stars*

(Shit!  I just typed a big ol’ paragraph and suddenly the page redirected to a router error page — GRRR!  I thought WordPress did more autosaves than this!)

Let me try to remember what I wrote…Ah yes, the other good thing that cropped up was that I got a slew of responses to the Craigslist ad I reposted yesterday. For some reason, all the queries were from men this round. One guy came by tonight and I practically begged him to buy something. No, actually I DID beg him (“please please please?”)  After some haggling over a never-used, limited edition brass Zippo lighter, I finally slashed the price to $12 (my first offer to him was $25). Yeah, I could’ve made more on it using eBay (maybe), but after eBay fees and Paypal fees and the free shipping I probably would’ve tossed in to sweeten the auction, it would’ve wound up about the same amount in the end. Besides, I’ve had that damn thing for sale for months, with very little interest from anyone. I got it for free several years ago from a very strange dude, so no skin off my back. And while I’m not quite ready to sell it yet (if ever), he showed interest in a large bookcase I have in the living room, so I said I’d keep him in mind if I decide to part with it. It’s one of the last bookcases I have left, and it matches a desk I have, so I’d rather keep it…but just in case, at least I’ve got someone interested. At any rate, I was determined not to have this guy leave my place without spending money so I was delighted squishing $12 into the little glass jar I use until I run to the bank.

Another dude is set to show up at 6 pm tomorrow…and yet another guy is supposed to give me a call back about arranging a time this week.

Other good things: I worked an extra 15 minutes both today and yesterday (by skipping one of my breaks both days), so that will help eek up my paycheck by a few more bucks on Tuesday.  Additionally, the check from the contract work I did at the non-profit arrived today, and as I thought, no taxes were taken out, so I wound up with $93 (yay!).  I sorted through some old cassettes last night to sell at Half Price Books, and toted those to the car this morning. Looks like I’ll save that trip for Monday night because I need to gather a lot more stuff to sell before I drive over there.  I resisted an urge to stop for dinner nibs last night at McD’s and ate 2 Banquet chicken pot pies that were in the freezer instead. Pretty damn good, I must say.

Right now, I’m down to 2 more pot pies, 2 pork egg rolls and a box of Kraft Mac & Cheese. I have a few odd cans of soup and veggies in the pantry, but most of them are getting a bit old and half should probably be tossed. I’ll have to buy something else to get me through, so tomorrow I’ll stop off for cheap hot dogs & buns (along with a few paper goods I’m running low on). Soon I’ll need another bag of dog food and a can of coffee. But hopefully that can wait till next week.

Tonight I put $5 of gas in the car and bought 2 packs of cigs…and I was so hungry around lunchtime, I finally caved at went to McD’s, for a total of $3.18. For lunch this week I’d been munching on a loaf of banana bread I’d gotten from mom for Christmas that I had thawed over the weekend. But the 2 last slices I brought in today just weren’t enough to keep my hunger at bay.  I’m thawing the other loaf of Pumpkin Spice bread she made for me…which I’ve never had before. But I’m sure it will be delicious and will help get me through next week.

I’ve had a terrible time finding enough decent Amazon Turk HITs to do in the last few days (haven’t seen my favorite morning ones at all), so right now, it doesn’t look like I’ll hit my goal of $10 by Friday. But, weekends are usually a bit better, so I’ve reset that goal for Monday. At the moment it looks like I’m on track to cover rent and electricity early next week. Still looking towards recycling and DVDs sales on Saturday, some other possible CL sales through the weekend, my cleaning advance on Friday, drafting an article for Associated Content, and the jaunt to Half Price on Monday. With any luck, I’ll have a bit left over to buy more gas and food.

I’m also planning on researching other avenues for part-time work. I’m considering applying to Panera Bread or another place close to home & where I’m working now. I also need to give my neighbor a call to see if she could use a few hours help cleaning and organizing. Additionally I need to step up my efforts to find a new full-time gig with better pay and start scouring Careerbuilder more often. It seems I’m so busy trying to scrape up bits of money here and there I overlook the obvious shit like FINDING A PERMANENT JOB AT MY SKILL LEVEL.  But…I’ve had zero luck with CB in the past. Seems I always land stuff through networking or some unadvertised deal via my agencies. Which reminds me, I need to sign up with that third agency soon. Although getting the time off work will be a problem…it’s close to home so maybe I can do an early morning interview or just use my lunch hour. Who knows if they’ll have better luck finding me anything, but it’s worth a shot.

My tummy’s growling a bit since I didn’t eat dinner, but I’m not in the mood to fix anything. Sipping on coffee at the moment. Oh, for the record, 3 month old corndogs from the freezer are disgusting. Don’t even think maybe they didn’t get freezer burn (especially if you didn’t bother to seal the box back up) or “hey, they won’t be so bad.” They will. Trust me. I wound up spitting out my first bite on the floor (super hot AND gross) and tossing the rest in the trash.Ah well, I tried.

Time to relax for a bit before bedtime. I wonder if the latest episode of Caprica is up on the SyFy site yet?

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Up early for a Sunday. I was able to snag some of my favorite Amazon Turk HITs (tasks) this morning. I completed 145 at 2 cents a pop, which will get me almost $3. Once I rack up another $7, I can deposit the money into my bank account.

I’ve got 2 folks lined up from Craigslist to stop by this afternoon, plus another gal after work tomorrow. I’m hoping they buy at least $20 worth of stuff. I realized I still have to come up with enough money (~$24) to mail my water bill in this week, so that’s another damn thing to worry about. Still have no idea how I’m going to scrape up the money to pay my $75 IRS installment for this month. I’ll just have to deal with that after I get rent and electricity paid off.  Which reminds me, I got my next electricity bill in the mail the other day (due around the 8th, which I’ll wind up paying late) and it’s almost $175!  Dammit!  I know it’s from running the heater, which I try to turn down while I’m at work during the day. Part of the problem is that the heater went out a few months ago and the apartment complex had issues fixing it (needed a new compressor or something). So they told me to switch over to the “emergency heat” setting, and they gave me a space heater to use as well. When I’ve tried to switch back to regular heat, it doesn’t seem to work well, so I’ve kept it switched onto emergency. Doesn’t seem to really kick in until I push it to 74 or so, which is several degrees higher than I normally run it during the winters. I need to call the office and find out what the deal with the heater is, because this shit is costing me a fortune.  I’ve considered asking them to pitch in for part of my electricity bill, but I doubt that will fly, since there’d be no way to prove how much extra this stuff is costing me. I wonder if they’d consider shaving a few bucks off my rent at least?  Might as well ask them…couldn’t hurt.

At least spring is around the corner, and I can go back to shutting off my heater and opening the windows whenever possible.

I’ve got all my housework still to do today, but first, I’m crawling back into bed for a few hours…

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I decided to skip the recycling center this morning, after discovering my Amazon Mechanical Turk payment of $10.60 landed in my account, bringing my balance to over $15. Yay! Plus, there was a light dusting of snow on the ground and I wasn’t in the mood to deal with possible slick back roads. I’ll go next weekend, hopefully when I have more fuel in my tank.

I’m having a cup of coffee at the moment, then I’ll hop in the shower and head out to work at the non-profit this afternoon. Earlier I emailed some interested Craigslist folks to see if anyone wanted to swing by to have a look tomorrow. One reply so far, so hopefully she’ll buy something to help get me through till Tuesday.

I checked my account on Associated Content (so far I’ve published 4 articles since September) and it seems I finally garnered another 1,000 page views to get a performance payment next month. It’ll only be around $1, but I’m still pleased. I’ve meant to write more articles, but it’s a bit of a time-consuming process with many factors to consider. For example, locating supporting articles, doing research (if needed), placing “hot” keywords to help boost search engine queries, coming up with good tags, creating a summary, finding a decent photo to accompany the article from free image sites, promoting the piece, etc. I know with more practice the process will go faster (some folks can bang out 10 articles in a day). It’s probably best for me to set a goal to produce one new article in the next few weeks, which could potentially earn me anywhere from $2-$4 for an upfront payment. I’m itching to write something new, now I just need to figure out what I want to write about. It will probably be personal finance related, considering my current state of mind. Perhaps something devoted to finding part-time work. We shall see.

I’m off to hit the work trenches. With any luck, I’ll hit that 4 hour goal!

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What a friggin’ week. I just got home from my cleaning stint. The owner was there, wrapping up a phone call, when I came in after 5 pm. Before he left, he mentioned that the manager “salvaged my job.”  Apparently, they are merging offices/services with the company next door, and when the subject of housekeeping came up, the manager said they were happy with the cleaning service they’d recently hired (i.e. me), so the other company said that was perfectly fine and agreed to keep me on. But I guess that means the woman who cleans their offices will be out of a job (doesn’t exactly sound like they fought for her though). Although, I’m sure that the fact I only charge $40 per cleaning may have been a consideration as well.

I took the opportunity to tell him that I would still love to come back and do office work if they needed it (thru the temp agency), or even just a few hours here or there on a weekend or nights as a contractor if something came up. He said I’m at the top of his list (along with my fellow former temp co-worker Carla, whom I adore) and will definitely keep me in mind should another big project fall on their plate.

Although it’s not fun to go from office job straight to a cleaning gig on a Friday night, I find that once I get there I rather enjoy it. I especially love seeing the sunset through the kitchen window as I noodle around.  When I’m finished, I have an immense sense of satisfaction. I’m still rather proud of myself for “creating” this job.

In other part time job news, I was asked to skip coming in Thursday and Friday at the non-profit, but I’m going in tomorrow after 12:30. I have no idea how long I’ll be there, but I’m hoping for at least 4 hours of work (which would push my total to 10, which after taxes, should net me around $100).  Prior to that, I have plans to head to the recycling center to drop off aluminum and steel cans, plus various pieces of scrap metal I’ve collected over the last couple months. I’m hoping to get at least $5, which I know doesn’t sound like much, but considering I have only $5 in my bank account at the moment, it will be a big help.

My gas tank is hovering on empty and I used up most of my spare change ($3.13) to buy a small bag of dog food for Buddy on the way home tonight. I knew I was getting low, but thought I had about a cup left for him for today. I poured out the contents of the last bag which amounted to about 4 kibbles and a bunch of kibble dust. Oops. So, I ripped up some tortillas for him to nibble on while I was at work.  Luckily, he normally doesn’t eat much during the daytime, so I wasn’t terribly worried. He was happy to see me open a fresh bag o’ kibbles tonight though and munched heartily after his walk.

Oh! I almost forgot to mention that I’ve been switched to a new project at work as of yesterday afternoon. Now, I’m actually USING A COMPUTER, and working on matching up scanned documents with their respective member accounts. Pretty easy work, plus I have my own cube now, bordered by an infrequently used hallway with windows. This means not only can I glance out for a nice view every now and again, but people aren’t always walking by my desk.  My supervisor (Lance) is very nice, doesn’t bug me (he only checked on me once today), and is several cubes away. I come and go as I please for coffee, breaks or whatnot. Of course, I make sure to keep my breaks within the alloted time frame and such, but it’s nice to know that I don’t have someone monitoring my every move. Additionally, he told me that I could listen to music or whatever, so after he trained me on the system yesterday, I decided to see if I was able to get access to my favorite radio station (the cool oldies one) online. I’d been told by my former co-worker that internet access was very restricted (didn’t matter since I never wound up using a PC in that office anyway), so I was expecting to be blocked. But, I was able to surf to it with no problems, except for the fact that Flash wasn’t updated. I installed a new version, but it still didn’t work. I was hopeful that perhaps it might work after firing it up this morning, and it did!  So happy I had my headphones in my tote bag. I know it’s a small thing, but being able to listen to great music (at whatever volume I want) without disturbing anyone or dealing with radio static is such a huge bonus for me. And now that I have my own little space, with more tolerable work, I’m much happier.

Of course, the one big problem that remains is how low my pay is. I am going to call my agency rep on Monday and see if she can talk to them and score me an extra buck more an hour (at least) since I’ve switched to a different project using a “higher” skill set. However, since the little misunderstanding between those two a few weeks ago, I don’t have a lot of faith this will go over well. I’m sure this place will argue it’s still a job in the $8 range and blah blah. Then again, I plan to tell my agency to tell them (if they disagree) that I simply cannot work a long-term (or temp to perm) assignment for $8/hour. A few weeks or so is one thing, which is what I was originally told it would be. So we’ll see how that all goes down. All I can do is ask.

And as far as goals reached, I managed to pay off the $58 to the cash advance place yesterday. Nothing else can really happen until I get paid next Tuesday. In the meantime, I’ll just try to scrape up a few dollars to get me by. Depending on how tomorrow goes, I might set up more appointments for folks from Craigslist to come by on Sunday (if anyone is still interested/available). Otherwise, I’ll try to scatter some appointments throughout the week nights.

Alright, that’s enough outta me for tonight. I’m hitting the sack early again, like I did last night. Wish me sweet dreams!

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Booya!

I realize I am using the phrase “booya” much too much lately, but BOOYA, I don’t care.  Today was day one of working two jobs back-to-back and I’m feeling exhaustingly satisfied with my efforts.  The admin contract work I did tonight went well, after a slight hiccup because they forgot to ensure I had a temp ID and password to unlock my Windows desktop when I arrived.  I noodled around prepping docs for data entry while my supervisor tracked down the IT dude on his cell phone. He was able to access the system from his home office and get me up and running.

Compared to the mindnumbing crapfest of work I do during the day, this job is a little piece of heaven.  I enjoyed it in the past, but I’m really loving it now.  I was able to snag the same cube I worked in before (off in a nice quiet corner), and I made sure to bring in my headphones so I could listen to my favorite online radio station (“Cool Oldies”).  Took about 5 minutes for me to shake the cobwebs and recall all the little steps involved in entering this data, but once I got back into the swing of things, I was happily flying along, mouthing the words to my favorite oldies.

I was especially delighted to discover that my supervisor and I had the same rate of pay in mind, so I’ll be getting $12 an hour (pre-tax) as hoped. Yay! She’s going to put me on their payroll temporarily to save us both headaches. However, I discovered that payroll for the end of this month is already in process, which meant I wouldn’t get my paycheck until March 15th. Uh-oh.

When she asked “Willl that be ok with you?” I used the opportunity to ask if there was any way I could be paid any sooner. She replied she could talk to corporate and they could work out some type of manual paycheck advance next week, so from what I understand, the check should be cut on the Friday the 5th and I should receive it in the mail Saturday or Monday.  I certainly don’t want to cause them any payroll hassles this early in the game, but I also had no clue I’d have to wait over 2.5 weeks for my first paycheck either. The way I see, it never hurts to ask.  With any luck, the plan will go smoothly with the corporate office, and this money will be the key to paying off my remaining electricity bill.

I sometimes have to stand back and marvel at the amazing sense of timing in my financial matters as of late. The week before last, I was clueless as to how I was going to scrap up enough for rent, after shelling out all that money to play catch-up with the IRS.  So then what happened?  I went to work last Monday, feeling fine, and wound up feeling feverish, sore and headachey by lunchtime. I knew something was terribly wrong, but I tried to push on through. By 1:30 I gave up, talked to the boss (who was very understanding), stopped at the store for Nyquil and a few foodie nibs, got home and dove into bed, which is pretty much where I stayed for the next four days. I missed nearly an entire week of work, a $200 blow to my budget. $200 I had already “spent” in my head for upcoming bills, and even with that paycheck figured into things, I was still unsure how I’d manage to pay rent.

While I was curled up in bed all those days, suffering through something that felt like the flu, with an ice pick migraine to boot, I desperately tried not to think about my finances.  I haven’t been that sick in ages. Something was bound to catch up with me eventually. All I focused on was resting and getting better for the upcoming week. And, trying to avoid a $50 trip to the doctor, which I couldn’t afford, for meds I couldn’t afford, even if they were $4 generics from Kroger.

By Friday I seemed to turn a corner, when the fever broke and the migraine finally dissipated. I’d had the same feeling early on Wednesday, only to go downhill hours later, so I was very leery about being too excited I was on the mend. But this time, they didn’t come back.  I felt well enough (after a few more naps) to do my normal Friday nightly office cleaning, but I was nervous I was pushing myself. I could’ve easily called the client and delayed it till the weekend, but I didn’t want it hanging over my head. Plus, I didn’t want to start in with “hey, I know I said I’d be in Friday nights, but I’ve been sick and I’ll just show up over the weekend if that’s ok” crap only three weeks into this gig.  So I took it slow and tried not to over-exert myself (though I think my breaking out into a sweat — I think my temp was still a bit high — helped rid me of extra toxins).  I wrapped up in a little over an hour.  Little headed and groggy afterwards, but I took it easy over the weekend and felt better each day.

So (getting back to my original point regarding timing), I was dealt a big hit when this illness knocked me on my ass, but then this contract work comes precisely when I needed it the most!  I had planned on calling them anyway on Monday to find out the status of upcoming projects (could’ve easily been another month or so till they needed me), but to have a voicemail waiting for ME when I got home, I couldn’t believe it! Then to not only get the pay I was hoping for, but to wrangle a paycheck advance too?

Additionally, something I’ll touch on much more later, are my sales on Craigslist. I’d reposted an “Indoor Yard Sale” ad the weekend before I got sick, and had to turn everyone who emailed me from Monday on with “Sorry, I’m sick — will be in touch soon.”  (Fortunately, I managed to sell nearly $75 worth of items on Sunday though).  I was trying to scrape together funds over my recovery weekend to buy some groceries and gas for the coming week, when out of the blue, a gal who was considering buying my air purifier a week before contacted me again, asking if it was still available and if so, she was ready to pick it up for the price I was offering. No haggling, no nothing. She showed up exactly on time, had a quick look, seemed satisfied and handed me $50 in cold hard cash. Goddamn. That is the BEST FEELING IN THE WORLD. Well, besides hugs and puppy dogs and stuff. And sex. And the taste of ice cream on a hot day, or chili on a cold day. Etc. [Insert your best feeling in the world HERE]

But I digress…

Oddly, the day before perfect Craigslist customer landed on my doorstep with a wad o’ money, another gal who’d been going back and forth with me for over a week (while I was in a sick haze) about the same damn air purifier, finally wrote me this long ass story about how they really needed one without replaceable filters because they smoke and the companies make their money by forcing  people to replace filters and yadda fuckin’ yadda she’s not interested but thanks anyway. FINE. Not replying back would’ve sufficed. I know that bitch would’ve tried to haggle on the price anyway.

Another life lesson:  There’s a reason some shit doesn’t pan out. Sometimes it’s obvious very quickly, other times you’ll find out later, and many times, you’ll never know. Regardless, accept it and move ON.

This is how I choose to think about days when I’ve called in sick when I wasn’t really sick, or could’ve managed to get through a day, but simply didn’t feel like it (UNLIKE last week, might I add):  I think that when you can’t drag yourself out of bed or just can’t face the world, you have to listen to that feeling. There’s laziness, and there’s…hesitation. Something’s off.  Perhaps my not going into work saved my life, or someone else’s. I avoided a terrible car wreck, a speeding ticket I couldn’t afford, getting the flu from a co-worker or food poisoning from the cafeteria, a train collision, 9/11, running over someone’s dog, on and on.

You have to listen to your gut even when it doesn’t seem to make a bit of sense at the time. There are so many things you pick up on without realizing it.

Wow, how did I end up talking about this?  Perhaps I’m feeling some bad heebies over something?  I guess I always tend to think good things are balanced out by bad things and vice versa. Now that I’ve had a bit of good luck this week I’m thinking the tide will turn again?

Damn squirrely tide.

I’m off for the night, I think. Please wish me good heebies. I need them. In return, good heebies to YOU!

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So, let’s just dive right into the meat and potatoes, shall we?

At present, I am working 35 hours a week at a temp job that pays $8 an hour, which is only 75 cents above federal minimum wage.

I’m 39 years old, with a college education, and over 20 years of work experience.

Ouch.

Advantages of this particular temp gig:

  • At least I’m working
  • Short commute (approx. 3 miles each way)
  • No standing required
  • No stress
  • Close parking to building
  • Free, decent tasting coffee
  • Work day begins at 9, can leave as late as 8:52 am and still make it on time
  • Can leave precisely at 5 pm

Disadvantages of this particular temp gig:

  • Did I mention it pays $8 an hour?  After taxes, it works out to $6.93 an hour. Sweet Jesus.
  • I spend all day removing staples from membership packets and taping receipts to pieces of paper. No, I’m not kidding.
  • Breaks are unpaid and yours truly is a smoker (shuddup)
  • One hour lunch, which is way more time than I need, and makes it a 7 hour day, so I’m missing out on 5 hours of pay I desperately need in a week (Note: In order to work around the unpaid breaks/longer lunch than I need situation, I have adjusted my schedule to either one 15 minute morning break, a 30 minute lunch, and one 15 minute afternoon break…or four 15 minute breaks throughout the day, depending on what kind of mood I’m in). I’d talk to my supervisor about this, but…
  • The work atmosphere is a bit strange, with over-the-top security (more on that later)
  • Odd miscommunication issues between this company and my temp agency landed me into one very awkward conversation with my supervisor. I am still not sure they have sorted things out yet, but I’m sure the next awkward conversation will confirm this (just have a feeling). Again, more on this later.
  • My co-worker is…oh, how do I say this nicely?  “A hick drone” is the only phrase that comes to mind.
  • (Notice how I’m using longer sentences to describe the negative parts of this job?)
  • I have no idea when this gig will be done

I don’t want to get too sidetracked yapping about this job at the moment, but suffice to say, I’d like to get the hell out of there as soon as possible. Until something else better comes along, I’m stuck.

Now, in addition to temping, on Friday nights, I clean an office (very close to where I live) for $40 per cleaning (roughly 1.5 hours light work). An average month with four Fridays garners $160, paid in advance. I basically created this job out of thin air and desperation, which I’ll elaborate more on later. So far I have done 3 cleanings and so far, so good.

And, as I happily discovered today, the administrative contract work I was hoping to get was greenlit, and I’ll be putting in 10-15 extra hours this week at night (Tues through Thursday, possibly Friday as well), at a pay rate to be determined. Recently I temped for these folks for about a month, making $9 an hour (which means the agency was probably charging them $13 or more), so I’m hoping to get a rate of at least $12. It’s a non-profit, and the work is fairly easy data entry, so I don’t want to push it too much. I’ll have to play it by ear and see how the conversation goes. Most of all, I loved working for these folks, and I’m thrilled they called me. With any luck, more projects will follow.

My goals for the next 2 weeks are as follows:

  1. Pay off short-term loan of $50 to cash advance place (total with interest due is $58.82) by Thursday 2/25. No problem on this one. I’ve got the dough.
  2. Come up with rent money ($730) by March 5 (last possible date to pay without incurring $50 late fee). I think I’ve figured out how I can manage this…
  3. Scrape up past due amount ($164.42) on February electricity bill to avoid disconnection. I was able to push out the “final” date from today to March 5. The same day rent is due!  WHEE!  This one is gonna be the real bitch, BUT, with the contract work I landed, I might be able to swing it.
  4. Find a way to pay the IRS my $75 monthly installment sometime after I get 2 & 3 taken care of (it’s already overdue by a few days). I just coughed up $225 two weeks ago for missing several months in a row, so I hate the fact I’m behind once again. More on my issues with IRS later…
  5. Mail in my check for $24 to the water company, which is nearly 2 weeks overdue.

There’s so much more I want to add to this post to flesh out my situation (and how I wound up here), but it’s getting late and I’ve got a long week ahead of me.  Time to bunky down, peeps. Catch ya on the flip side.

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