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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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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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