Sunday, August 30, 2009

I did end up going to that party

So I did finally find a black bra, though not the best one. Still, after I found that I was able to wear a certain black dress that I haven't been seen in for a while.

Somebody said I looked slinky.

Okay. Anyway, not much of a costume, but something I was happy to wear anyway. So I did not win any awards, though I wish that there was some way of finding out if I even got any votes. Marvin won two awards, but of course, he is Marvin. And I didn't see him even take off his mask the entire evening, so for a while I was wondering if maybe she was Marvin.

I was one of three people who got all the correct answers on both of the table games, but I didn't win a prize for either. After spending about four dollars on raffle tickets and the silent auction, I came home with an Erin Grey picture, a Klingon bird of prey model kit, and some sort of homemade liquor. I do not drink alcohol, so I will either find something to cook with it, or else I will give it to my brother. I am strongly anti-drug, so I think that giving someone alcohol is a bad idea. Still, he'd probably just put it in his collection and not drink it for a long time anyway. May end up giving him all three items for Christmas or something. I have to think about it a bit.

I feel somewhat guilty that I did not put a scarf up for auction, just to see what would happen. The last one only got 23 dollars, but that would have been an extra 23 dollars for charity. Someone else put a scarf in as a raffle prize. That I wouldn't do. All that work for not much money, and you don't even know if the recipient even wanted the scarf.

We have our own auction next month. But that is for the club and not a charity, and I've donated two scarves to that in past years. I think that I've done my bit there.

Note to self: if you really want sodas at the next party, bring your own. Also, the spaghetti from the Mexican market was probably a good thing for the donation box, so look for it again next year.

The party broke up at a bit after eleven, about two hours sooner than some of us wanted to go home. I am thinking that we have to be out of the building by twelve or something, or else some people would stay longer as at other events. Still, getting home at a bit before twelve is a lot later than I would normally stay out, so I was a bit tired on the drive home.

After I got to sleep, I was still in the mood for a party. I met some actors. A fun dream, and it felt so real I'm afraid that I would say something stupid if I ever met these people in real life.

So I must have gotten a lot of sleep if I was able to dream, but I don't feel rested. I would just go back to bed if I could.

Today will be an odd Sunday, as my husband works today. He almost never works on Sunday. And while he's actually making some money for a change, he was happy to hear that this particular account was cut short by two days. The customers are buying, but they're a bit strange. The salesman who bailed on us two weeks ago is working on this account, so the sales are good, and we need the money.

The salesman is back to being his friendly self. But he's suggested to my husband that the next time he gets his own account that they should work together. He's apparently acting as though nothing has happened. Anyway, as nice as it would be to have him work on the new business, we don't trust him now. We don't know if we should give him another chance or what. I would think that he needs to do something to show he's committed to the project, like buy his own laptop, but then that wouldn't work either because he'd have people's credit card numbers on his computer. And someone would still have to watch him to make sure that he didn't have people write checks directly to him. So I don't know what to do about him.

I got almost nothing done yesterday. I spent some time looking for my black bra and trying on clothes and such, and I went to the library, and after that I pretty much sat around watching TV while waiting for it to me time to get ready for the party. So I'm not sure why I feel so bad. I didn't eat that much, I didn't overdose on soda, and I didn't spend all night on my feet. But I still feel pretty strange, like the day after I go to a party and do all that stuff that I'm not supposed to do.

Glad that I went anyway.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Should I go hang out with the Klingons?

Well, that is the question of the day, and I might not arrive at the answer until just before it is time to meet up with them.

First thing to be decided, do I want to hang out with Klingons? Yes, actually, I do. Some of them are friends of mine. And I have been to this particular event before and I enjoyed it. I didn't go last year, but I don't remember why.

Possibly, I couldn't decide what to wear.

And that is getting to be a problem again, and probably it is the main reason I have such a difficult time deciding. I have nothing Klingon to wear, that is for sure. But it isn't necessary to wear anything Klingon. I could wear something Vulcan, but even that is not required. It is acceptable just to go as a human, but preferably, to at least go as a nice dressed human. And I would have preferred to wear a nice dress that they hadn't all seen me wear before.

I haven't had the time or the money to go out and get something new. At this point, I am even starting to worry that I won't have anything good to wear on Halloween.

My friends advise me to wear something that I haven't worn in a while, possibly something that I've already worn to a Halloween party, only remove anything from the outfit that just screams Halloween. The Klingons wouldn't have seen it, and most of my friends will probably have forgotten I already had that dress. The problem with wearing a dress from that far back is that there is probably a reason that I don't wear it anymore. Like it probably doesn't fit me anymore. Or it needs to be cleaned and probably isn't worth spending the money on it.

I have decided not to wear my newest black dress. As I am having no luck with getting together a new Halloween costume, I may end up wearing that to the Halloween party. So putting that one away, what else do I have?

I have one that I haven't worn for a long time, and it has the bra sown in. But, after cleaning it and trying it on, I've decided that it is a bit too snug. I can certainly get into it, but I don't think that I would be comfortable in it for very long. And then there are two other dress that I think I look good in and would be comfortable in. One of them I wore last time I went to this thing. The other one I haven't worn in a while, and the Klingons haven't seen it, while most of my other friends have. But both of these require a certain black bra which I have, but at the moment, I cannot find it.

If I eliminate everything else that I would find to snug or otherwise uncomfortable, I'm left with a few things that look rather dull as they are, and I haven't the time to make them look more interesting.

So if I am going, I will either need to find the missing black bra, or, I will look dull.

And what is the point of going to hang out with Klingons if one is going to look dull?

Then I come to the questions like, am I in the mood for this anyway? Maybe I should know that with the way everything else is, I probably won't have a good time anyway. Maybe I should just skip it. But I usually have a good time at this sort of thing, and it has been such a long time, and I need to go out and at least try to have a good time, don't I?

And then last of all, there is the money situation. Going to this thing will cost me at least fifteen or twenty dollars. I spent about that on groceries yesterday. Maybe I would be better off keeping the money to buy more groceries. Anyway, part of this thing is to collect for a charity, so you bring stuff to donate, and for me that would be about five dollars of the groceries I bought yesterday. And then there is at least another ten dollars to go to the thing, and the gas to go to the thing. And then there is more money that I might spent once I get to the thing, and while I probably won't spend a lot of extra money, it is good to at least take some extra money, just in case.

Almost two weeks ago, my husband and I had what I thought was a strange conversation about the new business. The salesman had quit, and I took over his job. And I did the best that I could, but really, I'm just not into sales. So if the salesman had done his job, he and my husband would have split the money that they took in, after they took out the money for the rental equipment and paid for the expenses (not all the expenses, just the ones specifically for that particular account), which when I did the sales part turned out to only be about nine hundred dollars, but if the salesman had stayed probably would have been more.

So my husband was willing to split the money with the salesman, but after I did the work instead, he asked me if I expected half of the money. And he seemed to be saying that he knew I had worked hard and deserved to get paid something, but not half. So it seemed an odd thing to say, that the other guy deserved half but his wife did not. And of course, considering the small amount that we made, it seemed odd to discuss how it should be divided anyway. We need to pay the car and the rent, and I doubt that there is going to be much left to split after that anyway.

If we had made several thousand dollars that we imagined that we would make, I damned well better get half. But from the money that we did make, I didn't expect that much. I wanted to go out to dinner at least once (which we did way more than once and spent too much), and I wanted some garden stuff, and I wanted to go ahead and buy tickets to this and to the Halloween party. So I don't think that I'm being unreasonable about spending this amount of money, except that I didn't really plan to spend as much as we did at restaurants, and I don't know how much more money will be coming in for the next few weeks, and I didn't have enough left to pay the credit card people.

So maybe I'm feeling a little guilty that I forgot to put anything aside for the credit card. But really, if I skip this, I still won't have enough to pay them anything this month. I'm just wondering if I will feel bad about spending the money next time they call.

Well, I had better go look for that black bra.

Friday, August 28, 2009

I think that I'll try this $20.09 contest

As you may know by now, my newest reader is doing the dollar a day thing, and that is how we found each other. I think that he is trying to win a contest. The contest involves the University Federal Credit Union and making YouTube videos about what you can do with $20.09. UFCU is giving people $20.09 for opening a new account, and the idea is to show that you can do a lot with $20.09.

David's plan is to spend the $20.09, and only $20.09, on all of the food that he will eat for the next twenty days. And it is a hard thing to do, but it can be done for limited amounts of time. I tried to do it for a month, and found out how many social things I would have to give up if I wanted to keep doing it, so I ended up doing it for only a couple of weeks. So I did not quite make it for twenty days, but I might try it again.

David is now halfway through his challenge. He has some food left (mostly potatoes), has bought some more eggs and spaghetti, and he now has about five dollars left. So he will probably reach his goal, though at this point he may seriously be looking forward to the end of this project.

So far, there only seem to be two other people in the contest. There is one video showing that two people can go to a restaurant or a club for less than $20.09, so that amount of money could be used on a date. Another video shows an older woman making macrame angels. The contest is over on September 17th.

So I am thinking about entering the contest myself.

It is not a big contest. First place is only five hundred dollars. But since the point of the contest is to show what you can do with $20.09, I would think that anybody who won would be able to do a lot with an extra five hundred dollars.

So, I have about decided to enter the thing, even though I have never made a video before. Now I just have to decide what I'm going to spend my $20.09 on.

I have a few ideas. Most of them involve the garden. I'm also considering something about knitting, but seeing as there is already a video about macrame angels that people already like, that might be too much direct competition.

After reading the rules, it looks like I would be able to submit more than one video, but I have my doubts about having the time to make more than one video. And then, there's the money situation. If I were to make five videos about five different ways to spend $20.09, I would end up spending a hundred dollars, and I don't think that I should spend that much right now.

Then there is one little problem. I don't have a video camera.

About ten years ago, I thought that it might be cool to be Dawson Leery for a weekend, and get a video camera and make a movie with my friends. It seems to me that the easiest movie to make with the sort of equipment I would be able to get would be a horror film, and I had an idea for a script, so I started writing. And I had this idea that I would explain the low budget look of the thing by having one of the characters in the story carry a video camera and recording the whole thing. Some kids go out to make a video that they hope to get edited in time to show next Halloween, and while they are out, they run into some trouble.

I had this whole thing in my head, but I didn't have anybody in mind to play the main characters. The minor characters could have been played my friends and in-laws, but the main characters would have been teenagers, and I just didn't know a lot of teenagers at the time. But I didn't let that stop me, cause I'm sure that the other people I wanted to be in the thing probably knew a few teenagers, and probably a few of them would volunteer to be in a movie.

The plan was to film the stuff whenever I could get the right group of people and be allowed to film at the right locations. And then I would figure out stuff like editing later.

Seems like I knew a lot of people who could have loaned me cameras and such, and I think that was right about the time that my brother bought a video camera. So I was writing this script.

And then we heard about The Blair Witch Project. I stopped writing the script. After this came out I figured that not only would everyone be out with their video cameras making movies, but they would pretty much be making the same movie. So that was the end of my project.

I got another idea for a movie when Survivor came out. But I was very busy at the time, working usually six days a week and being out of town for months at a time. So I didn't get very far into writing that script.

So other than playing around with the camera while thinking about those two film ideas, I haven't really used a video camera, and I don't have one myself. But I knew all these other people who had one, so I figured that I would just ask to borrow theirs.

So I called my brother, and yes, he still had a video camera, and yes, I could borrow it if I wanted to. But it was the same video camera he had ten years ago. He hadn't used it much since then. It wasn't a digital camera, and since it had been so long since he'd used it, he hadn't bought anything to make it possible to transfer it to a computer to edit.

So I figured that was probably the same for most of the other people I knew with cameras. They got the video bug all at about the same time and went out and bought cameras, but most of them probably didn't get used much anymore. The few people who do have nice new cameras probably use them a lot and probably wouldn't want to loan them out.

I wondered what to do about that. My husband has a nice digital camera for still pictures, but not video. So I was thinking that maybe we could do one of those things where you have still pictures and maybe a narration or some music in the background and enter that into the contest. Of the two videos currently in the contest, one of them is a slide show, so I wouldn't be the only one with that idea.

So while we are talking about that, my husband laughs and remembers that there is a camera on the new laptop. So I can make a video with that if I want to, but I doubt that will work out for most of my ideas. I don't think that there is way to change the focus on this thing, or at least, there isn't an easy way of doing it. The camera on the laptop is mainly for blogging and sending messages to your mom, not going outside and making movies. So I think we are back to the slide show idea.

So that is the plan, to make a slide show about something that I could do with $20.09, probably in the garden. Not sure that I will actually get around to doing it, but right now I'm having some fun thinking about it.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

I seem to have forgotten what I was doing

This whole new business thing of my husband's has me distracted from what I am supposed to be doing. A friend of mine had told me about a job I might have been interested in, but somehow, I forgot to even look at it. When I should have been looking into that and doing other things, something came up about the business, and I just put everything on hold. At least, I put everything that required thinking on hold. So I didn't look into the job that week, and then I forgot to look into it later. It is probably too late now. And I'm too embarrassed to tell my friend that I forgot about it.

The things that did not require thinking also got put on hold after it was decided that I would do the sales job part of the business instead of that actual salesman that was originally supposed to do the job. So three weeks ago I was doing a lot of work, making space in the living room area for the rental equipment, and the usual laundry and washing dishes and such, and I was even doing a bit of gardening. It is too hot to do much gardening, but I got most of a certain project done. So that was something, and it made me feel better to get something done.

And then I had plans to do some other stuff, and I put them on hold until this first business account was done. So that was almost three weeks ago that I stopped doing whatever I was doing and seriously started worrying about the business instead. So I did the job the Saturday before last, and again this past Saturday. And we were both too tired to do much of anything on Sunday, though we did attempt to go shopping and did a few fun things. We have since eaten out at several restaurants, seen a couple of movies, gone to the park, and gone shopping some more, etc....

And I've pretty much spent the rest of my time watching the X-Files or something like that. I've done very little work. I have yet to even catch up with washing the dishes or doing the laundry. And as for the garden or working in the living room or the rest of the house, I've forgotten now whatever it was that I was going to do next. Three weeks ago, it seemed very important and I was glad to finally have the time and energy to get started on it, and now I can't even remember what it was.

Some of that is just an excuse for basically being lazy. It is like after I don't do something for a while, I can't seem to get back to doing it. So while I might not remember exactly what it was that I wanted to get started on, I should just get started on something else. I should just find something to do and do it, and not really worry about if this is the best thing to do right now, because doing any of it would be better than doing none of it. But it is like I've forgotten how to put one foot in front of the other.

I tell myself that I am waiting for my husband to go back to work at his "real job", which is partially true. I can't seem to get much done while he is here, unless it is the two of us doing something together, which is usually limited to running errands. So today he was supposed to be back at his real job, only yesterday he was told that the account didn't start until five in the evening. So he won't be leaving the house til two or three, and probably by that time I'll have lost interest in trying to do very much.

I am also dreading a phone call from my mother.

I should just not talk to my mother anymore. I know that. I should never talk to my mother except when it involves other people in my family, or maybe only talk to her during those times when the whole family gets together. Other times, it just doesn't end well. So she has been wanting to know when my husband goes back to work, which is today, and she knows that it is today, so I suspect she will call and want to go to dinner, or worse, that she will have something she wants to talk to me about.

And I can't just refuse to talk to her without hearing what it is. I suppose that I could have, but I opened the door for this sort of thing when I called her a couple of weeks ago about the new business thing. I should have kept my mouth shut, but in a panic I didn't know who else to call.

And now I think that my brother wants to talk to me about something. If my brother wants to say something, he would usually just blurt it out. So now I am suspicious.

Maybe I shouldn't talk to either one of them.

Anyway, I should find something to do. I can't refuse to talk to them, but if I look really busy, I could at least limit the time I have to talk to them.

Oh, and I seem to have injured my leg, though there isn't a bruise or anything, and I can't remember doing anything to it. So whatever work I am going to do is limited, so I can't do some of the stuff that really needs to be done, like I can't get down on the floor and scrub the floorboards. Luckily, I can do both the dishes and the laundry without doing much to bother the leg. And I need to do the laundry anyway, so I can decide what to wear on Saturday.

Unfortunately, one of the things that I really have to do is clean out the fridge. I have to go grocery shopping, and what I am planning to buy will not currently fit. So I have to clean out the fridge, even with the injured leg.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Did somebody move to Frisco?

I used to write this thing called Freaky Fridays. It was a blog post on Friday explaining how all the visitors to my blog came to be there. Like some of them had Googled Freaky Sluts, or Giant Penis, or Rudy's BBQ, or Middle of Nowhere Kansas. A lot of people come here wanting to know how to get out of jury duty, or why poor people don't know how to spend money.

That sort of thing used to really interest me, and I wrote a funny post about it about every other week. But I really just don't have the energy anymore. So I think it has been a while since I wrote one of those posts. And sometimes several weeks go by that I don't look at the blog tracker at all.

Last week I had a look at it again, and I noticed that someone from Frisco was reading. Not reading and looking for anything in particular, just someone looking for this blog in particular. So I thought that it must be my old buddy the Absurdist. She hasn't blogged in a very long time, and I'm afraid that I've stopped checking her blog. So went over to have a look, expecting to see a new post, but no. It was the same as the last time I had looked.

Still, the next day this person from Frisco had stopped by several times. So I thought that it must be her, even if she wasn't posting stuff on her own blog anymore. I thought that I would mention her at the beginning of a post. Something like, "Hello reader from Frisco. If you are my old buddy the Absurdist, stop by and say hello. If you are not my friend the Absurdist, but a new reader from Frisco, maybe you could stop by and say hello anyway."

But I didn't write anything like that for a while. I was busy with the new business thing and not blogging everyday anyway.

And then I was looking at the blog tracker thing one day, and I noticed that the reader from Frisco had been there a lot that day. And then next to that, when there was often an empty space instead of a Google search, there was this bit about publishing a post. But the only person allowed to publish a post on my blog is me.

I'm the reader from Frisco?

So I had a closer look at the thing, and there is no mention of a reader from where I actually live, which cannot be, since I usually check my blog several times a day.

So apparently, the blog tracker thinks that I have moved to Frisco.

I have not moved to Frisco. In fact, I do not think that I have ever been to Frisco, and I cannot even remember driving through Frisco to get to someplace else. I am nowhere near Frisco. Okay, I am somewhat near Frisco, but I am much nearer to Arlington and Dallas and Irving and even Fort Worth, while Frisco is way on the other side of Grapevine.

I haven't even been to Grapevine in a long time.

So in case someone was looking at the blog tracker thing and noticed this before I did, let me say that I did not move to Frisco.


Tuesday, August 25, 2009

The second weekend of the new business

Okay, as you may recall, my husband started this new business.

At my husband's "real job" a bunch of people tend to sit around and complain that on a good day the three of them take in over three thousand dollars for the company, and of that my husband earns a bit over three hundred dollars, and I would think that the other two also make around that. If they had their own company, they could split the profits from the three thousand dollars three ways instead of getting a paycheck of about three hundred dollars.

But that's on a good day. On a bad day my husband only makes fifty dollars. On a less than average to not so good day, my husband makes between ninety and maybe two hundred dollars.

There haven't been a lot of good days lately. There have been not so good days, and a lot of bad days. And there have been a lot of days that he didn't work at all, but apparently there have not been enough days that he didn't work to qualify for more than four hundred dollars from unemployment, and he was out of work for three solid weeks when they paid him that much.

So my husband was talking to one of the sales guys. This guy has sales of two thousand and even three thousand dollars a day on a regular basis, so almost any day that these two work together is a good day, or even a great day. So this guy says that when my husband starts his own company he wants to work with him and split the profits. He doesn't want to start the business himself, but he wants to work with my husband.

My husband thinks this is a good idea, seeing that this guy has such a high sales average. They could split the profits of two or three thousand dollars a day, instead of just getting a percentage.

Of course, when it is your own company, no one pays your expenses. And if you have a bad day, no one pays you fifty dollars. And if you really have a bad day, you might even lose money. And you have to rent or buy your own equipment, and if it breaks nobody fixes it for you, you have to pay to have it fixed or pay to have it replaced.

And then of course, there is the cost of buying or renting the equipment in the first place, and that has to be paid before there is any profit.

Okay, so there were a lot of expenses to get this thing started. We bought a laptop. We went in to get a four hundred and something laptop and ended up buying a six hundred and something laptop. And we bought a printer, and we bought some other stuff like office supplies. I think we spent like a thousand dollars or maybe a bit more. I really don't quite remember. I just remember thinking that the major expenses were over, except for renting the equipment, which was about two hundred dollars per weekend, while I had somehow gotten the idea that it was only fifty per weekend.

And then there was the computer program, which was another five hundred. I had no idea that it was going to be that much. I know that it has all the bells and whistles, but when I had the job before I did it without all the bells and HUNDRED DOLLARS??? But, there was a free trial period, and I calmed down a bit.

Oh, we are past the free trial period. We actually bought this five hundred dollar program.

And then he would be out some of his paycheck for asking off those two Saturdays. The first week this probably cost him a good account, and so we don't know how much money that cost him. All we know for sure is that not working on Saturday cost him at least fifty dollars. The other four days he worked were bad days. The second week, he didn't work at all, but maybe there wouldn't have been a full week for him to work anyway. Since he asked for Saturday off, they offered him two days, which he ended up not being able to work cause they were out of town. So that cost him a hundred dollars, maybe more, but there's no way to tell (unless maybe he runs until his replacement and he tells him).

Anyway, this is really starting to add up. But I was trying not to worry, cause he was supposed to work with this really great sales guy, and maybe they were going to split the profits of two or three thousand dollars each day.

Of course, if they had a bad day, they would lose money for each potential customer who didn't buy anything. I was originally told that this would be four dollars for each customer, in addition to losing the two hundred dollars per weekend for the renting the equipment. Later, I found out that the amount was eleven dollars per customer, not four. So while I had in my head that we might come out of this with an additional debt of almost six hundred dollars, the real amount was over a thousand. Still, we were hoping for sales between four and six thousand, cause this other guy had such a great sales average.

At the last minute, the other guy started to ask strange questions, and wanted to have the checks made out to him instead of the business. And while we had paid for everything so far, except for two hundred dollars of samples the other guy decided he needed, he suddenly wanted to be a full partner and have his name be on the business account.

We didn't know why he had suddenly changed his mind, but we decided we couldn't put his name on anything with that short notice. If the two weekends went well, they could talk about it, if he was willing to pay us for half of the equipment we had already bought, but we weren't going to do anything like that before the first day of business. The other guy said that he wasn't going to do any work without being made full partner. So we had to wait til the guy came back to town to get the computer from him and the samples.

Now we owe this guy another two hundred dollars for the samples. If I had known that we would end up paying for them, I wouldn't have bought as many, and I wouldn't have bought these in particular. I would have spent far less and bought things that I personally liked better, just in case the business didn't work out and I got stuck with them. I can't use most of this stuff for my personal use. I have no use for most of it except as part of the business. And now we owe someone two hundred dollars for it.

So I ended up doing the other guy's job, rather than giving him access to our bank account. I feared that we would lose a lot of money. The first day I worked I had sixteen customers, we took in a bit over a thousand dollars. We were supposed to see our last customer at five and hopefully be done by six, but it took a little bit longer than that. The other guy is probably better at this stuff, but it takes me about half an hour per customer to do my job.

We were supposed to have thirty-five customers that day, but a lot of them called to reschedule for the next weekend. There's no way I can handle that many people. I might get a little better with time, but I'm thinking that even if I speed up a little bit, twenty people is about my limit.

The second Saturday, we had another thirty-five customers scheduled. I couldn't do it.

So, we went and bought another forty dollars worth of equipment, hoping that we would be able to use our old computer in addition to the new laptop. So, in theory, this would allow my husband to be the salesperson for one or two people an hour, while I would sell to the other two or three people per hour, and that way we might be able to handle the five people per hour that were scheduled. And then we thought that maybe if that wasn't enough that maybe we could have an additional sales session on Sunday afternoon and see some of the people then.

We redid the sales book. We took some stuff out and added some other stuff. We had hopes of taking in two thousand dollars or more.

The lady we were working with on location didn't return our calls or emails. We didn't know if we would be allowed to work on Sunday afternoon. But, with the new equipment, maybe we wouldn't have to.

When we arrived at the location, no one was there. A few minutes later, someone arrived to unlock the building for us, but the rooms were not ready for us. Furniture needed to be moved, but no one would do that without authorization. We were just standing around doing nothing. I started to worry.

The woman showed up and had the furniture moved. We got everything set up in time.

No customers showed up for almost the first hour. Then they started to come in, but the sales weren't even as good as last weekend. Well, I suppose that is better than having all thirty-five people show up and buy nothing and lose money for each one.

And after a couple of hours, we had enough people that I needed for my husband to use the new equipment and do some of the sales. The new equipment had worked at home, and the new equipment worked for the first customer.

And then the new equipment not only didn't work, but it made us have to redo some stuff, which made us about half an hour behind schedule, and we ended up giving a couple of people some free stuff so that they wouldn't get upset. We tried the new equipment again, and it was sort of half on and half off, so we stopped using it at all.

At about two o'clock I stopped to have lunch. The equipment failure had caused me to panic, but as it turned out several people cancelled their appointments. We really weren't making any money, but on the other hand people weren't showing up, so they weren't costing us money if they didn't buy anything either. I calmed down. Our last customer was scheduled at five, and then we could go home. It wasn't good, but at least we hadn't lost money.

And then a few more people came in, and they didn't buy anything. But it was nearly five and I only had one more customer. Then I could go home.

Some people came in late. And then some more people came in late.

The lady we were working with looked happy, and didn't know why I was upset. I'm working late for people who aren't buying anything, and I'm going to lose eleven dollars for each person who doesn't buy anything.

Maybe she went and talked to the people still waiting. The next person bought something. He only spent twenty-five dollars, and he took forever to pick what he wanted, but at least I didn't have to give him stuff for free just because he showed up. Some more people bought stuff after that, but not all.

We ended up staying til eight o'clock. We had twenty-two customers. My husband only did the sales part for one of them, and that one didn't buy anything. I had twenty-one of those customers by myself. I worked a whole twelve hours with only maybe fifteen minutes for lunch.

We didn't quite take in a thousand dollars the second weekend, but the expenses were a bit less than the first weekend, so it looks like we made right at five hundred dollars, or about nine hundred for both weekends.

That isn't an actual profit yet. For it to really be a profit we would have to have made more money than we spent on the laptop and other equipment and supplies, the money he lost from his "real job", and the two hundred dollars we now owe the other guy for samples. So we are a long way off from really making a profit, but at least we didn't end up with additional debt or give the other guy access to our bank account.

So, I don't know what would have happened if the other guy hadn't bailed on us. I don't know if he would have had similar sales and instead of my husband and I having this nine hundred dollars my husband would have had to split the nine hundred dollars with this other guy. Or maybe the other guy would have had sales of four to six thousand dollars, and he would have split profits of three or four thousand with my husband. I don't know. I think that there's no way to tell, other than just I don't think he could have made less sales than I did.

Anyway, I had forgotten how much I really hate doing this job. I mean, I tell people how much I used to hate doing this job, but it has been seven years since I've really felt how much I hate doing this job. And there's no way to tell if we would even do this well on a regular basis. It might get better, but it might get worse. We might lose eleven dollars a person.

I'm trying to figure out how to make things better. Another laptop would make things better, but since we didn't make enough to pay for the first one, I don't think that we should buy another one anytime soon.

I don't think that he should try this on Saturday again, unless maybe he knows that he's going to have a certain Saturday off, well in advance, like maybe around Christmas time. But, the problem with trying to sell stuff around Christmas time is that people actually want to buy stuff for Christmas, not buy stuff that won't arrive until maybe three weeks after Christmas.

We have found out that while we like all of the rental equipment, we can replace some of it with stuff my husband already has. It isn't quite as good, but it should work. That would cut the rental equipment down from two hundred dollars per weekend to a hundred and fifty dollars per weekend. That helps some, but not that much.

And I'm trying to think of a way that the money we would lose if a customer didn't buy anything would be closer to the four dollars I was originally told instead of the eleven dollars it ended up being.

Also, we need to make arrangements so that people can buy stuff later if they change their minds. We need to have a way that people can buy stuff and pay the website instead of just in person. It can be done, we just hadn't thought that we would need it so soon.

We hadn't thought about a lot of things. But mostly I am tired and don't really want to do this again.

I had hoped that we would get to see if my husband could make money doing this by himself without the extra person doing the sales. But we didn't get to find that out Saturday because the new equipment didn't work with the old computer. I hate to have another test of it. It would cost another hundred and fifty dollars to rent the equipment again, he could only see maybe fifteen customers, and unless he can find someone who wants to do this on a Sunday afternoon (which would mean even fewer customers), he would have to take off another Saturday, which would probably mean he would make little or no money at his "real job" for a whole week.

I'm still not sure if this was a success or a failure. I just know it isn't even close to what I'd hoped for.

My Life is Over

I just don't see how I can go on after what I learned yesterday. Life just isn't worth living anymore.

My Only 99 Cents Store is closing.

Damn and f^&* and a bunch of other swear words.

I can't remember my life before the 99 cents store. I just don't see how I will be able live without it.

Don't panic, the whole chain isn't closing, just the only one I can shop at on a regular basis.

Okay, this may take me a while to get over, but I promise that I will post something else soon.

Monday, August 24, 2009

601th post: Go check out this other blog

Okay, you apparently missed the big 600th post. So go back and read that. Then go and check out David's blog at David would like two thousand readers.

So all four of you (five if you count David), please go over and look at David's blog. It won't take you that long. In fact, it will probably take less time to read his entire blog than it does to read one of my usual posts.

Great. Now David is well on his way to getting two thousand readers.

Okay, now back to business as usual.

600th post: a few recipes and thoughts on not having as much money for food as I might like

This will not be the big splash of the 100th post about dinner with William Shatner, or the 300th post about homewrecking sluts, or even the 500th post about whether or not killing one's enemy with a Bat'leth is a good idea. Compared to other posts with the double zero numbers, this will be no big deal at all. After giving it a little bit of thought, I've decided to write about eating food when you don't have much money. We will see what comes of it.

I've been thinking about this a bit anyway, with what has been going on recently. And now I'm thinking of it some more, after finding someone else doing the dollar a day blog thing. And then last week we watched a movie about some old ladies who lived with a zillion cats and a lot of garbage.

You know, when Arlo Guthrie writes a song about people who never take out the garbage, it is funny. When real life people do it, not so much.

Anyway, a while back I found this blog of people who were trying to only spend a dollar a day on food. And I thought that I would try that. I didn't get through a month like they did. To do the dollar a day thing as an experiment, you have to plan ahead. You can't have any social commitments during the experiment that would cause you to spend more than a dollar. So I couldn't do a whole month, because of the social commitments I had already made, and then some other things came up that I didn't want to miss because of silly experiment. For me, it was just an experiment, and I did not have a charity or a goal or anything to go with the experiment. When the experiment started interfering with my social life too much, that was the end of the experiment.

When you are doing the dollar a day thing out of necessity and not as an experiment, you don't have to plan ahead the same way. You just can't make any social commitments that require spending money, so you really don't have to plan around them, because you won't be going to them anyway (unless maybe a friend just can't bear to go without you and pays for you to go). There are no dinner and a movie nights with friends, there no holiday parties which require you to bring special food, and there are no stops at Starbucks, etc.... You became that person that everyone used to like, but no one has really seen for a while.

I haven't been doing the dollar a day thing recently. I'm not doing that because I'm so low on cash that I'm just eating whatever happens to already be in the house, regardless of how much I paid for it whenever I thought it was a good idea to buy it. Not that I've stopped stopped buying groceries entirely, I still have to buy milk and eggs and bread and maybe potatoes and noodles, but the rest of it I am trying to make from the odd things that I bought and maybe put in the pantry and forgot about.

I'm about to try a few odd things. Like I'm eating Pasta Roni and similar things that I should have thrown away last year but didn't get around to. Some of it still tastes good. Some of it doesn't. Then I have the odd thing like Chicken Helper, but I don't have any chicken to go with it. Would it be just awful with sausage instead, or maybe Spam?

Could I have Spam, Spam, Spam, Chicken Helper, and Spam?

Or it might be more like rice, rice, rice, Spam, and rice.

In one of my garden beds I have turnip greens. I hate turnip greens. But I needed something that would grow fast, so that I had what looked like a garden bed instead of a mound of dirt. (The neighbors would complain if it was just a mound of dirt.) So I planted a lot of stuff, and I ate some of it, and most of the rest of it has since died, except for the turnips. My husband likes turnip greens, so we had some last week. I thought maybe they wouldn't be as bad as I remembered.

Nope. I still don't like turnip greens. But my husband likes them, so there is free food for him in the backyard.

As for the rest of the garden, I didn't get as much out of that as I hoped. I got plenty of asparagus earlier, but asparagus is only once a year, and for this year it is long past. I got several tomatoes before the plants fell over (which was entirely my fault for not having them properly staked in time), and I currently have yellow squash number seven and eight waiting for me in the fridge. It seems to me that eight squash are not that much from two healthy plants, but the bees don't seem to like me this year. The eggplant remains fruitless, and the pumpkin plants died. I got some peppers earlier, but they aren't doing as well as I would have liked. Maybe they will do better after it cools down in the fall.

The rest of the garden is either an herb or an ornamental plant, or something like a sweet potato vine that is decorative now and might actually produce something to eat later in the year. So I have this big garden, but I'm not getting much to eat from it now.

It occurs to me now that maybe I should have applied for food stamps two months ago. I suppose that I still could, but I keep thinking that things are about to get better, and that there wouldn't be any point in trying to get the food stamps. There's probably a form to fill out, and then they get back to you, and by that time you are working again and told that you don't get anything, sort of like the unemployment thing.

I'm still really ticked about the unemployment thing.

Back to the subject of food. I think that I will post a few cheap food recipes.

Okay, the first one is not really a recipe, just sort of a reminder. Eat popcorn. Get an air popper (or maybe get one of those things that lets you use regular popcorn in the microwave) and make popcorn. Then spray it with some butter flavored non-stick cooking spray (such as Pam) and then sprinkle salt. Well, I am not supposed to have salt, I'm supposed to have chili powder or Parmesan cheese or something, but I usually have the salt anyway. Or, if you would rather have something sweet and aren't worried about sugar or calories, you might try sprinkling a bit of cinnamon sugar. Anyway, regular popcorn is cheap, and if you don't load it with butter and salt and such, it is even good for you.

The second recipe is for my attempt at making the black bean soup from Campo Verde restaurant in Arlington. First, you sort and rinse one pound of dry black beans, and then put them in a large bowl and soak them in water overnight. Next, you pour off the water and put the beans in a crockpot (mine is about six quarts and has the automatic switch to warm feature). Now you cover the beans with water, so that there is about an inch or two of water over the beans. Set the cook time to high for four hours. Then you slice and quarter about half a pound of smoked sausage (and I now use the $1.09 Value smoked sausage from Kroger's) and add that to the beans. About halfway through the cooking time, add a diced onion and between four and eight sliced jalapeno peppers. (Note: if you add the peppers and onions earlier in the process, they tend to lose their zing, and if you add them much later in the process it might be hotter than you like.) And about five minutes before the soup is done, add half a bunch (or even a whole bunch) of chopped cilantro. This should make about about twelve cups and cost about $0.25 per cup (depending on what kind of sausage you use, where you buy your onions and peppers and cilantro, and whether or not the ingredients were on sale).

The third recipe is a similar soup. Replace the black beans with pinto beans, but cover with at least two cups LESS water. Add the sliced and quartered sausage (or, for even less money, add less sausage and a couple tablespoons of bacon grease). At the midway point when you add the chopped onions and sliced peppers, also add two 8 ounce cans of tomato sauce, and about a tablespoon each of powdered cumin and chili powder. Skip the cilantro.

The fourth recipe is macaroni and cheese (just the kind made from a box of pasta and powdered cheese mix, either the store brand or whatever is on sale) mixed with a drained 6 ounce can of tuna, and about a cup of diced tomatoes and jalapenos (or leftover salsa). This is even cheaper if you can get the tomatoes and jalapenos out of your garden, but you might need to cook them a little bit before adding them to the macaroni. Leftover chicken can be substituted for the tuna.

The fifth recipe is for almost a gallon of yogurt. You put almost a gallon of milk (not skim milk, but I have used 2% and 1%) in the crockpot and set it for high for four hours. If your crockpot has the automatic switch to warm feature, you don't have to do anything else for about twelve hours. Then you check to see that the temperature has gone down to about 110 to 120 degrees. Don't let it cool much more than that, but higher temperatures would kill the yogurt culture. Then stir in a small container (like 6 or 8 ounces) of plain yogurt (or sometimes vanilla will work if you can't find the kind you want in plain). Make sure that whatever yogurt you use has live cultures. The first time you will have to buy some from a store, and after that you just put a cup of yogurt aside for the next time. Then you leave the milk and yogurt mixture in the crockpot, set on warm, and come back and check it in another twelve hours or so. It should all be yogurt then. All the books tell you to sterilize everything with boiling water before you make yogurt, but I have only just done regular dish washing, and so far I haven't had any problems.

The sixth recipe isn't really a recipe either, just a reminder to think about making your own sprouts. Making your own is so much cheaper, and it only takes about a week, or maybe less, depending on what you are trying to sprout. Mostly, you are going to go to Whole Foods and health food stores for your sprouting seeds, but not always. Mung beans, for example, are usually a better price at the Asian market (if you have one). You measure the seeds out with spoons, and a week later you have several cups of fresh and cheap vegetables to put in your stir fries and salads and sandwiches.

Okay, so that's the end of my 600th post. Tomorrow I will go back to pulling out my hair and complaining about stuff in general.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

It will take a while to recover from this

My next blog post will be number six hundred. I usually try to write something special on the double zero numbers, but I don't think that will happen this time. Nothing wonderful has come to mind, and I don't think I want to write about anything bad either. So I think that I will just skip this time and the next blog will just be a regular blog day like any other.

Yesterday was kind of a mess. We did make some money over the weekend, but we can't spend any of it yet. I had all these worries going into the thing. One worry was that people wouldn't buy anything. Another worry was that they would buy stuff, but not much, pay with cash, and need lots and lots of change. I had this worry that all of the costumers would end up needing four pennies, a nickel, a dime, three quarters, four ones, a five, and a ten back in change, and if they paid with hundred dollar bills they might also need back a few twenties.

Well, that didn't happen. Only two people paid with cash. And after going back to the office supply place to get the special pens that check for counterfeit money, I forgot to use them. In fact, I think that I forgot and left them in the house. So, anyway, we made some money, but we didn't have much of it in cash. Only about a hundred and fifty dollars in cash, and the rental bill was due before eleven. Most of the people paid with a credit card, which means that it will take a few days before we have any money in the account. We have only a few dollars here and there of our own money left. So we took the one check that we were paid with and went to the bank to cash it.

Only they wouldn't let us cash it. Business checks are for deposit only.

So we deposited it, only to find that we had a minus sixty on the account. If you don't use the account five times or so (which we didn't this month cause we didn't have any money) you get a fee, and since the account was mostly empty we then were overdrawn and got another fee for that. (I haven't even looked at the other account, so I don't know if there is the same situation there or if it is just empty.)

So that meant that we only got thirty dollars out of the ATM from our hundred dollar check. So we went home and got our quarters and other coin change, and then we went to return the rental equipment. The bill was just a bit under two hundred, and we had just about that in dollars, so we didn't have to break into the change.

We spent the last few dollars on a gallon of milk and a Little Caesars pizza. Anything else I want to buy for a few days will involve counting out quarters and such.

So we did not go to see District 9 yet.

The credit card people called and wanted a post dated check, but I refused, because that is what got us into trouble last time. The car people can have a post dated check, but the credit card people will have to wait till I can actually see the money in the account.

So we are just sort of waiting for the money to show up in the account. And even then we can't spend much money. We only had a "profit" of four seventy-five or so, which is now down to about four hundred because of the bank fees. The car payment will be due on Friday, as will next weekend's equipment rental, so if he doesn't get paid anything from his regular job, we will be short and have to delay some of the business stuff. I think that we should delay business stuff til Monday anyway, just to be on the safe side.

Anyway, that sucks. My husband is out of money, and his car is out of gas. He called and said that he couldn't work this week, or at least, that he couldn't work out of town. They called back and asked him to just work Thursday and Friday in Fort Worth instead of Oklahoma. If the money is in the account tomorrow, that will be fine. If it isn't, I guess we will be buying some gas with quarters.

Saturday or Sunday, assuming we make some more money, we are going to Olive Garden. We are going to have a never ending pasta bowl, and we are just going to sit there and eat for about two hours.

Friday night I wasted my time putting my hair up in curlers so that I would look nice Saturday morning. Only Saturday morning it was already so hot that my hair started going limp even before we left the house. I never bother trying to curl my hair anymore, but since I haven't even had my bangs trimmed in a while I thought that I should make the effort, or else I would just have long bangs covering my face. It didn't work out. After working a couple of hours, I gave up and put my hair in a ponytail. So as soon as we get some money, we both need haircuts. Like before Saturday, we need haircuts.

I am still a bit ill from the stress of the whole thing. But it was good to get the business stuff done for a while and do normal stuff like gardening. I picked a squash and almost got done with the wildflower bed, and I even went for a walk to collect some seeds. I tried transplanting some stuff Wednesday or Thursday, but I think that most of those plants will die of shock. It just isn't the right time to transplant stuff, but I hoped that if I gave the plants enough water that it would work out. I guess it didn't.

The above was written on Wednesday. The husband needed the computer for something, and I meant to come back later and finish what I was going to write here in this post. Only when I came back to the computer, I couldn't remember what it was that I was going to write.

It is now Thursday morning. We should have that money from the credit cards today. And we will be able to see how much he made from his "real job", though that probably won't be much, and we won't actually have it until Friday. And maybe, we won't even have it Friday, because in spite of calling the bank and turning off the overdraft protection thing and telling them to put everything on hold, another check he forgot about went through, and now there is a balance of minus a hundred and fifty. So I don't know if there will be enough to cover that and the one post-dated check that we do write, which is for the car payment. There are about four things that we just cannot do without, the first being the rent, the second being the car insurance, and the third and forth being car payments. So we sometimes write post-dated checks for those four things, because those four things are the most important, and even the smallest paycheck should cover one of those. But this will be a really small paycheck, so I'm not certain that it will cover the car payment and the hundred and fifty dollar overdraft.

This all makes me worry about the rent. Since it is the first thing that we pay, I very rarely worry about the rent. I worry about everything else, but not that. But now I am thinking that even though it is not the end of the month, since he gets paid every other week, we won't be getting another paycheck before it is the first of the month. So the car and the rent will be taken out of the money that we make on the business this weekend. Which makes me worry just a little bit, because now I don't have this cushion of not having to worry if twenty-five people don't buy anything. Next week, all of the orders will have to be processed. Will there be enough money left to do that and pay the rent and the car payments?

As for the business this weekend, the list of things we will need is now haircuts for both of us, a cable for the new printer, a card reader for the old computer, and a keyboard for the new computer. Only the lady who organized this whole thing hasn't called us back, so we aren't even sure how many customers we will have this weekend, so I'm not sure if we should buy all this stuff. Maybe a bunch of people canceled? Or maybe a bunch more people want in, and she overbooked? We don't know, cause she didn't call back. I had started to calm down about the whole thing, but now, I don't know why she didn't call back.

So while we have spent all this time just sitting around at home waiting for there to be actual money in bank, today and tomorrow should be a bit busy getting haircuts and buying this and that and picking up rental equipment.

My husband's schedule at his "real job" has changed again. They have known for two weeks that he didn't have enough money to go out of town this week. So they were going to change it so that he only worked Thursday and Friday in Fort Worth. Then they called back and said that wouldn't work out, could he go to Oklahoma for just one day? Without me standing over him reminding him of all the reasons he said that he couldn't go in the first place, my husband said something like, I guess so. I got him to call back and say that wasn't a good idea. They finally called back and said they found someone else to work Friday.

I just could not handle him going out of town Friday. We have to work early on Saturday, and we have to pick up the equipment on Friday. When was he supposed to drive back and forth from out of town? And what if something happened out of town? What if he got a flat tire or something? I just couldn't deal with it, and it was going to be a major amount of work for which they would probably end up paying him only fifty dollars or so. Not worth it.

So, as you can see, despite feeling better about the whole thing for a few days, I am now back to pulling my hair out.

Monday, August 17, 2009

The first day of the new business

And possibly next week will be the last day, but we will see.

People sit around and talk about starting their own businesses. Wouldn't it be nice that the three of us would get all the profits for the work that we do instead of sending the money to the company? Wouldn't it be nice that on a day that the three of us take in three thousand dollars for the company that we actually split the three thousand dollars between us, or at least, split whatever is left after expenses are taken out? We should just start our own business.

People sit around all day and talk about this stuff, maybe in some lines of work more than others. But the people my husband works with do this a lot. And once in a while, some of them actually do it.

And then they have to do not only the job that they normally do, but also some other parts of the business that they don't normally do. And they find out that they don't like doing that part of the business, or that it takes more time than they thought, or they just aren't very good at it, or whatever. And, when you have your own business, nobody has to pay you some minimum amount when business isn't so good, and there is no one signing expense checks, so if there is a business expense it just comes out of your pocket.

And there is always the possibility that the expenses for an account will be more than an account is worth, and you might actually lose some money. This doesn't happen very often, or there wouldn't be a business in the first place, but it does happen once in a while. In a big company, that doesn't matter too much, the occasional losses are made up for in other accounts. But when you have your own business, a loss means that instead of getting paid for your work, you have debts for your efforts.

So of all these people who sit around talking about wanting their own businesses, most probably never start one, and many of those who do probably have to go back to their old jobs or maybe just have the business on the side of their "real job".

So Saturday was the first day of the new business, and for the first day at least we did not lose money. I suppose that there is still the possibility that we could lose enough next weekend as to eat the profits of this weekend, but I feel a little more confident that will not be the case.

And of course, I suppose that it isn't really profit yet, just that the specific expenses for the day did not go over the money that we took in. To actually be profit, the money will took in would have to be more than the expenses for the day, plus the other money we had already invested, such as the money for the laptop, and the money for the computer program. I had forgotten about the money for the computer program, being five hundred instead of three hundred like I thought, and it no longer being in the free trial phase. So we are a long way off from having an actual profit.

But while it wasn't great, it wasn't as bad as I feared that it might be. I went in thinking that in addition to the two hundred dollars for rental equipment, we would be out four dollars for every person who didn't buy anything. And I was thinking that we would have about fifty customers for the two weekends, and that if no one bought anything we would be in debt two hundred dollars in addition to the two hundred dollars for the rental equipment each weekend. So I went in being a little afraid that we would we would end up with an additional six hundred dollars debt. I had it in my head that we wouldn't make any profit until after we had taken in a bit more than six hundred dollars, but after that everything would be okay.

I wasn't given the correct information. While I had in my head that we would lose about four dollars per customer if they didn't buy anything, my husband knew it would be closer to ten dollars. I would never have agreed to do any of this if I knew we were risking ten dollars per customer in addition to our other expenses. So while I was thinking that the break even point for this account (not including the computer and all of that already invested) was a bit over six hundred dollars, the actual amount is more like a thousand dollars.

When I had this job seven years ago, my sales average was right around fifty dollars. The other people my husband works with make about twice that. I'm just not good at sales. And it isn't really something that I want to be good at. I don't like this job. Taking orders is fine, but trying to give people the idea that they have to buy stuff just isn't me. And of course I would rather not even be taking orders on a Saturday when I could be out with my friends instead of working all day without even a lunch break.

And I was totally panicked when I heard that I would have thirty-five customers on Saturday. I just can't handle that many. Twenty or twenty-five is a better number for me, when I am used to doing the job. When I am this out of practice, even that is too many.

As it turned out, a lot of the people called and asked to move their appointments to next Saturday, so we only had sixteen customers. It takes about half a hour per customer for me, so it ended up that at the end of the day we had to work about an hour and a half longer than we were scheduled. There were only four or five people who just didn't want to buy anything, so I got a little more than my usual fifty dollar average, but nowhere near a hundred dollar average either.

According to the spreadsheet, we made almost five hundred dollars, so once we pay the rental fees for next Saturday that will leave almost three hundred. Except that after looking at the spreadsheet I see that he has forgotten an expense of a dollar per customer, so that amount will be closer to two hundred and seventy-five.

So I think that if we don't have more than twenty-five people who don't want to buy anything, we at least won't have additional debt. The problem is still that I can't work with that many people in one day. I think that I could probably do a little better next Saturday, now that I am not totally scared out of my mind about doing the job after a seven year break. But I cannot possibly get it down to twelve minutes per customer if there is any chance of the customers actually buying anything. Getting down to the twelve minute average involves just deciding ahead of time that certain people are not going to buy anything anyway and that they should be rushed out of the room as soon as possible. I just don't see that being an option here.

And it is especially difficult to figure out that some of the people don't want to buy anything and would be happier if they were rushed out of the sales room, if they are talking among themselves in Spanish and you don't know if they are discussing spending a lot of money or if they are just wanting to leave anyway.

So I think that I might get it down to twenty minutes per customer, but not twelve. If we could split it up so that twenty people came on Saturday and fifteen or so came on Sunday, that might work out. But I didn't have time to suggest that, and my husband doesn't want to upset anyone, so he didn't suggest it either.

He will just have to call someone and suggest it today. Having all of those people show up on the same day is just not going to work.

Anyway, I am just glad it is Monday and the weekend is over. Most people don't say that, do they?

So I will now go and do some of the gardening that I wasn't able to do last week. And we might go to see District 9 or The Time Traveler's Wife. And we might go get a pizza or something. But we still can't spend a lot of money, cause we still owe for two car payments and all of that, and by the time this is over all of our regular bills will be due again. And my husband probably isn't working again this week at his regular job. They had him scheduled for only two days this week, and they are out of town, and while we did take in some money Saturday, most of it was credit cards, which means we do not actually have money in our hands yet. So we have no money to go out of town, and they probably won't have anything else for him, especially since he can't work on Saturday or Sunday, and really shouldn't go anywhere on Friday either.

Anyway, it is still a bit of a mess.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Another fine mess you've gotten me into

Okay, the business thing starts tomorrow, and I could just throw up or something. I haven't done this in seven years. I don't really remember what it is that I'm supposed to do.

We have the laptop back, but I didn't really have time to do anything with it before my husband had to go to work.

It has been a busy morning. First, he had to talk to someone about the business. Then, we had to meet the guy to get back our computer and such. We had something to eat, and then we had to go to get the rental equipment. Then we stopped at a store on the way home to get something for my hair. (I haven't done anything special with my hair in so long, I couldn't find anything. Maybe the last time I did my hair was last Halloween, and I threw stuff away after that.) Then we came home and listened to our phone messages and he decided to go back to the rental place to trade something. It seems obvious now, but we got a few things wrong.

My brother called and wanted me to call him back at work. He wanted us to meet with him after work (and my husband usually works too late to do that). Can it wait til Sunday? I really can't think about anything but this business stuff until Saturday is over.

Well, he wanted to talk about the business.

I don't want to talk about the business. I don't really want to talk to anyone about anything for the rest of the day, but I especially don't want to talk about the business. I really can't explain the whole business thing to someone in one day anyway, and I especially don't want to try it the day before I have to get up early and work.

My mom sounded friendly this morning and wanted to know if she could do anything. At first I had said no. Then I thought if she went and got about six hundred in change from the bank so I would have someone to call if I needed any, that would help. And she probably wouldn't even have to bring me any of it, just know that someone can bring me change if I need it helps. No one wants to sell you any change on a Saturday afternoon. Just go buy some change, and if we need it we'll call, and if we don't call just take it back to the bank on Monday. Or maybe we'll buy some of it for next weekend.

Other than that, I can't think of anything that would be helpful. Everybody leaving me alone til Sunday would be helpful.

I keep remembering things that I forgot, and then we have to go and get it. Yesterday I remembered that we didn't have any of those pens that check for counterfeit money. So we were off to the office supply place. This morning I needed hair stuff. I forgot about needing lunch stuff tomorrow.

My husband couldn't find a file that he needed to print some forms from.

Okay. Can't you just copy some?

Yes, but I can't find it. Everything takes too long when you are in a hurry. I can't find it.

But if it is like the one in your hand, can't you just copy it? The printer makes copies.


So he told me to make copies and enlarge them if I could figure it out. Okay. That takes some guess work, but I think I've got the right size on the third try. He said he needed five copies. That can't be right, unless he already has five copies somewhere else. Better make ten copies.

Stuff like that went on all yesterday and this morning. You forget that you need something, and you go to the store, or you forget that you have something or don't know where to find it.

I should be practicing, but he didn't have time to show me much of anything new. So I'm probably not going to practice much. I'm going to put my hair up so that I don't have to do it later. Then I'm going to eat and watch the X-files. Then I'm going to eat some more and watch more X-files.

I hate to even answer the phone. If something is wrong, I can't fix it. And I don't want to explain more about the business to my mom and brother. Whatever they have to say cannot possibly help today. I will just get upset from talking to them. We have the rental equipment, and we have lunch stuff, and we now have copies of forms and I now even have hair stuff. There just can't be anything else. There can't be. I'm done.

And I don't want any more pep talks about I'll do fine if I'll just smile at people.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

I'm going to have a nervous breakdown

Sunday when we were at the movie theater, I excused myself and went to the ladies room. While I was washing my hands I looked in the mirror.

Hell, is that what I look like? My hair was completely flat, and this looks even worse as it has been a while since my last haircut, and I haven't even had the money to get my bangs trimmed. (I suppose that I could ask my mother to do it, but we really don't want to go there.)

So a few hours later, I am lying around in bed, mostly watching the X-files. And I get up to get some water from the bathroom sink, and I look at myself in the mirror.

Now I look just gorgeous. My hair looks a bit wavy or something. Why do I look so good now when I looked so awful a few hours ago? Why can't I look good when someone will see me?

But enough of looking gorgeous. It is hot, and I have work to do. Better put my hair in a ponytail. I go outside and get the area of my future wildflower bed ready to dig. I don't get started with the actual digging, just sort of mark off the area and move everything out of the way so I can get an early start on it Monday morning. Then we watch Friday's episode of Eureka with my brother.

So that was Sunday. Things are tense, but we feel a little bit better after we watch a movie and I make plans for the rest of the week to work on the wildflower bed.

Monday morning I actually get up and start digging the wildflower bed. It is hard work, and I give up on it before noon. Working after that is out of the question. It is way too hot. But I get about half of the hole dug. Major progress on the project.

The thing that sucks about doing a lot of serious physical labor in the morning (okay, one of the things) is that you just sort of wait around the whole rest of the day for it to be time to go to bed. I'm too tired to really do anything, but if I actually give in and take a long nap that means I probably won't get any sleep at night.

We watch True Blood and Hung. The opening titles of Hung have the main character doing a Reginald Perrin into a lake, which is kind of funny seeing that the new Reginald Perrin does not do a Reginald Perrin into the ocean.

And what the hell kind of name is Sookie anyway?

So after we watch that stuff, it is back to the X-Files, and waiting for the day to be over so that I can go to bed.

The guy that my husband works with who is involved with the new business thing calls. The two of them are talking a lot, cause the business thing is supposed to get started for real on Saturday. Anyway, the guy says some odd things.

Like he wants the credit card payments to be made out to the business, but he wants the checks written to him personally. He says that it is time that they started running the business like it was a real business.

So that doesn't make any sense. Why should the checks be written out to him, and how would that make things more like a real business? Writing checks to him is the exact opposite of running things like a real business. And the reason that we got the business account in the first place was so that the checks could be written to the business instead of just written to my husband, cause we thought that would look bad.

But even then, the checks could be written to my husband, since his name is on the business. The other guy's name isn't on the business or on the business account. There's no way the checks are going to be written out to him, and he's just not making any sense.

Okay, so that was Monday.

Tuesday morning I got up and dug more of the hole. I got most of that done. I had a bath.

The guy who works with my husband called again. He wants to have his name on the business and on the business account and all of that. And if my husband doesn't agree then he won't work on Saturday.

This is nuts.

These guys are always talking about going into business for themselves and how it isn't fair that when the company has sales of three thousand dollars or so, three of them get about three hundred dollars each while the company gets the rest of the money. Not that the rest of the money is pure profit, there are expenses to take out and a lot of other people at the company still need to get paid, but sometimes it just doesn't seem like a fair split. If only they could start their own companies, they could make more money.

So for three years this guy has said that if my husband ever starts his own company, he would like to work with my husband. And for the last eight months, they have seriously talked about starting a business together, only the guy usually says that he doesn't want to start a business himself, he just wants to work with my husband if my husband starts one.

So that is what was done. My husband started a business, as sole proprietor, and this other guy was going to work with him. My husband bought the computer, bought office supplies, created a website, paid for an advertisement, etc.... The business and the business account only has my husband's name on it (though I believe I have access to the account in an emergency). So all the money put into the business has been my husband's money, and most of the work done has been done by my husband.

Until recently, when we just totally ran out of money.

There were a few more things needed (or at least wanted) to get the business started. Like they needed some samples (or some more samples, I'm not sure which). And I don't know whose idea it was to buy the samples, just that we didn't have any money left, so either this guy would have to buy them himself or we would just have to do without them. So the other guy bought the samples.

And the business is going to start Saturday, and we need to do a few more things, like we need to rent some equipment. Only, we have no money, so it was either call to cancel their first account, or this guy would have to rent the equipment with his credit card. The guy agreed to use his card. He was supposed to meet us on Friday so that we could pick up the rental equipment.

Hopefully on Saturday they would make a lot of money, and then make a bit more the next Saturday. Then they would take out the money for the rental equipment and some other expenses (not even the expenses we're already out, just money we will actually spend for the two days that they work together), they would split the remaining money. The expense money would be at least six hundred dollars (more if business was good), and they were hoping to take in two or three thousand dollars Saturday, and a bit more the next Saturday.

As exciting as that sounds, that wouldn't even get us caught up on the bills, but it might at least get us caught up on the car and such.

Anyway, they were either going to lose some money if business was really bad on Saturday, or if it was good, they would split a thousand dollars or more. Since this guy usually sells something around two thousand a day (and on a regular basis he brings in three thousand or more), they were hoping for something in the four to six thousand dollar range for working the two Saturdays, taking out a thousand or so for expenses, and then splitting the remaining money. I'm not sure that they had discussed whether or not they would equally split the six hundred that they would lose if they made no money at all, or if my husband would be totally responsible for that. Maybe the guy was worried that he would get stuck with the total rental bill of four hundred dollars. I don't know.

But anyway, out of nowhere he wants to be a legal partner and he wants his name on everything, and if we don't do it he won't work on Saturday.

Well, I don't even think that anything can be done with less than a week to go anyway. And if we wanted to do that, he isn't here to sign anything. I suppose that we could make some arrangement to give him access to the business account, but I don't trust him after this stunt. So I said, don't do it. Either cancel the whole thing or maybe I'll try to do his job Saturday, but don't put his name on anything. Something is up. This just doesn't make any sense.

I asked how many customers were expected. My husband said about thirty-five. Thirty-five each Saturday? He said no. So, I thought, if not thirty-five each, thirty-five total. Which probably means twenty customers or so on Saturday. I convinced myself I could do that, even though I haven't done this in about seven years and don't really want to do it ever again. But, it would be better than putting this guy's name on the business account and making him a full partner, when he didn't want to be a full partner until two days ago.

At this point, we started to worry about him working with us at all, even if he apologized and said that he did want to work Saturday. I mean, he would be there with the customers, and he could just say, make the checks out to me, and then he could just go cash the checks and leave us to pay the bills without any money. So if he did want to work on Saturday, I would have to babysit him and deal with all the money myself, cause we just don't trust the man anymore.

Oh, and this is the guy who is out of town with our computer.

But at this point he says that he will meet with us Friday morning to give everything back.

I am wondering if there will be a fight over these samples. I will have to have some to work with, but we still don't have any money and can't pay for them Friday. If he says he's going to keep them until we pay, we can't pay now, and the samples will be of no use to us later, so we shouldn't pay for them later if we can't have them on Friday.

I'm picturing us in front of Judge Judy.

Anyway, I agreed to work Saturday, thinking that I would have twenty customers or so. But again, my husband wasn't clear about that. There are thirty-five customers on Saturday, but he doesn't know how many there will be on the next Saturday because names are still being added to the list.


Okay, when this used to be my full-time job seven years ago, and I used to know what I was doing, I could handle about twenty to twenty-five people, and on a good day I could take in about a thousand dollars. A thousand dollars would not be so great on Saturday, cause that would only leave us about four hundred dollars profit (plus whatever we could make on the second Saturday), but compared to what we expected the other guy to bring in, that's just not very good. But I used to do that level of business, and I used to be happy with it.

On my very busiest day, when I was used to doing this, I had thirty-nine customers and brought in more than two thousand dollars. But it was very hard to do that, and I didn't have time to eat lunch or anything. That sort of thing makes a person panic, even when that just means that they'll make twice as much money.

I don't think that I can handle thirty-five people in one day, after not having done this stuff for seven years.

And I don't look good.

And what am I going to wear?

I could just be sick.

But, I agreed to do it, and my husband told the other guy that we didn't need him.

That left us short one credit card.

Well, we do have one credit card that we've kept up with, but right now it is totally maxed out, so we can't buy anything with it. So I doubt we can use it at the rental place either.

So we're back to borrowing from my mom or his brother again, after we haven't paid back either of them from last time.

So my husband goes to work, and he's like, you'll talk to your mom about the money, right?

So, I call my mom. I don't really feel up to talking to her at all, and here I am calling to ask for money.

It doesn't go well. At first she sounds pleasant enough and is interested in the whole story, even though I am up front with her that the point of it all is that we need to borrow money and if she doesn't want to we can skip the whole rest of the story. Just say no, and I can go back to gardening or something, and he can try to borrow the money from his brother.

But my mother gets on to other subjects, like why don't I like being a salesperson? Like she wants to talk me into being a salesperson. It doesn't make any sense. It just makes me feel like I'm a bad person. Just let it go. It doesn't have anything to do with anything. I don't want to go back to this full time, but I'm so desperate to not have this guy involved with us anymore that I've agree to do something I really hate for two days. That's all that she needed to know. We did not need to have an argument about it.

So, she can't decide without talking to my brother first. And then my brother can't decide without knowing just everything about the business. I can't really see how that helps. Just say yes, you're in trouble and I'll help you out, or no, I can't loan you any money cause you haven't paid me back for last time. The details of the business don't really matter that much.

My husband comes home and he talks to my brother. They seem to have a much more pleasant conversation than my mother and I did, even though my brother seems to start out saying this is a very bad idea and we should just cancel.

They finish talking, and we try to go to bed and get some sleep. Only neither one of us feels good. I keep waking up. I almost get to sleep, and then I feel sick and have to get up again.

As long as I am awake anyway, I should go outside and look for meteors.

Dallas is on one side of us, and Fort Worth is down the way on the other side. And at the time I go outside, the almost full moon is directly overhead.

No meteors for me. I go back inside and try to sleep.

So that was Tuesday.

Wednesday I don't get up early as I have been. After feeling sick and waking up several times during the night, I finally get back to sleep and don't wake up until about eight. I'm trying to drink more water, but this time I go straight for the cola. I get very little gardening done, but that is all that it takes to make me hot and tired. I have more soda and a bath and then watch an episode of the X-files.

My husband calls the place with the rental equipment and finds out that while you need a credit card number to leave with them when you take the equipment, you don't actually have to pay with the credit card. That's just supposed to insure that you bring the equipment back in good shape. (I'm not sure how that is, since even if the card had any credit on it, that wouldn't be enough to replace the equipment, but whatever.) And then you don't actually pay for the rental fees until you return the equipment, cause you might bring it back late and have to pay for an extra day or something.

So it doesn't appear that we have to borrow a credit card or money or anything, as long as we make some money we can just pay the rental fees on Monday. The long conversations with my mother and brother were unnecessary.

At about eleven I feel up to having a look at the computer program I am supposed to use on Saturday.

It has been too long. My husband tries to show me a few things, but he goes too fast for me to follow the simplest things. What have I gotten myself into?

It goes a little better once I am sitting at the computer instead of looking over his shoulder. I can work some of it. We go to lunch at Arby's, and then come home and see if I remember how to do anything.

Okay, I think that the part we practiced isn't that difficult, but I'm just going to be slow no matter what. I have to stop and think about things that I used to have memorized. It isn't fun.

And then there are parts that I just can't practice with on this computer. I need the laptop, but the other guy has it.

And I haven't had customers in seven years. I can't practice that part either. I don't know what to say to people.

I might not know what to say to these people anyway. Several of them don't speak English. There will be translators hanging around, but that will slow things down even more. But I used to have this whole speech I was supposed to say, and I thought that it was rather long, so I cut it down to what I thought was important and then slipped in this little bit about the sales making the program possible (and then I tried to just be nice about it after that and not bully people into buying stuff). I don't have a speech this time, and I don't know how to politely suggest that they need to buy something or we won't be back to do this sort of thing again. Just the most basic information that used to roll off of my tongue will now be very awkward.

My husband went to work. I have been alternating playing with the computer program in between watching X-Files and looking at other stuff on the Internet. I get the basic idea of the thing now, but there's just some stuff that I don't know how to do and I'm not going to get to be any good at by Saturday. So, I don't know what to do at the beginning of the day to get started. And then once I get started, I don't know what to say to the customers. And I don't know how to finish up with a customer, and if he's paying with a credit card I don't know how to do that, cause we have to do something with the phone cause we don't have a card swipe thing on the computer. And then when I finish with the customer, I don't know what to do to move on to the next customer. And then if I don't fall apart and run home, I don't know what to do at the end of the day to wrap everything up.

And I'm hoping that part doesn't take too long. I was supposed to see my friends Saturday afternoon, which now I'm not, but maybe some of them will wait around for me if I can meet them by six or so.

Anyway, I don't know what else to do. I try to figure out how to do something, and then I go watch some TV, and then I come back and see if I can remember what I was doing. And I know that I'm not doing much, and I should be doing more work and less watching TV, but I'm not sure what else to do without the laptop and/or a practice customer.

F^&*ing thirty-five customers in seven hours. If we get started on time and finish when we are supposed to. And no lunch break. That's like twelve minutes per customer. (Less than that if I'm ever going to go to the ladies room or get a soda or something.)

I'm not in a happy place.

Going to have another soda and watch more TV now.

Monday, August 10, 2009

We actually went to the movie yesterday

Yes, we spent about fourteen of the hundred dollars we have left going to a movie and eating dinner. What were we thinking?

Let me back up a bit.

About a week ago, my husband asks me if I want to go out of town with him for a few days. He says he is scheduled to work in Amarillo. (Sorry to have been unclear about that earlier, but I don't like blogging about where we are going. I like blogging about where we have been once we get back, but I know that there are weirdos out there, so it doesn't seem like a good idea to tell the whole world where and when I will be. Maybe that will land me right in the weirdo's backyard, and he will make plans to meet me. See?) Anyway, I haven't been to Amarillo in a long time, and I don't think that I have been there as a destination since I was very young. We have been there a couple of times on our way to New Mexico, Arizona, or California and have stopped there to eat lunch or something, but I don't think that we have ever stayed the night there. So that would have been interesting, and I was sorry that we didn't have time or money to go there a few extra days to look at stuff.

But as it turns out he was not scheduled to work in Amarillo, he was scheduled to work in Abilene. He claims that is what he told me, but I know that isn't what he said. We have this joke about Abilene, and if he had said Abilene I would have immediately started with the jokes. I am quite sure that he did not say Abilene.

Anyway, Abilene is not as far away, and probably not as interesting either. On the other hand, it would not be this long drive, and there weren't as many things to do, so maybe there would have been less temptation to spend money. And as it turns out Abilene has some cheap things to do and even a free museum, so going to Abilene might turn out to be a good thing.

So I was starting to look forward to going to Abilene, until I realized that we probably wouldn't have enough money left to make the trip. We thought that we would have two hundred dollars, and it turns out that we had about half of that, which probably wouldn't be enough for gas and the minimum two nights at a motel. So he called to say that he couldn't work out of town unless they could advance him some money, which he already knew that they wouldn't. His boss said that the Abilene schedule looked light, and could he work it if it was cut back to just one day? It is hardly worth the effort of all that driving and all that work for just one day, but yes, he could work just one day. We waited for them to call back and say either which one day it was, or that they were leaving it two days and got someone else to do it.

While all of this is going on, he needs new equipment and yet another computer doesn't work. They will have to send him another one and more equipment.

So now the entire idea of going out of town has been scrapped, and they have found him something to do in Dallas. This particular job probably became available because there is little money to be made and no one else wants the job. But fine, he'll take it, as long as he doesn't need going out of town expense money and he doesn't have to work on Saturday, he'll do it.

He kind of forgets that he has stuff to do on Friday too, and now he has to work Friday.

But, the schedule is done. He works Tuesday through Friday in Dallas. End of story. If they can get him a working computer and some other equipment today.

So, yesterday morning, he asks if I want to go see Julie & Julia.

Now, at this point I should yell at him. What are you thinking? But then I see what he is thinking. He's thinking that we now have a hundred dollars that we took out of the bank, and we don't have to spend it on going out of town Wednesday and Thursday. If we really want to, we can spend seven dollars going to see a movie.

Fine. I remind him that he should cut the grass first, which he does. So I'm looking to see where we might watch this movie he wants to see. And the movie isn't at our cheap theater, and to get the next cheapest price we have to go to a ten thirty showing, which we aren't going to be ready for. So I suggest waiting til Monday, but then I find a place not far away that has a one o'clock show that costs just under five dollars. So we do that.

The movie was okay. Not just wonderful, but okay. My husband has read the book and looked at the blog. The movie is half about Julia Child fifty years ago, and half about the blogger who made all five hundred and something recipes in 2002. So the movie isn't really based on the book Julie& Julia, but half based on that and half based on Julia Child's own book. My husband didn't like that, while I haven't read either book and was maybe more interested in the Julia Child parts.

Maybe I should blog my way through a cookbook. But it should probably be a diet cookbook. Or the way things are now, a budget cookbook.

Anyway, so after the movie, when he usually waits for me outside on a bench, we weren't at our regular theater and there was no bench. And I couldn't find him. And I guess that he was waiting out in the car, except that I couldn't remember where we had parked, and unlike our cheap theater, this place had a parking lot full of cars. So I am just wandering around this big parking lot, looking for my husband. And I don't find him, and I go back inside. It's hot. I go back out and find him.

I am too hot and tired to get into it. And so much for my resolve to not spend money on anything, especially dumb stuff like sodas. It is hot, and I don't even have any water in the car. And we need to buy gas anyway, so we decide to get sodas when we get gas. Only we nearly hit someone at the first place trying to get to the only empty pump. We go to a second place and circle around, but leave there too. Why the long lines? Is it some holiday I've forgotten about?

The third place is totally empty, and I am suspicious. Maybe the pumps don't work? But they do, and we get some gas. I go in to pay and to get sodas. The sodas are almost one fifty. Maybe I don't want sodas for that much. Maybe that is why the other two places were crowded, cause they had cheap sodas or Slurpee's. The sodas are going to cost three dollars. For four dollars we could go to Burger King and get dinner off of the dollar menu.

We don't find a Burger King, but we do see a McDonald's. We eat there instead.

Okay, no more spending money til Saturday.

Except for lotto tickets. I will lose my mind if I don't buy the damned lotto tickets.

I spend the rest of the day watching the X-files, and cooking beans in the crockpot while doing a dance around the dirty laundry on the kitchen floor. The laundry has piled up, and we ran out of soap. I've gone to the dollar store and now have soap, but I haven't quite decided it is time to try the soap yet. I'll probably do that today, or maybe tomorrow.

So that was all that we did this weekend, except that I have tried to get a little work done in the garden in the morning before it gets too hot. It is time to start on the wildflower bed, cause I will need that to be finished next month, even if it is too hot to do a good job of it. And then I will finish the pathway between the wildflower bed and the bulb bed. Unfortunately, the fire ants have decided to work in the same area. I will have to find out where they are coming from and kill them.

So I am off to dig in the dirt.

This really is going to be a long week.