apel: (aphrodite)
This was originally a reply to a blog post entitled Self-Respect: Come to Your Success by Pagan mystic and teacher Thorn Coyle.

For me the biggest obstacles to coming to my success are old commitments and convictions that I've outgrown. Take my bedroom curtains for example.

My current level of success means I have less time and more money but I still hold on to the belief that I am a crafty person so I should hem my own curtains. Why else do I have a sewing machine?

So for over a year I had half a hemmed curtain hanging in my bedroom window. The other half lay, unhemmed, in my crafts box. I finally took down the hemmed half a month ago. The next step is to take both halves to a seamstress and say "Hem this one so it looks the same as the one I've done."

I think I need to let go of beliefs that served me when I had more time than money. Then I'll be ready to hand over my bedroom curtains to a professional. I used to take pride in sewing and other creative, time-intense skills. I don't feel pride in throwing money at a problem, even though the reason I have the money is that I'm skilled at my own profession. Somehow I need to resolve that.

The fact is that I use the limited time I do have for furthering my own healing, as well as the healing of other people. That's something I need to learn to place a higher value on.
apel: (grain)
So I got home with lots of loot from Gilroy. That place is definitely worth going to, even if it was about an hour's drive there. There are so many stores there with so many deals that if you don't find what you're looking for in one, there are four more stores worth looking at. I spent a solid 3 hours there and only went through about a quarter of the shops but still came home with the stuff I needed at deep discounts. Well worth the drive.

The "village" layout does nothing for me, though. It means you walk along a blustery outdoor path in front of the shops, being blasted with overly loud mall muzac, occasionally dodging cars and being inappropriately dressed when you go inside one of the shops. Anybody who thinks this has anything to do with old world villages has never been shopping in a real one.

When I got home, the maid had cleaned the room, sort of. I'd never thought I'd see this but she'd actually forgotten to take her tips. I'd placed them prominently on the TV, so how she could miss them is a mystery to me. She had changed the sheets so I know she'd been that far into the room.

Still thinking of getting a Roomba. If I'm still here when [livejournal.com profile] ciaran01 comes, I definitely need to invest in some cleaning supplies too.

Today I'm getting the bumper on my new car sprayed. It had some damage when I bought it and as part of the negotiations I got the dealer to promise to get it sprayed for me. Now that the weather is sunny again, that's going to happen. They called yesterday.

The process is going to take 2-3 hours, which I will have to while away somewhere. The car dealer suggested a mall but I'd rather be outside. I just need to come up with somewhere that's nice enough within reasonable driving distance from the dealership.

I don't really have a well-formed opinion about the election today. I think it's very cool that there's a choice between a white woman and a black man on the Democratic side. Both of those candidacies would have been impossible not so long ago. I can just see some people squirming at the prospect of having to choose what they consider "the lesser evil." It fills me with glee.

Having said that, I'm deeply uncomfortable with the subtle misogynistic undercurrents that I detect in some of the commentary. Well, some isn't very subtle. At Borders, of all places, they were selling a voodoo doll of Clinton with the slogan "Stick it to her before she sticks it to you." Sexism is still the more acceptable of the isms. What would happen if Borders tried to sell voodoo dolls of Obama?

I've heard people ask if it's Clinton that's divisive or if it's the kind of supporters she attracts. It may be a bit of both but there's definitely a third factor at play too -- some people are deeply uncomfortable with the prospect of a woman president. I mean, what are we? Iceland?
apel: (red signal)
I looked up my account online and found that no money had been withdrawn from it. When I called the fund they were very apologetic but had no explanation. They were going to put a rush on it but couldn't guarantee that I'd have my money before Tuesday afternoon.

The car dealer was not very happy. He was going to talk to management and call me back. Worst case I lose my $500, I guess. And then I'd have to find a new car. :-(

Plus I still need to return the Chevy to Alamo at SFO tonight. I'm thinking that I'll switch to Hertz. With the AAA discount it should be a better deal. It might even be a clean car that can be driven on twisty roads.
apel: (train)
Having read lots and lots on ConsumerReports, the following is my shortlist for cars:
  1. Honda Fit (Sport)

  2. Hyundai Accent (2006 or newer)

  3. Kia Rio (Rio5) (2006 or newer)
The Honda Fit is the best car but it will also cost the most. $13,950 - $15,270 according to CR. The Accent and Rio actually start in the four digits for cars manufactured in 2006 or 2007. They are still acceptable from a safety and comfort point of view.

I'd like to test drive these three cars. Depending on the outcome, the list may get shorter. In particular the Honda Fit may not be comfortable enough. I may also test drive a Scion xB from 2004 or newer, if I can find one that fulfils all requirements at a good price.

This is the list of must-haves:
  • Side airbags

  • ABS

  • AC

  • Automatic transmission

  • Remote keyless entry

MP3 player connection is a nice-to-have. Listening to KFOG is fine, really. :-) I would prefer a car that's not black or silver but I may not be able to choose the colour.

Actually, now that I'm looking at dealer pages, I think the Honda Fit is out. There don't seem to be any around and the prices quoted for them are ridiculous. I'm not paying almost $20K. The Kias seem a lot more reasonable but I may have to let go of the ABS requirement.
apel: (train)
My rental car will have to be returned on Tuesday. Before then I need to either have arranged for another, hopefully cheaper, rental or bought a car. To that end I've just signed up with AAA, the automobile association in the US. Apart from roadside recovery they have lots and lots of discounts and rebates in hotels, restaurants, Target etc. Signing up costs $54 annually and there's a $17 enrolment fee. The first year the recovery services are pretty limited but after that you can upgrade your membership and get much more extensive assistance if you need it.

I also went ahead and got a quote for car insurance. For a Honda Fit Sport with good coverage I'd be paying $1433 for 6 months. Ouch. I'm going to call some other companies too. Geico and Progressive, to begin with. But the reason for the cost is that I don't have much US driving experience, so I doubt that it will come out much cheaper with other companies. Still, worth a try.

This weekend I'm hoping to to some test driving and maybe make a deal.
apel: (triskele_Animated)
I just sold the car for £325. That's a potential £75 less than I would have gotten from a dealer but it saves me the uncertainty and hassle of going over to Gloucester. I'm happy.
apel: (twitching)
I just called the TV License people on 0870 241 6468. They have 6 choices in their first level menu. None of them is for cancelling your license. So I took the last one, which is "all other inquiries". On that choice, there are two more choices. One of them is the same as on the previous level. The other is too, because it's "all other inquiries."

Still, that's not the worst. If all their representatives are busy, they direct you to the website or ask you to call again at a less busy time, *click* and they hang up on you. Beautiful, isn't it?

The reason I called in the first place is that their website says to call them for a cancellation form.
apel: (attention)
I was worrying about how I'd find out about all my direct debits and standing order, envisioning phone calls with endless security questions and being told it would take a fortnight before anything would happen. That's been my experience with getting anything done in this country.

But it turns out that my online bank has a list of all regular outgoing payments and offers the ability to change and delete them at will. It was a simple matter of clicking a few buttons to cancel payments for rent and my National Trust membership. The changes take effect tomorrow. Easy peasy!
apel: (twitching)
So yesterday I couldn't call outside the 020 area. I thought that was because there was something wrong with my phone. The cable does look rather tattered. But today I used the phone that belongs to the flat, and still couldn't make any calls to mobiles, nor dial into the important conference call in Bahrain.

The BT website has a facility that allows you to report a fault on the line, so I did that. But I had my suspicions that it wasn't a real fault. You see, I made another call to Bahrain a few weeks ago. It was a long conference call that ended up costing me nearly £90. Normally my whole bill is under $40.

And just now the BT Fault Team called me up and confirmed my suspicions -- BT have placed a bar on the line. Did they tell me about this? Of course not. What would be the point of that?

They have my email address but that's not the point, is it? They can just embarrass me in front of clients and coworkers and sit back and let me call them. Then when I do, I'm told I'll have to wait for a representative because they're very busy now.

Update at 15:30: I've talked to BT now. After I paid them the currently oustanding amount (about £100), they said they were going to lift the bar. But they can only tell me that it will be lifted within the next 24 hours. So tomorrow morning when I'm due for the delayed conference call to Bahrain, I may or may not be able to dial in. When the lady on the phone launched into her explanation of this for the 3rd time, I just hung up in disgust.

No point in listening to the same spiel one more time, I'll still look like an idiot if they haven't removed the bar by tomorrow morning. Not to mention not being able to clear up the confusion about my latest timesheet, or help the copywriter understand what he's supposed to write about.

BT Notice

Jun. 29th, 2007 09:36 am
apel: (pillarbox)
I just talked to BT. They said that they need 14 days to stop the service, including the broadband. Given BT's track record, I'll call back in mid-July. That should give them plenty of time to mess up.
apel: (Default)
BT's notice period is 14 days.

Is this only for moving? Could there be a different notice period for ending the contract?

To Do
Call 0800 800 150 and find out. Log in to My BT first so I have all my details.
apel: (California)
I've just got off the phone with the letting agents for my flat. They say that the notice period is a month from the rent day as stated in the contract. The rent day is 24. So I have a choice between giving notice for 24 August or 24 September.

That's a bit of a bummer because I'd prefer 24 August but I've just extended my contract till the end of August. So in that case, either GT let me go a week early or they let me work from home, i.e. Cheltenham for the last week. It would also mean I'd have to clean out the flat in the 5 weekends between getting back from my holiday and 24 August. With Kieron's help that's not impossible.

On the other hand if I go for 24 September, I'd have a lot more time. I'll have to talk to Kieron and see what he says before I make up my mind. There's a possibility that I could negotiate with the landlord too. He's fairly easy-going.

The letting agent also said that when I send them the notice, they'll respond with a letter that tells me all about what's required of me wrt cleaning the flat, handing over keys etc.

To Do
  • Ask cleaning people how long do the carpets need to dry after the shampooing before they can be walked on?
  • With the 24 as the hand-over date, when would they recommend that they come in?
  • Put outstanding tasks from Moleskin and LJ into Life Balance
  • Make print-out of tasks to be done before holiday and put in Moleskine
apel: (grain)
I've filed for an extension today. Living outside the US I'm automatically eligible for a 6 month extension. However, that's an extension for filing, not for paying. The reason I can't file my taxes is that I haven't received the tax papers from all income sources. Got one, missing two. So the next step is to request papers from the two missing sources.
apel: (shoes)
Call before 10.

Update 26Jan07 at 10.45: Done. Will get remaining holiday pay and P45 toward the end of next week.
apel: (triskele_textureAnimated)
Happy Diwali to all my Hindu friends and sympathisers.

I was going to work from home today in preparation for a very important release on Tuesday. But I've discovered that I don't have all the assets, so I'm heading into the office now. Now how I like to spend my weekends but, at time and a half, the money is good.

Not so much looking forward to the commute, though. At least I've set the VCR to record Cute!Mark tonight. Two NCIS episodes when I get home should compensate somewhat for the late hour. I've also got my cute little 8Gb Nano so I'll be alright.

There's a train in to town at 14.32. Better make sure I catch that. I just want to finish my cuppa first.
apel: (fuchsia)
  • New Apple iPod nano - 8GB - Black - Apple Computer

  • Crazy World - Kenny Thomas

  • But Beautiful: Standards Vol.1 - Boz Scaggs

  • Nell McAndrew - Maximum Impact - Nell McAndrew

  • A Lotus Grows in the Mud - Goldie Hawn

  • Getting Rid of Bradley (MIRA S.) - Jennifer Crusie

  • What the Lady Wants - Jennifer Crusie

  • Charlie All Night (MIRA S.) - Jennifer Crusie

  • Skintalk - Martha Redbone

  • Just Like Heaven [2005] - Reese Witherspoon

apel: (California)
I just got off the phone from talking with the IRS. My American taxes are paid in full. I have a zero balance, Mrs. Cain said. That's a relief.

Now I just need to stand next to a fax machine and call them to get them to fax me a transcript. I think I'll do that tomorrow. Our fax machine may be crappy but hopefully it will work well enough for this. It doesn't cost anything. Well, except for having to call the US from a mobile because almost all our landlines are blocked for international calls. But that's a small price to pay for peace of mind.

Aug. 28th, 2006 08:20 am
apel: (sweden)
Yesterday I went shopping in the afternoon. First I went to Åhlens and got most of the necessities, e.g. a towel. Then I found an Italian restaurant where I had a pizza for lunch.

Linköping town centre is not much fun on Sundays because very few shops are open. It's mostly just Åhlens. Not many people were around in the rain.

As I was walking down Storgatan I heard music behind me. The percussion part of a student orchestra came marching down the hill from the castle and past the statue of Folke Filbyter. I don't know why they were playing and marching in the rain but they certainly cheered me up.

After lunch I drove out to Tornby. Tornby used to be a purely industrial area but then Ikea built their store out there. Then some other discount retailers opened shops there to and eventually Ikea built a mall next to their store, Ikanohuset. That's where I went.

On the way I made a slight detour. A good thing about a town of L's size is that if you get lost, you don't stay lost for long. Within minutes a familiar landmark turns up and you're found again.

At Ikano I went on a bit of a shopping spree. It was so nice to walk around clothes shops with lots of clothes in colours I like. Most clothes were not black! They were pink, blue, green, brown, purple... My colour-starved self rejoiced. I was particularly happy to see all the blue clothes.

In the end I bought a blue sweatshirt hoodie and two blue scarves as well as two white tops and a pair of brown trousers. Clothes are cheap in Sweden.

I was tired from spending all that money so when I got back to the youth hostel I spent the evening reading and painting my finger nails.
apel: (triskele_Animated)
In my mail box today was a letter from the Swedish tax authorities, letting me know that they owe me a bit over SEK 2'800. How nice of them! What precipitated this disclosure, I don't know but it's a welcome one.

Apparently I have to write to them if I want them to send me the money. Gladly!, I say. The amount covers about half of my car rental in Sweden in August.
apel: (sweden)
I've bought the tickets for my Sweden trip. BA were cheapest and had the best timing.

Also booked the hire car. It ended up being almost UKP 400. Ouch. It would have been cheaper to go for a stick shift but not nearly cheaper enough to be worth the hassle. Finally I've sent off a booking request for the hotel/youth hostel in Linköping.

Update: Booked the hotel in Malmö, Jörgen Kocks. It was £235 for four nights. This is one expensive holiday. I knew it was going to be but it still smarts.

Remains to be booked:
Hotel in Malmö
Airport parking at Heathrow
Call youth hostel in Linköping and give credit card details. Open 08.00 - 13.00 och 17.00 - 19.00 on weekends.
apel: (Default)
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