Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Speaking of Rice...

Oh, sure. Just when I turn to rice and beans (see last post) to help restore my nearly depleted cushion against bench time, speculators send U.S. rice futures to an all time high.

Maybe if the gummint weren't paying farmers to keep their land fallow, speculators wouldn't have so much control over the price of food, hmmmm?

Please excuse me while I go eat a bowl of wheat flour. Thanks, Uncle Sam.

Let's all boycott rice in July. Eat potatoes, pasta, bread--glorious breads--and other alternative starches. Rice? Just don't buy it; let the speculators eat it this time.

(I should say that I believe in a free market and do not feel that market speculation is evil--not by a long shot. But, first, when the government intervenes as they have in farming, it's not a free market; second, speculators are gambling, taking a risk; no reason I can't play the game from my end and vote with my dollars.)

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Pay Day

Yes, indeedy do! As predicted, I did get paid. Today I received the full amount of my first week's invoice. I can pay the vet. Between that and the outrageous amount that I had to lay out for the first quarter's estimated taxes last week, I figure I can start to do something with my income by, oh, around May 18.

Oh, wait: we're having our boiler replaced next week; then we're buying a new, well used, lawn tractor. And we were supposed to have our bathrooms redone last year. And we still have no window coverings in our living and dining rooms. And there's the other half of the windows and all the doors that need to be replaced...

Please excuse me while this highly paid professional goes off to have a hearty dinner of beans and rice.

Saturday, April 19, 2008


I had one of these last week. No matter when it falls, it is not my night to cook, and my cooking partner came through with flying colors. Surf and turf in the form of lobster tails and bacon-wrapped filets mignon with asparagus and baked potatoes followed by a chocolate frosted devil's food layer cake, all made in our kitchen. What a sweetheart!

I, on the other hand, will probably not reciprocate when the tables are turned in a couple of weeks: it will most likely be dinner at a restaurant of the celebrant's choosing.

I hate to whine, so I'll just state the facts. It seems as though this work thing, especially the long daily commute, is winning the competition for my energy. I thought I'd get used to it after a week or so, but it's been four and I am. just. plain. tired. Good thing it's a contract!

Friday, April 11, 2008

Bird Update 3

That poor little guy!

We went back for Beefy's second shot on March 13 and nearly lost him. Apparently his little liver was not producing clotting agents the way it should have been, and he just bled and bled. The vet finally got it under control and I brought the little guy back home. That'd be the bird, not the vet. Three days later, when I went to give him his meds, he fled and gently bumped into a window frame, which reopened his wound. Yikes!

No more shots for him...back to antibiotics in liquid suspension, only this one he did not tolerate well. They made him vomit (of course) and lose his voice for hours, but still when it was time to take them, he swallowed them down as best he could. He's such a little trooper, but it was heartbreaking to make him so very miserable twice every day for those two weeks.

He seemed to be improving, but last Tuesday (a belated happy April Fool's Day to all) when I got home from work, Beefy was so bedraggled that I took him for an emergency visit to the vet. No, the vet said, I wasn't overreacting; the bird looked the worst the vet had seen him. Long story short: two days in a little cubicle with pure oxygen. He's breathing a lot better now.

He wasn't tolerating the liquid meds well, and shots were out of the question since his frightful hemorrhagic episode: we were nearly out of options. Antibiotics in his drinking water seemed the only thing left, but it's the least controllable, since one can't be sure of how much he'll drink on a given day. Nonetheless, after a week on that, he seems to be doing well, with more energy than he's had in, oh, months.

The course of treatment for his bug lasts a minimum of 45 days, and we started (with the right antibiotic) on the sixth of March, so this will go on until at least the 20th of April. With all of his setbacks, probably longer. Of course, I run out of drugs early next week, so I suppose we'll be seeing the vet for a progress check soon. Fingers crossed.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Back to Work!

Another writer was also hired, he for RoboHelp work and me for FrameMaker (yay!). We started this contract on St. Paddy's day. Then it got weird. The product that we were assigned to document originated with a sister company in Pennsylvania, which closed down at the end of March, and responsibility for the product passed to the Buffalo Grove location. The product manager had been very busy, helping to close the facility and picking up a lot of new responsibility at the same time, but he was responsive when we asked for direction. We set up a phone meeting with him and the local lead writer which actually never happened. Then we learned that all responsibility for the product had transferred to yet another sister company, this one in Alabama.

Were we still on the project? Did the new company have its own writing staff? Should we even be spending time on these documents?

Last Wednesday afternoon, each of us contractors got a phone call on our home phones. I would be retained for awhile to work on at least one other project; the other writer was not so lucky.
Then I got sick--I mean knock-down, drag-out sick such as I had not been since I was a kid--and did not go to work on Thursday or Friday. With my position being already tenuous, I was sure they'd just give up on me. Fortunately, I was wrong and am still working hard.

One day, I feel certain, I'll even get paid. But not before I have to come up with a few thousand in estimated taxes (April 15). Ah, contracting!