Thursday, December 15, 2005

Christmas Wish List

Well, the Christmas tips have started to roll in, and I’m looking at how I should spend the money. As I said before, I’m not going to disclose how much I get in tips, because it makes people jealous. If you have such feelings, consider how much BS I have to put up with from idiotic management and angry and forcibly subscribed customers, all the risks I take, having to save for and pay my own income taxes, having to run around in the cold at night, wearing clothing that makes me look like a burglar in order to keep warm, having to pay for auto maintenance and gasoline – don’t you think I deserve some consideration? So I smile when I get a $50 check from someone in the rich neighborhood, and I pass the smile right back to them with the best possible service. After all, TIPS stands for To Insure Proper Service.

It’s not really in line with the Christmas giving spirit, but in keeping with the commercialization of Christmas, I’m giving my Christmas tip money to the merchants and service providers in exchange for much-needed goods and services. So here’s my Christmas tip spending list:

  • Gasoline to feed the ever-hungry gas hog. With the price of gas down to $2 per gallon and my mileage hovering around 13 MPG, depending on the temperature, gas only cost me $7.70 per day, instead of the previous $10 per day when it was at $3 per gallon. It’s nice to see that the gulf coast refineries are back in operation, or whatever is making gas relatively affordable again. Thank you.

  • Lunch. This is another item that a certain portion of the pocket cash goes to. In fact, with gasoline, and an occasional random purchase at Wal-Mart, this is the only other item I spend cash on. For all those who send me cash in the mail (which you’re not supposed to do anyway), that just offsets the amount of cash that I take out of the paychecks in order to sustain a standardized cash level for the gas fund. But those paychecks always feel like something worth celebrating, and I do so by splurging on lunch from the value menu at Wendy’s. Thanks to the cash givers, doing so just feels a little bit easier.

  • A new clutch. Here’s where I start into the auto maintenance category. Last year about this time, the clutch started making a funny noise. Funny noises from the truck really make me nervous, so I had the mechanic investigate, and he said the clutch would eventually go bad, and have to be replaced. Like, any day now. He offered to replace it right then, but said it would slowly go bad over the next few months. I haven’t done the clutch in the 100,000 miles that I’ve driven it, so like Yellowstone Park exploding, it’s due right about now. Like “The Big One” knocking California into the ocean, it’s due any day now. I keep listening for that funny noise again.

  • A new steering wheel cover. I like cheap things. They cost less. When I decided that I needed a special steering wheel cover with enough grip to quickly spin the wheel around while flying through all those cul de sacs, I found a cheap one with knobbies at Wal-Mart for $8. Well, like all cheap things, it’s falling apart, so I’d better put another one in the grocery cart at Wal-Mart next time I’m there.

  • Body work. They told me that this model of Toyota had problems with the bed rusting out along the seam. The rust is starting to work it’s way along in a big bubble. And the paint is peeling in other places. I don’t know how much the discount auto body repair guy would want, but the Bump Shop offered to replace that panel for a mere $2,000. Outch! I think I’ll save my money until it becomes as critical as the clutch, then talk to that discount guy.

  • Software. I’ve pre-spent some of my Christmas tip money on this item. Preventative maintenance, and spending money to keep spam, viruses, and other people’s nasties out of my system. Here, I have to make a sub-list
    • System Mechanic 5, and

    • An expensive upgrade to System Mechanic 6. This might actually have saved my butt a few times.

    • Diskeeper 9 defragmenter. I’ll skip the upgrade to Diskeeper 10 defragmenter. It just doesn’t solve my system performance problems.

    • Error Nuker. Like Diskeepr defragmenter, it didn’t really fix my performance problems. But it’s already paid for.

  • System Mechanic, after having the system do a boot-time disk check, which I could have and did do anyway, seems to be telling me that my hard drive is unreliable, and that it can’t quite pinpoint and flag exactly what spot on the drive is causing the problem. To compensate for this, I should probably buy another hard drive, possibly from a different manufacturer. But then I’ll have to clone the drive data. Yuck.

  • Since all that maintenance software won’t change the fact that I’m just running way to much software on my computer, I should be thinking about getting a new system. It’d really be nice to have one of those 3 GHz systems – are they up to 4 GHz or something higher now? – instead of my old 800 MHz system that can barely keep up with itself. Then I’ll have to contact all those software makers and get my licenses transferred to the new system. Maybe I should take the traditional do-it-yourself approach and just get a new 5 GHz motherboard, and a case to match it. And then watch the system try to re-configure itself, and end up in some crippled state that I have to fix manually. Hmmm, decisions, decisions.

  • I’ve really been wanting to get that Access 2000 book, so I can do more better database work. I haven’t seen any good classes for Access. Classes cost ten times as much as books anyway, and you still have to buy the book.

  • Before I do that, I might want to upgrade to Access XP++ 2006, or whatever is coming out next. Naw, why buy the same software twice?

  • In spite of what I just said about classes, I want to take the AWAI copywriting class. I’ll probably have to commit myself to a year of studying to match the year’s worth of monthly payments. Or I could just pop for the $500 right now. Are you kidding??? My Christmas tip money is already spoken for by everything else on this list. This is one of those potentially get-rich-quick schemes. Besides, I was fired from my first job for “poor communication skills,” and now, it’s my life’s mission to learn and practice good communication skills. Why has nobody bothered to use even the 10% discount coupon code I set up on BazaarMart.com? I dunno. Either just saying there are discounts and freebies, and one is a storewide discount isn’t “good communication,” or my web visitors are all illiterate.

  • Income taxes. Sigh. I must’ve been blocking this out of my mind throughout the rest of the list. Well, I’ve still got four more months to save up enough to pay my income taxes. See, as contract labor, my “employer” doesn’t consider me to be an employee, and so doesn’t withhold income tax for me. So I have to come up with the money myself on tax day.

  • Credit card debts. Sigh. Another thing I’ve been blocking out of my mind. When I get the time and energy, I’m going to invent some scheme to take advantage of these zero interest, introductory offer type things to actually pay down the principle instead of continually throwing money away at these creditors.

  • There’s an options-trading newsletter that makes claims of having an 80% success rate of recommendations that at least double your money in an average of six weeks. The cost is $89 each month. If I can start out with some $500 out of my current portfolio, and if it does what it says it does, I should be able to leverage that into a substantial sum fairly quickly. Call it a get-rich-scheme. Call me crazy. But I’ve been a gambler for these types of things before. I’m willing to give this one a shot. And if it doesn’t work, I’ll hold them to their money-back guarantee.

Well that’s about it for my Christmas wish list. Now, to go do some actual Christmas shopping for the family.

Merry Christmas

1 comment:

aurora papergirl said...

Hey there, you know if you do your taxes right, you shouldn't have to pay. You just need to use deductions for your "buisiness". i have a great tax guy and a list of things you can deduct as buisiness loss, so your tax bill should not be so high. email me at snshndydrm861@msn.com put newspaper in subject line, and I will respond.