Saturday, November 28, 2009

Be Back Soon!

With the holidays and everything, I've been falling behind in my posts, so I just wanted to leave a quick cyber note that I am alive and well, and that I have every intention of flooding your brains with new and exciting life events soon. Until then, happy weekend...

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Consumer Stalking

Have you ever felt like a company or store was following you around, tempting you with things that they know you can't resist? I feel that I'm am currently the victim of consumer stalking.

I swear to you. I don't know if they're tapping my phone or reading my thoughts, but somehow, Amazon clearly knows what I want and exactly what price it will take to make it impossible to say no. Now, they already have plenty of information on me. I've bought various things from them over the years, usually movies and books. And I have about six wish lists, including one specifically telling people what would make a good gift for me. I'm a list person, and Amazon satisfies my organizing addiction. So it's not surprising that they know what I want. But really, I don't know why there has been such a string of things which seems specifically designed to ensnare me and my money.

First, it was Gilmore Girls. Loved it in high school and college, and I've recently started watching the reruns every weekday on ABC Family. So when Amazon sent me a friendly little e-mail about their deal of the day, imagine my amazement to see that they had the entire show, seven whole seasons, for about $100. That was insane, because we're talking about 40+ discs that usually sell for at least $170. I knew I would want this set eventually, and that it would never be cheaper, so after a few agonizing hours going back and forth, I gave in and made the purchase. And a week or so later I had my lovely little set waiting for me in the mail box. So pretty, so new, and with its own special place on my shelf. Expensive? Yes. Worth it? Uh-huh.

But then, I was further propositioned by Amazon with another deal of the day a few weeks later. The complete series of Angel, for the same ridiculous discount. I haven't even seen all of Angel, but I knew I wanted it, being the spin-off of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, which I already own. And somehow, not having seen the series made me want it more, because it made me want to watch it, and there was no other way to do it. So I gave them another $50 of my money and anxiously awaited another package. It does concern me that perhaps some of my motivation was to make walking to the mail box more exciting, but I don't think that would be enough for someone like me to want to spend money. The gorgeousness of David Boreanaz is a much more likely culprit.

Now, if I start getting e-mails from Amazon about Doctor Who specials or discounts on NCIS, I'm going to have to call in reinforcements, because that will be going one step too far. I did find a flyer for Arby's in my door, so maybe now I'm being stalked by fast food vendors, which might actually be worse. I can look at my shelves and still feel good about my purchases, but I probably wouldn't say the same thing about the crumpled-up wrapper of a cheeseburger.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

You Know You're a Cat Lady When...

I'm currently transitioning a cat that lived at my dad's house to my mom's house. She's been inside for about two weeks, to make sure she doesn't run away and try and return to her old home. The first day she was confused and sniffing around, and spending a lot of time in the chair I brought over to give her something that 'smelled' right. I was feeling very guilty at the trauma I had exposed her to.

But now, she is perfectly well adapted to the new house, explored every last corner, and she's itching to go outside. Itching, scratching, meowing, she's ready. But I'm not.

I've let her outside twice now. Both times I've followed her around and then brought her in after ten or twenty minutes. I'm starting to think that if I ever become a mother, I'll be the one sitting outside of Pre-K, chewing their fingernails and bursting through the door after half an hour to take the kid home. That's enough, let's go home! See what I mean? Cat lady. Whenever you can link your treatment of your cat to a child, it's time to rethink the warning signs and take control of your life. Before you become a Mother Goose rhyme.

Of course, there are legitimate concerns. I don't want her getting lost, etc. And because she tends to shuffle off any collar around her neck, she has no ID, which brings nightmares of someone else taking her in or taking her to a shelter. But, as is my wont, these rational issues become irrationally dangerous in my mind. I think one of the drawbacks of working at home is that you interact more with cats than with people.

So I'm trying to take a step back and force myself to open the door. These are the trials and tribulations of a freelance writer.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Invoices 101, and Other Classes I WIsh I Had Taken

So, I just made up an invoice for a month of corporate blogging. And I kept thinking, "This shouldn't be this hard. I should already know how to do this? Why don't I know how to do this?" It's just another one of those things that we all are expected to know, but no one teaches us. And it's kind of annoying. Paying bills, serving bills, these are the things we really need to know, but they are treated both like secrets and common knowledge. You either just don't need to know, or it's ridiculous and pathetic that you don't. There's no actual period when you are supposed to learn.

Thank God for Word having examples for me to fill info into. That solved a few of my problems. Some, however, appear to have no template.

Like rates. What does one charge for freelance writing? Apparently if you're a scab, you go for a penny a word or less. If you're awesome, you get a few bucks or more. I'm currently going with ten cents, or six if pushed. I just have no idea. And no one will give me the straight answer. It used to be a buck a word for magazines, but that was years ago and now writing is worth what a random, non-English speaker is willing to charge. How am I supposed to make sure I'm not expensive, but not setting myself up for permanent Mom-residence? I have loans coming into repayment, I'm not just going to work for the sheer thrill. But I'd rather have a little money than none. It's a financial and moral dilemma, because underselling yourself is setting a bad industry precedent. I don't want to be a scab!!!

So after having navigated cover letters, I've got these terrible questions to ponder. And soon there will be fantastic taxes to decipher, and at some point I'm going to need a 401k. Where were these classes? Why did I go through two years of Calculus, but absolutely no real life training? Particularly for Sarah Lawrence students, who might need to make unconventional choices and fend for themselves while everyone else realizes how awesome we are. Hey, it's the humor that helps us through these troubled times...