Monthly Archives: June 2007

one hundred invoices

This past week, I sent out my 100th invoice for doing contract work. That doesn’t really give an accurate indication of how long I’ve been doing contract work, as some of those invoices were semi-monthly, some were one-offs, and some were concurrent with others. What does it show, then? Not much, I guess, other than getting to alter the 3rd digit in my invoice numbering.

I had really hoped that invoice 100 would magically be my last invoice, and that I would be a full-time employee by now. Obviously, that hasn’t happened. I really must stop looking for numerical alignments in my life like that – it’s distracting at best, and delusionally superstitious at the very least.

Ah well. Happy 100th invoice to me. Here’s hoping it’s close to my last.


suffering blog withdrawal

Gad, it feels like forever since I’ve blogged. It’s not really been all that long (OK, a week, but I’ve gone longer) but with all the stuff I’ve been wanting to blog about and haven’t, it feels like my brain is bursting at the seams. In order to ensure that I can still get to bed before too long, I’ll give you the condensed version of what’s been on my mind.
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there’s a good reason cars are painted and not wrapped

Thursday I’ll pick up the new-to-me Bug. I managed to track down the dealership that did service on it for its previous owner, and confirmed that its timing belt (a big deal on a TDI engine – as on most engines, duh) was replace recently, in September of last year. Thus I have approximately three years before it’ll need replacing again.

With that out of the way, one of the first orders of business will be addressing the multitudes of stone chips on the front bumper and hood. One thought I had was to get the front of the car “wrapped”, that is covered with a huge custom sticker with graphics on it. It would look cool, protect the car, and cover up the stone chips until I can deal with them properly. I Googled a few local and Canadian vehicle wrap specialists to get quotes, which I’ve now received.

As the title to this post suggests, there is a damned good reason vehicles are painted and not wrapped. Gak!
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a year’s worth of dry and frozen goods

Oh. My. God. What HAVE we done?

The other night we got a call about a shop-at-home service for groceries and meats. We were curious enough to have the meeting, and long story short we did it. We picked what we wanted, and tonight got the first delivery.

To explain a bit, this is supposed to be 10 month’s worth of dry goods, plus half of all of our frozen meats for the same period. (We’ll get another shipment of frozen meats later.) That came to 20 boxes delivered to our door, about 6 of which were frozen goods. Yes, 6 boxes full.

As you can imagine, our freezer is FULL. And I mean “I have no clue what’s on the bottom or how I’m going to get to it” full. And I still have a dozen boxes in my living room full of cans and bottles and boxes and such. Where will they go? Good question.

Right now, I’m not all that thrilled with our decision to do this. Is it a good move financially? Yes… it’s a good deal. But factor in the fact that your selections are somewhat limited as compared to a grocery store (especially if you have any kind of diet that deviates from the mainstream), and the fact that you have to store 10 months’ worth of dry goods and 5 months’ worth frozen goods within days of you signing up, and you can see why the panic, sweat, and frustration came to play.

Will we do this again? Only time will tell. Meanwhile, I’ve got some sorting to do.

I’m being Bugged

By next week, I’ll be Bugged. The Elantra that has served us so well will be going back home to the dealership (to be prepped and sold off likely), and I will be driving away with a 2000 Volkswagen New Beetle TDI. Yes!

I’ve used the word “serendipitous” to describe this whole transaction. Just days after they couldn’t find a TDI for me for love or money, someone waltzes in and trades one in. I will admit it’s not perfect – it’s got some significant cosmetic damage – but other than that it’s just what I was looking for. Now I just need to find or develop a supply of biodiesel and I’ll be one happy pappy.

But for now, I’ll have to wait a week. The dealer is going a boatload of work on it for it to pass safety and a general “everything works check”. The short list includes some ABS work, new rotors and pads, and fixing the A/C… so pretty much taking care of all the big ticket items that could go wonky on a 7-year-old car.

As for the cosmetic damage (an astounding number of stone chips), I’m going to get quoted to have it repainted, but I’m also looking at simply getting the front end “wrapped”. (If you know any good graphics shops that do vehicle wraps, lemme know as I’m still looking for quotes.)

Hopefully by Wednesday next week I’ll be burning oil!

wherefore art thou, perogies?

Jannette and I were just enjoying a peach in the kitchen together, and were talking about how nice it is that peach season is now once again coming upon us. That prompted me to remember a recipe I developed during university; peach and apple perogies. I’d make an orange sauce and sautee fresh apple and peach slices in it, and pour that over some freshly oven-baked perogies. If you like fruit (and I probably haven’t said it enough: that cooking with fruit needs to happen more frequently), you’ll probably really enjoy this dish.

So I thought I should ressurect it, as it’s been nearly 10 years since I last made it. But instead of relying on frozen perogies like I had in the past, perhaps I could whip up a batch of my own from scratch. I’m handy in the kitchen, I should be able to do that, right? Sure. All I need is a recipe.

Well, do you think I can find a recipe? No! First I looked through Jannette’s Moosewood cookbook (an infamous vegetarian restaurant in Ithaca, NY, that has made itself famous for its vegetarian cooking with many recipe books to its name). No dice there. I could make samosas or falafel or a bunch of other exotic dishes, but no perogies. I flipped through our collection of Looney Spoons, Crazy Plates, and Eat, Shrink, and Be Merry to no avail as well. I thought maybe our La Leche League cookbook might have it, but no luck there either.

Ah well, we’ll just go to one of our no-fail backup cookbooks: The Joy of Cooking or Better Homes and Gardens. If you need a recipe, one of these books will have it. (The Joy of Cooking tells you how to prepare a turtle for cooking – it must have everything, right?) Nope. Nothing on both counts. Ah, but there’s one more fallback that we got for a wedding present – the full collection of Jean Pare’s Company’s Coming books. And guess what – NO PEROGIES!!!

WTF?!? Are there strict Polish copyright laws on perogie recipes that I’m not aware of? Did someone buy all the intellectual property on these potato-based comfort foods and muscle all the recipes out of print? I mean, what in the blue blazes is going on? When I have enough recipe books that I could eat a different meal for every meal of the day for an entire year and never repeat myself, but I can’t find “perogies” in the index of any single book I own, something fishy is going on.

Yes, I could Google a perogie recipe, but I’m not sure how much I trust online recipes. Joy of Cooking is tried and true. Loony Spoons and company are new but well-tested and personally approved. La Leche League is all member-submitted recipes from across North America, so you know they took only the cream of the crop there. So why no perogies?

Please – I beg of you – if you know of a decent perogie recipe, please send it along!

Pre-post UPDATE: Mere seconds before I manage to publish this, Jannette finds the recipe. It’s in a 75th anniversary cookbook from a church I’ve never been to in Windsor. We think it was a gift from my grandmother some number of years ago. Either way, I have my perogie recipe. All is right with the world. Now I just need to wait for the baskets of fresh Ontario peaches to show up in grocery stores.

divine diesel intervention

The lease is up on my Elantra at the end of July. I had brought it in to the Hyundai dealer where I got it to see if they could help me get out of it, and told them that I was looking for a VW TDI (just about any model). They tried their best, went to the auctions, but came up with nothing. I assumed that I would have to start the process of certifying the Elantra for emissions and safety, get it detailed, and get it into the Auto Trader. That was just this past week.

So I was quite happy to find that the local VW dealer just got a New Beetle in on trade. It’s high mileage (something I can deal with), but it’s a good colour, and has everything I need: air, manual transmission, a diesel engine, and even has leather. As the just got it in, it hasn’t been reconditioned or detailed yet, and what they do there will certainly affect how I feel about purchasing it. (One foglight is busted, an emblem is missing, but most worryingly the windshield has a nice starred chip in it.) Meanwhile, I have to get the Elantra sold. Gotta get on that.

Today, I got a call. The Hyundai dealer just penned a deal with someone who is trading in a New Beetle TDI. It’s the right year, it’s the right transmission, it’s the right kind of fuel, and it’s even got a few goodies on it (like leather) I’d hoped for. SWEET. So now, in theory, I should be able to drop off my Elantra, walk away from the lease with no penalties, and drive away getting much better mileage than just about everbody else on the road.

Seriously, how likely is it that in the exact period that I am looking to get out of my vehicle that someone trades in the very vehicle I am looking for, a model that is relatively rare? I must have a lucky glow plug up my butt or something.

I should be able to see it Monday or Tuesday. I am stoked. I could be burning oil inside of a couple of weeks!