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Archive for March, 2010

Home construction

March 16th, 2010 at 08:06 pm

A few months ago, before the winter, we discovered that the paneling on one wall of our family room was rotting. We had never seen any water coming in but we had a contractor come out and he found where water was getting in. The roof over the family room is about 14 years old and the roofing material is generally expected to last 10 years so we were overdue for a problem.

The contractor said he should be able to do the job by the end of January. Of course, snowstorm after snowstorm kept pushing that back but he finally came out today to start the job. So far, so good. When he opened up the wall and poked around, there was no more damage than expected. I was afraid he would find rotten ceiling beams but he didn't. Hopefully, that means the work will come in close to the estimate he gave us which was about $2,200. I set the money aside back when he first came out so that's no problem. I just didn't want it to balloon much higher.

My wife's been home supervising. I'll see it in a couple of hours. Hopefully, everything will be done by the end of the week.

Well that sucks

March 15th, 2010 at 08:43 pm

As you know, I do a ton of medical surveys and market research programs. Almost without exception, they are pay as you go. Do a survey. Get a check. Do a survey. Get a check. No contracts. No commitments.

Last April, I was contacted by a company to join their panel. I was to enter data weekly online and after 52 weeks, I'd get a lump sum payment of $1,000. I signed the contract and went live with them in May. I've been doing the data entry ever since and it now being mid-March, was looking forward to the $1,000 that would be coming in a few more weeks.

Well, forget that. I got an e-mail today saying that due to the economy and consolidation within the pharmaceutical industry, they have been unable to sell the data we provide. They have let all of the staff go and filed chapter 7 bankruptcy. Of course, there is no money with which to pay the physicians as per the contracts. Poof. No $1,000.

I do believe that if I'm ever approached again to do an ongoing study, I will do so only if payments are made on some regular basis, not only after doing months of work. Lesson learned.

Back on ebay yet again thanks to the flood

March 14th, 2010 at 01:33 am

We got hit by a major Nor'easter storm today that dumped a couple of inches of rain on our area, some of which ended up in our basement which has been known to happen during particularly bad storms. As a result, I spent a good part of the day down there running the shop vac to suck up the water as it came in. Since most of it was leaking in around one window, I was able to position the vacuum just right so that I could let it run without having to hold it.

While that was happening, I spent time cleaning the disaster area we call our basement. Every time I'm down there, I tell myself I have got to start selling on ebay again since so much of what is there is my sales stock. Just looking at the table where I do my ebay work made me tired. The table was a mess, strewn with merchandise, papers, tools, craft stuff and more. There was no way I could do anything without cleaning that up, so I did. I put away a number of things that don't belong there, put some sale items on the shelves to clear table space and finally, I reset the cloth backdrop I use to take pictures of items I'm selling. There, that actually looked nice and made me want to start using the space again for its intended purpose - selling on ebay.

I photographed and wrote descriptions for 3 auctions and just finished posting them online. These are my first auctions since December. I have tons and tons of stuff to list. Now that I cleaned up my work space, I'm going to keep it that way and make ebay a regular part of my routine again.

February 2010 Survey Income

March 2nd, 2010 at 08:33 pm

I thought my income from surveys for February was going to be low because it felt like I passed up a lot of programs, but it actually turned out to be $503 which was fine. It was kind of skewed, though, because I only count money actually received during the month. One company I do ongoing programs for only pays when I accumulate $100 in credit and that happened in February. Now I won't get anything from them for another 3-4 months.

I was really busy in February with other things, especially at my synagogue, so I didn't get to do many of the surveys I was invited for. That may impact the March numbers. I'm trying to get back on track as things have calmed down some. We'll see.