April 02 2007

Extended weekends make for sucky vacations.  While I enjoyed the extra time with the family and the added evenings of dining and going out (including Thasya) ... it makes Monday mornings such a bear.  I always walk into work and get hit with a fire storm of issues - what I hate most is receiving emails from folks requesting that I give them permission to "not follow the rules".  In my position as Process and Controls Advisor, I teach people about ethics and internal controls.  While at times there are "work arounds" in issues ... I simply cannot say "oh yeah, you are special ... and the ethics rules don't apply to you".  It doesn't make me very popular to say "no" but then I'm not here to win a popularity contest.

Speaking of contest, Thasya has completed her modelling classes.  Long ago (last Oct) we paid for the classes.  Classes ended a few weeks ago, with the only remaining step being to participate in a fashion show.  Seems that for Thasya to participate we have to pay $60 ... which will include her receiving her "class certificate" and seats for 2 to watch the show.  Extra seats (for, say, Chely) is another $20.  Here's the catch ... if she doesn't participate in the fashion show ... to get her certificate she still has to pay money.  Either way she has to pay this "exit fee" to get a certificate for something we have already paid for.  Of course, they didn't tell us all this detail up front.  Its not the money that upsets me, its the principle .... see below.

We've a similar issue with Kaplan's (tutoring company) with Chely.  Prior to starting SAT training with Kaplan's, Chely took a test ... the course was to start the next day and they promised the results would be ready the day of the test.  Well, that was on a Friday ... no results ... we called Monday ... no results, supposedly the "next Friday".  We went around and around for 3 weeks trying to get the results - finally, after threatening that I could come in there and make an "ugly American" scene they gave us the test results.  Now, I recognize that a 1 day turnaround is "quick" but why did they promise it if they were going to fight us on this for 3 weeks.  And you know what?  Does anybody want to wager whether or not Kaplan's will charge for the "exit" exam too?

Speaking of charging, we had to get the girls passports renewed (the then current ones were good for only 5 years).  The basic costs was ~$30 each.  However, there were some issues with Thasya's because of her age and we didn't have a permission letter from her natural father.  Of course, because of that, there was an "added charge" of about $25 .... does it surprise you that they would not give a receipt for the $25? Care to guess where that money went?

And finally, there is the still open issue on the dinnette chairs.  Decy is having them refinish the remaining 6. Its now been about 2 weeks, not sure how much longer that will take - but we do have some power in this .... Decy is withholding final payment on the couch and two chairs they finally delivered (~$900).  The furniture manufacturer understands he won't get his money for the couch and chairs until he returns the dinnette chairs.

*** ah, ain't it a wonderful life here?

About our x-driver, Mustofa, seems lately we've been hearing a lot about his past experiences (other jobs) and some of the things he was doing on his off-hours while working for us.  I won't go into the details - but clearly, sooner or later, things would have come to a head.  So, it is just as well the relationship ended when it did.  We are working thru a canvassing / interviewing process for a replacement driver. In the meantime, Decy's brother Dona is helping us out.

Recall one of our maids, Wiwi, is pregnant.  She will be leaving for her home town in about a week.  We have a temporary (6-9 month) replacement maid.  Her name is Wartini (we call her Tini).  She's small, quiet, and polite like Wiwi and Sumi.  This is good - we don't need strong personalities.  We (shall I say, Decy) will need to train Tini (Wiwi is helping too) and it will take some months to really get her up to speed ... but we will manage. Also, to help out, Sumi is taking on a greater role ... and with that comes an increase in salary for her.

Well, need to take care of some things before I leave for work .... so ....

ciao ciao