Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Buckling Up and Down

My posting will be spottier over the next several days because a lot of freelance work has come my way this week. Every evening, I'm on the phone from 2.5 to 4.5 hours doing level tests and I got almost 100 reports (each is 4 pages long) to correct today. This is on top of my usual complement of private students.

Since the phone tests run until 10:30 pm, I had to arrange for meals for the 4 nights I'm doing them so I made a vat of chicken stir-fry last night. It's a bit like stocking up for a long, harsh winter. While the stir fry is tasty, I'm sure my husband and I will get rather sick of it after a few days and desire more variation. Given the way things have been going expense-wise for us though, it's just as well that I'm getting more work (as you'll see below).

Life as of late has been incredibly busy. It reminds me quite a lot of how we used to spend nearly every weekend when we lived in the U.S. running errands. This past weekend was full of little chores and tasks that ate up free time and generally made for a less relaxing time of it. The worst part of it was that so many of the things seemed like time and effort spent for no tangible results. Among others:
  • My husband called and made an appointment for a health check-up and got one for the next day. Despite having an appointment, he had to wait a very long time to have his tests done and the doctor was woefully uninterested in really giving him a proper look. Japanese doctors never want to spend much time with patients because they get paid by the person. Even though my husband paid cash and it was not cheap (about $300) for his care, he was given very cursory treatment. My husband has to wait for test results now so he walked away no wiser than he walked in.
  • We contacted Toshiba about repairing some problems with our oven. It's had a sticky time-setting knob for a very long time but it's gotten to the point where it's very frustrating and difficult to set the time for either baking or microwave cooking. The lower left hand corner of the door also was cracked and the glass in the front (it's got two panels of glass - one in front and one in back) is slipping down because of it. Toshiba sent someone over the next day but he said they couldn't fix it for sure and the attempt would cost 20,000 yen (about $180) and a new oven would cost about 35,000 yen. They claimed the knob problem was a circuit board issue but this doesn't explain why it turns more easily when it is warm. I can't help thinking a can of WD-40 would repair it but I've never seen it sold in Japan. We paid him about $30 for making the trip and nothing got fixed. We're probably going to have to buy a new oven at some point.
  • In an attempt to further tempt fate regarding an upgrade to our internet connection (see my post on our brief and painful flirtation with cable internet if you don't know what I'm referring to), we contacted NTT about our ADSL connection. It turns out that our connection is not 1.5 Mbps as we thought. It's a 12 Mbps. connection. Upgrading to the maximum possible speed will take it to 49 Mbps though they don't guarantee the speed. We decided to opt for the upgrade because it'll only cost about $3 more per month than our current connection. NTT is going to mail us a new modem and I've got to install it myself on Monday, April 9. The switch in service is supposed to occur some time in the morning and I'll know when to swap modems because our old one will just stop working. Here's hoping it all goes smoothly.
  • My husband is going to the U.S. to visit his family in late May and he contacted the travel agency about the documentation he needs to complete. They were supposed to send it via e-mail but he hadn't heard from them in over a week. They promised to send the necessary paperwork via snailmail, but, of course, they have not done so.
Sometimes you do your best to get on top of things and still end up feeling like a hamster on a wheel getting nowhere. This has been one of those weeks.


Helen said...

I have a can of WD-40! I got it at a hardware store up here in lil ol' Tsuruoka. I got verklempt when I saw it and had to buy it just because of that. Now I use it for my bicycle. I think I got it at Homac. My hubby says a Japanese product is similar, he thinks it's called CR-4? Something like that.

Good luck with the testing. Sounds grueling.

Shari said...

Thanks for the information, Helen. I'll try and locate CR-4. It can't hurt to try and could save me some money on a new oven. :-)