Monday, September 13, 2010

Day 272

I think I put my plumber's kid through college today. My plumbing problems were worse than I anticipated, but at the end of a rather long day, just about everything is fixed. I thought I was going to have to replace the garbage disposal, but it turned out that nothing was wrong with it. The basic problem was that all the plumbing lines in the entire house were filled with years and years of gunk. After snaking out all the plumbing lines, I had the plumber take a look at my ailing Moen faucet. Three plumbers in a row have refused to touch the thing, since parts are no longer available. This guy was good though. He managed to put together a working faucet from parts I had saved from various broken faucets I've accumulated over the years from my rent property. Since both houses are the same mid-century modern architecture, they share a lot of the same hardware. I was delighted to have the vintage faucet working again, so I went from room to room, asking the plumber to fix everything that had water running through it. I learned a long time ago that when you find a good plumber, you've got to take advantage of it.

I actually enjoy having plumbers over to the house. I usually learn something from them and often I can help them out as well because we often discover that I have a better selection of tools than they do. Today's plumber even liked dogs, which was definitely a good thing since Dot barked almost the entire time he was at the house.

Plumbers, electricians and HVAC repairmen seem to take pride in their work and are usually very knowledgeable. The fact that they have to be certified and pass certain tests in order to work in the state of Texas automatically puts them several levels above roofing contractors and tile guys. I've generally had good experiences with plumbers and feel comfortable recommending them to friends. Roofers are an entirely different kettle of fish. Maybe there's a good roofer out there somewhere, but I've never met one. As far as I'm concerned, they're all worthless. It's really too bad that plumbers don't fix roof leaks. I'm sure they'd do a much better job than all the roofing contractors I've tried.

I got an e-mail today from one of my German clients asking if I'd like to fly to Alberta and interview some people for an article they'd like me to write about a large gas pipeline project they're involved with. Sure, why not? It's only a seven hour flight, plus another four hours of driving even further north from the Edmonton airport. Actually the project sounds fun. I hate to have to front the travel costs for a project like this, but my client is pretty good about paying expenses quickly. If I get my invoices in in a hurry, they might even pay before my travel bills arrive. I'm going to tell them I'd like to take the assignment. I really need to start writing for the corporate folks again. I used to make a real good living doing this sort of thing. I can tell you from experience that writing pays much better than designing websites.

Dalmatian of the Day

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  1. "writing pays much better than designing websites." Ha! Depends on who's paying. Most online writing assignments pay pennies. I write a 500-word monthly column for my paper, and only get $20 for it.

  2. Online writing assignments are a joke. Don't waste your time with them.

    Even traditional editorial assignments for magazines and newspapers don't pay enough to live on these days. You have to be a Dave Barry or Andy Rooney before you can make any money as a print media columnist. It's only going to get worse in the future too. Just compare how thick your daily newspaper was ten years ago with how thick it is today. Newspapers are dying.

    Advertising copywriters still do OK though, I think writing TV commercials pays the best, although you can do quite well writing annual reports for Fortune 500 companies too.

    Even advertising writing is on the decline though. Nobody reads anymore.

  3. John- Well, if I could find any other way to make money, I wouldn't do it, but when I need cash right now, to pay the bills, it has to do. Trying to promote book sales ( which don't pay expenses, only the printing of the book yet, but I'm getting close to having that paid), hoping to get sales of eBooks built up slowly, will have some fiction bringing in diddly-squat royalties (but something) soon. Hoping against hope that the proposal I sent last week will be the BEST of the lot, and then I'll be busy and have money for 2 years!