#3599 – mysterys solved?

i think i solved the mystery of my “getcher engine checked soon!!11!1seventytwos” light in my car lighting up and going off seemingly at random; i need to stick to getting exxon gas. i didn’t really think of it until i got exxon for a while and the light seemed to stay off. then one day i had to get shell as mom lent me her shell card as i didn’t have money for gas at the moment, and then later that day it came back on.

after work today i had a quarter tank of gas, and by the time i got to annapolis i had only an eighth of a tank left, so i pulled into the exxon and got one of those bottles of gas “cleaner” (it’s mostly alcohol, designed to help get water out of the tank, but it also cleans out your fuel system as well). since it said to put it in on a mostly empty tank i put it in right away and then filled up with my usual exxon gas. the car still hesitated a little bit when starting, but that’s not that unusual.

when i got home, i turned the car off and back on, and this time it started right up, and the light went off. (the hesitation isn’t very consistent, so sometimes even after driving the car and trying to start it it’ll take a second or two.) i turned the car off, and back on and it came on again no problem. guess i’ll have to stick to exxon.

they finally got my name corrected in our email system at work. it’s only been spelled wrong as “glen” fitzpatrick since 9/29/2003! 😛

today wasn’t bad of a day, work-wise – worked from 7 am – 9 am (with breakfast around 8 as usual), then i had a training class on this system for federal agencies so they could do some of their maintenance on their own. cute girl was in the class too; too bad i don’t have eyes on the back of my head – she was sitting behind and to the left of me. training class went until noon, and then i had lunch from noon until 1 pm. she was sitting by herself in the lunchroom when i got in, but when the room is 95% empty it’s a bit suspect to suddenly sit next to someone and try to strike up a conversation. ah well, it was still good, i had lunch with jess (used to be our inventory control specialist in the store before she went to hq for inventory stuff). back to work at 1, and did my job until 4 when it was time to go.

when i was at lunch with jess i figured out some things: one is that she’s been going out with this short squirrely looking guy who used to deliver our carpets and such from cintas back when i was in the store… it’s extra funny because when he’d come in he was always asking “HAY GUYS WHERE’S JESS?!” and it drove her nuts and she’d be kicking him out of her office, hah – now they’ve been together for almost a year, hahaha.

anyway, she was telling me how her boyfriend has a coworker who’s also an accountant and how he does his friends’ taxes for $50 or so, but he finds all sorts of things to get money back, and now she’s getting about $1000 back on her taxes even though she’s never gotten money back before. i told her how back when i was in the store i had 6% of my paycheck taken out for my 401(k) and suddenly it seemed like i was getting more money back even after that deduction, and then i got the promotion at work and now i’m taking home less per paycheck than i was in the store. she suggested that i was originally getting more since the 6% was lowering the amount of tax taken out since 401(k) deductions are before-tax, and that when i got the promotion it put me into the next tax bracket causing more taxes to be deducted. i didn’t even consider that… it looks like she’s correct, though. before the promotion my salary was $29,996 or so (really, that’s about what it was; i always wondered why they just didn’t bother bumping it up another $4), and after my promotion it’s up to $34,000. since my 401(k) takes out 6%, and $30,650 is 90% of my current salary, i wonder if i bump up my deduction to 10 or 11% if that’ll fix things up? i should do some figuring and see if it’d be worth it.