4

Not Really Sure I Get this WordPress Thing

I’m not really sure how I ended up at this point in the world of blogdom. Last summer I was really bored. And as usual, more money would have been nice. So I went to Elance to see what types of freelancing jobs might be available. I didn’t really find much, except some writing work. I signed up, then realized I no longer had any portfolio of my work.

Yikes! It had been so long since I had done real business writing that if any of it had survived, it would be on a floppy disc. And the computer doesn’t have a floppy drive (and even I know that meant there wouldn’t be anything on the hard drive since it was a different computer). And I didn’t know where any of that stuff would be. And it was really hot. And I didn’t want to root through all of my ultra-unorganized piles.

So I had a brilliant idea. I would polish up my writing skills on a blog and create a new portfolio. One minor problem. I didn’t really know what a blog was. Or how to start one. So I went to Google and found WordPress. I have no idea why I chose it. It’s not at the top of the list. But its little write-up said it was easy to use. Sounded perfect. Did you know that on October 13, 2012, they counted 56.6 million blogs internationally on WordPress?

So I jumped in. Did I want to rent my own domain for greater control? Control of what? That would be a no for the moment.

What theme did I want? Looked through lots of them. It would have been a lot easier if I really knew what I wanted to write about.

What should I write about? Write about what you know. What do I know? Family? No. We’re way too private and not all that interesting. Being bipolar? No. I was stable, so there weren’t any current interesting stories. My religious studies? No. I’d been writing for that for years and it was way to intellectual to help me in the “real” world.

OK. Day-to-day life it was. Rats. Still no themes that struck me. There are not a lot of looks that scream over-educated stocker in retail store. I found something innocuous and went with it. Later I found this chocolate one. It’s a much better match for me.

How often do I write? Some say daily. Some say when inspiration hits you. It’s a discipline. It’s a hobby. Make sure however often you write to do it consistently so your followers can find you.

Followers? Who is going to want to read my attempts to get my writing skills back?

Personal Info? Family won’t want to be mentioned in detail. Nothing really exciting about me. Hmm. I still need to work on that. It’s only been eight months.

Who is my audience? Beats me. Obviously I haven’t thought this through very well. I had just wanted something that would keep track of what I was writing. You know, better than the floppy discs.

What widgets did I want? What’s a widget? I read all the descriptions. They were not particularly helpful.

What social media did I want to interface with? Ummm. Not exactly the queen of social media. Have I mentioned how introverted and private I am? Connected with Facebook and LinkedIn. Not really sure if it’s helping since I never have time to go on either.

OK. Let’s get started. Actually the writing wasn’t as hard as I thought it might be. But then there were new questions.

Who should I follow? How do they determine those “You Might Like” sites? Were the people on the Recommended List better than the others or more popular or did they know someone important?

What is Freshly Pressed? How does that happen?

Why couldn’t I really tell the difference between the “regular” bloggers and the “recommended” and the “freshly pressed”? I wandered around a little and decided to just let randomness happen.

So far, so good. The newest question is: do you want to grow your blog? I have no idea. From what I can tell, number of followers doesn’t really correlate to the quality of the blog. Guess I need to think more about that.

I love following as much as I love writing. I am learning so much.  I have humor, poetry, art, science, and intellectual stuff (and cat pictures of course). Maybe that’s why my “You Might Like” has gotten so eclectic.

By the way, thank you to anyone who’s been reading. If I know who you are, I have been to your site and probably picked up something (useful blog tips, not a disease).

So much for thinking. I need to go take a nap. Or cuddle with the cats. Oh yeah. Dinner for tomorrow.

9

You Lost All of It?

I will admit to being one of the least organized people around. Sadly, one of the best parts of my job is the awful uniform I have to wear. Since they tell me I have to wear one of their shirts, khaki pants, and a blue fleece over the shirt, I never have to get up and spend 10 minutes trying to figure out what to wear. Yes, I know. You’re supposed to pick it out the night before and put it aside so all you have to do is wear it. I could never get motivated enough to do it. So I’d wake up with the “perfect” outfit in mind. Then I couldn’t find the blouse I had in mind. Or any blouse that would work. Or realize that the sweater really didn’t match the skirt. Or the tights were dirty.

I can never find my keys. My husband told me to always leave them in the same place. Silly man. If I could remember to do that, I wouldn’t keep losing them. I’m the sort that comes home on a good day and leaves my purse, gloves, keys, sunglasses, etc. all in one place – preferably on the floor behind my chair in the dining room so I can find them in the morning. If I’ve been shopping, I drop things where I can before I lose the bags I’m carrying. If I’m upset, things end up in whatever room I find someone to complain to (even if it’s the cats). As much as I love my cats, they are not at all helpful in finding lost keys.

My daughter gave me a stuffed Tigger key chain. Tigger is too large to comfortably fit in my coat pocket. Tigger has a bad habit of walking away from where I put him. How else to explain continuing to lose keys that are attached to a stuffed animal? My husband got me one of those electric tracker things. You put a fob on your key chain and the base unit someplace safe. If you can’t find the keys, press the color corresponding to your fob and it will beep. Assuming you remember what color you used. And have some clue where you left the keys.

I recently completed a three-year course in religious studies. I really enjoyed it. Especially when I put the books somewhere obvious so I would remember to do the homework. And remember to take the homework with me. And remember where I put the folder so I could take the homework with me. Luckily, most studying comes easily to me, so I could usually fake it if I couldn’t find what I needed. The strangest part was that as soon as I got home, it would magically reappear.

I tried to do better with the papers that my kids brought home from school. As soon as they would hand it to me, I would sign it and give it back. It worked really well with my daughter. My son, if possible, is even more absent-minded than I am. Between us, we have spent more than a week trying to get something back to school, while my daughter reminds us that the deadline is getting closer. I thought the Internet was supposed to have made us a paperless society by now? Why am I still signing all these forms?

I just found out what happens if this personality trait goes corporate. My mother recently spent a lot of time in hospitals and rehab centers. “Her” hospital normally sent her to rehab facilities somewhere in their general vicinity. This fall, we got lucky and they sent her to a place out here. Unfortunately, she went back in the hospital and was sent to rehab in a very nice neighborhood that isn’t close to either her house or ours.

I should have had some clue there would be a problem when I filled out the inventory of her belongings and they told me they would file it. Not put it in her file. File it. That is the last anyone has seen of the list. It’s not like there was anything too significant on it. But it was all the clothes she was going to wear while she was there.

Mother got pneumonia and had to go to a very nice hospital in the very nice neighborhood. Too bad she was too sick to eat; the food was delicious. Since the rehab center sent Mom over, and she was returning to the rehab center, I didn’t think anything of the clothes in her closet. Sometimes, ignorance is bliss.

After a few days, Mom returned to rehab. She had no clothes. I called and asked the person answering the phone who I should speak with about the clothes, explaining that Mom wasn’t a new resident. That person didn’t know but said she would forward the message to the social worker. It seemed a little odd that the social worker would have nothing better to do than look after clothes, but who knows? I have no idea what happened next because there was no follow-up at all. I called again and they found the clothes that my mother was wearing before she went into the hospital with the dirty laundry. I guess that makes sense. She’s only been gone a week and a half. What institution does laundry more often than that?

My mother asked the nurses and aides. They have no idea (obviously) but offered to help find out. One of the therapists calls me and told me that no one on the floor can find the clothes, but she will talk to housekeeping. Once again, silence.

In the meantime, I had to buy clothes so Mom could come over for Christmas. A few days after Christmas, I received a call from Housekeeping. No one told them my mother wasn’t a new patient. Her clothing had been in storage the whole time. When I was ready, I should call and they would have the stuff ready.

Last Thursday, the rehab center called and said that Mom would be released on Friday to be taken to a nursing home. I called Housekeeping and told them that my husband would pick up the clothes when he picked up my mother. Fine. They would be in a box in her room.

Guess what? No clothes Friday afternoon. My husband did his best to get them to understand that he wanted the clothes. He said that if they couldn’t find the clothes, he wanted payment. Someone “in charge” said she would find the clothes and send them to us. I had to buy more clothes for the nursing home.

What I can’t figure out is what they would have done with the clothes in the week she was at the hospital. My guess is that someone stole the clothes to resell them. There has got to be a huge market for used polyester pants and white cotton socks.

0

They Missed Me!

Today was my first day back after vacation. So I was excited, eager, and chomping at the bit. (Please don’t believe that.) But I was there 2 minutes before I had to clock in. As I wandered through the back room, I pondered the irony of Labor Day. Originally created to celebrate the value of the working (wo)man, it has become another one of the “three-day weekend” “holiday sale” days.  The power of our union was demonstrated in the “need” for us to work to supply the “needs” of the rest of the workforce on their day off. Walter Reuther would not be proud.

On the bright side, we are paid double time to work holidays. Probably because we have to work twice as hard to see half the results.

First thing off, I walk into the cooler and there are sheets taped to each of the many carts. Seems that while I was gone, the team leader had been in there and decided that we have too many carts. Not being able to move once you open the door was probably a clue. Now I have to sign and date the sheet after I have worked the cart so we will know which carts have been worked. Somehow this will lessen the number of carts in the cooler. Particularly since I am the only one working in there during the week. So I am leaving notes to myself telling me what I have been doing. Guess that’s why I’m not fast-tracking to management (a scary thought).

I go out to the floor and notice that we will soon have fewer carts in the cooler; there is very little merchandise on the shelves. Back in the cooler, I notice that all of the stuff still seems to be in the carts in the middle of the cooler rather than the carts on the sides (its new home). It seems that someone may have spent a little too much time organizing and not enough stocking? Just asking.

One interesting thing about Labor Day there – people seem to think of a trip to the store as a family outing. School starts tomorrow, so it’s one last opportunity to get everyone in the car and do this week’s grocery shopping and back-to-school shopping and summer close-out shopping. What happened to barbecues and a last trip to the lake? My kids give me a list of what they need, and I bring it home. All of us are much happier. (At least I think we are – we’ve never tried the shopping-as-bonding-time idea.)

So I drag a cart out and start stocking. By 7a there are several people shopping. It steadily increases as I keep working. These people are the ones who want to “beat the crowd”. Of course, other people have the same idea, so they all become the crowd. (If they really wanted to beat the crowd, they probably would have shopped at the end of last week – or tomorrow). Generally speaking, these are people doing their regular shopping, not just picking up a couple of forgotten items for the picnic. I can’t think of a better way to spend my last paid day off of the summer – set the alarm, get up early, and go grocery shopping.

My team leader comes by and tells me that the VP is coming tomorrow so I should make sure all the holes are filled. If she had actually looked at the displays, she would have realized that she was delusional. There were more holes than stock. But maybe you need to be in that position.

Because there was so much stuff in the cooler rather than the floor, I spent a large amount of time walking back and forth getting things that were waiting to be put out. By the same law that makes the only person in the aisle stand in the place you are working, the only thing a person wants is something that is neither on the cart you have on the floor or in its space. But at least it’s out of the cooler!

The faster I worked, the busier it got. At times, I couldn’t even get to a place to stock. I never got caught up. In fact, by the time I left it looked worse than when I got there. But I had gotten rid of some of the carts! Too bad there will be replacements tomorrow.

If they could get this organized while I’m gone for a week, it should only take a couple of weeks to get it back to its old, dysfunctional state. The one where I could find anything I needed when I needed it.