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My Assistants: Working From Home

When you work from home, having someone to be your personal assistant is not a luxury that many are afforded. I am fortunate enough to have a good support system and, on school holidays, the children take turns being my “assistant” for the day. What this means is that I won’t have to get my own coffee, let the dogs in our out, check the mail,  or anything else (besides going pee) that requires me to get up and leave my desk. This does take some careful orchestration. Because I work in a call center, my office must have a quiet, distraction free area and there needs to be zero background noise. Fortunately for me, my company allows for me to have my phone in the office with me so long as it remains silent. This means I can text one of the kiddos in another part of the house and request a reheat of my coffee or for them to bring me a lunch.

I try to give them leeway in somethings. Surprise me with what you are bringing me for lunch. Come and check on me every now and then. What they do is quietly open the door, give me a thumbs up and if I do the same in return, they will go away satisfied. If I don’t, I will wave them in and write down whatever it is I need for them to do. This is something that works for our household and is not easy to accomplish for everyone. It enables me to teach them a value of a good day’s work and it allows me to ensure they are OK while working. Obviously you cannot do this with a child under the age of 8. However, for older kids, it is a great way to teach valuable lessons, while ensuring they are OK throughout the day as well as getting your work done.

Of course the kiddos go back to school. Most days that I work, they are doing their job of earning an education. My job makes us money and their job ensures they are able to get a job better than I what I have and to help them become productive citizens after being on this planet for a couple of decades. It works for us to think of it this way.  When they are out doing their “jobs.” I still have assistants. The dogs. 🙂

On their own, the dogs we have understand that Mommy’s office is a no bark zone. I am not entirely sure if that is anything that I taught them. But, when they are quarantined in the office with me, should someone knock on the door or they hear something, they whisper bark. It is something more of a bark that is mumbled under the breath. They are great at letting me know if they hear something. They are also considerate of the noise they make if I am able to leave my office door open. That doesn’t happen much but I do that to allow them to come and go instead of being locked up in a stifling server room. They also remind me that it is time to take a break and rest my eyes for a few minutes. When you work in an office setting, whether it is work at home, or if it is in a brick and mortar office, breaks and lunches are important. They give you the opportunity to get up, stretch, rest your eyes and decompress for a few minutes. Depending on how long my lunch is, I am afforded the opportunity to play fetch in the yard or even take them for a walk.

Each of my assistant’s have their own style and affect my day positively in different ways. I would not be able to enjoy the lifestyle that is working from home without them.

What do YOU think?

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Posted for work: Working In-Office vs. Working at Home

This post is originally found on my work place’s FB page ans was initially written for there. However, it is my creation and I would like to share it with you!

Working In-Office vs. Working at Home
 
We all have our validated reasons for working from home and what makes the lifestyle work for us. Once again, my decision to remain an at-home professional was validated by something simple as walking my son to the bus stop this morning. Here is my little tidbit as to why I am making working from home work for me.
 
Lets back up by saying I woke up before my alarm clock to start my day. Rarely this happens but it can be a glorious thing if you embrace it! Out of bed I sprung…getting some house hold things done prior to walking the kiddo to the bus and clocking in for my daily grind. Normally, I will have started on my coffee rations prior to walking to the bus. However, this morning, I was so busy that I failed to get that far. So, as I was on my way out the door, I grabbed a cup of that morning happy and took it with me to enjoy while chatting with the kids at the bus stop. Just as an aside here, everyone knows that a full cup of java and any article of clothing that happens to be white are not friends. Try as they might, it is just not a happy situation. Thankfully, I make it a habit to try and not wear much white because Murphy’s Law dictates that my coffee will find its way to the white article of clothing and make me look like I am a slob. Or at least like this:
 
 
Sure enough, as we walked to the end of the driveway, what did I do? I sloshed the coffee and there it was: coffee on my shirt. It never fails. Anyone who knows me, knows that I am not very graceful when it comes to walking and I try to find ways to fall over things that are not there. (Ghosts! They are tripping!) Add to the long list of talents: The inability to walk and carry a full mug of joe. So yeah, while minor, that was a valid reason to add to my plethora of excuses (well, not really excuses but list was too…repetitive) as to why working from home is the lifestyle that works for me.
 
What is on your list validating that remaining an at-home professional is the right choice for you? What do YOU say?

They are watching

The other day, yhe cable company came and did some work on the lines up the street. We all know I wanted to go scream at them and tell them they better not interrupt my internet without telling me first. Lucky for them, I was off that day. This means the sight of the bucket truck with “isp” on the side didn’t give me anxiety attacks. Besides, I was having a great day and was not going to let a silly field tech ruin my day. So ling as my stuff worked when I had to navigate that heckacious hallway traffic and go to work, they can do what they need to do.

This morning, Cal and I went for a morning constitutional
As we rounded the end of the road, we noted the high schoolers were boarding the school bus. Attempting not to “embarass” the grumpy smurf, we walked the other way. Early in the morning, I admire the sky and like to watch the birds flutter from here to therem its just a beautiful thing. As we turned to go the other way, I turned and looked at the cables that the isp was working on just the day before.

(O.o) There is a……FACE….on the cables.

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1. “What is THAT?!” I said.
2. **Micaa pulls out phone.**
3. “Come on. What are doing?” Says Cal. “I have to take a picture of that. It has a FACE!”

So I am standing there, taking a picture. Phone all in the air and the bus goes by. I just know I was being stared at. Cal turned to the bus and shrugged his shoulders. I imagine there were about seven teenagers asling the Smurf “What is yo momma doin this time girl?!” I can also envision the Smurf, with her face in her hands, shaking her head from emberassment. She will tell me later that I should have waited. I know. I know. Ah, but I digress. Back to the face. That FACE.

It is watching us. Never mind the city cameras. This confounded thing looks like an ALIEN! Even better, it looks lkke the good robot fro that Will Smith movie ‘irobot’ went and got high and infected the cable lines. OMG!! They have made the CABLES self aware! Its bad enough that the computers and machinescan now watch us (did you know they make an alarm system with a latch key feature to tell you when your kid leaves the house or someone else goes in the perimiter when you are not there? What? Honestly I didn’t think peeps left their minors home alone anymore. Oops. Another digression…) But yea! Now they have to go and make the cabling self aware! I will never look at my beloved phone charger the same way again

Why don’t they just force us to wear iris cameras and mark every move we make. That is where its going. At least until Blaine and Patricia come along and begin to destroy the paths to the Beam. (In case you didn’t know, that was a terrible, inaccurate reference to the 11.5 books by Stephen King so lovingly referred to as “The Gunslinger Series.” If you have a complete few weeks of your life to totally become…you should check it out.

What do YOU think?

My Work Computer Works Too Hard

Recently, my dear Calvin has been using E-cigarettes so he can smoke in the house. This is a great alternative for him because he CAN smoke those things in the house, its not bottom of the ashtray smelly, and it is less damaging to his health. We all win here. About a week ago, I purchased a “different” type of E-cigarette for him to add to his collection. (Ok, yea, it was a coupon that paid for it but I did “buy” it because those free coupons do not pay taxes.) This one came with a “usb charger” which did not have a cord.

Ok, so I keep it in my office and will charge it when it needs to be charged. No problem. For those of you not familiar with the E-cigarette phenomenon, some of them are manufactured to look real. MarkTen does just that with their shiny new model. Here is the box.

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It lasted for a while and I was impressed that Calvin had not asked for it to be charged. I say it went for about 9 days before he came to me to charge it. Instead of using one of the phone charger plugs and because I was tethered to my machine (yes, I work. A LOT. Mini digression! hehe,) I just plugged it into the usb port on one of the computers in the office. I went on about my work but kept noting something out of the corner of my eye.

OMG! My computer must really be stressed! I must be working it too hard. Oh. My. IT IS “SMOKING.”

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I found this thought to be hilarious and send a picture of it to my husband via text message. I have found that sometimes my wit fails in a text and this was one of them. If fail were fire, that e-cigarette would have set me aflame in negative two seconds. He comes in the office and looks at my tower. Inspects the back of it, shakes his head and leaves. I sit there, in the middle of a call wondering, “What in the hell did he do that for?”  He came back later, when I was at the end of my day and did the same thing. I asked him if he got my message. He replied that he did and I told him. “Jeez! It’s hilarious! Go look!” He shot me a glance that indicated he believed I had lost all the cheese off my cracker AND the cracker finally crumbled. He walks into my office and sits in my chair and said, ok, where is it smoking at.

This was when I discovered that my wit had failed here. He was genuinely concerned and worried about me. He knows how much my work means to me and if something happens to the internet or a piece of my set up I become flippant and overly emotional. We were thinking about two wholly different things here and I failed to realize that. In that moment, I felt bad. I had no intention of making him worry like that and I was a bad wife for laughing the whole time. I finally explained what I meant. What was even a bigger failure is that, when the E-cigarette is done charging, the fake fire on the end of it goes OUT. Soooo, by the time his fanny hit my office chair, the fake fire light was out and it was not as funny as it was in the beginning.

I was able to explain my skewed humor about the “smoking” computer and he was not impressed. Calvin 1, Micaa 0. 😦  I did, however succeed in proving that when it charges, the fake fire light illuminates. I plugged it into the phone charger plug and it lit up. See Love? The charger is “smoking!”  Ya, you guessed it, he shooed me away and called me silly. Such it is that we are.

I still adore him though. Even if my internal humor is lost in the translation. I still think its funny that my computer decided to find a stress reliever in that it “smokes” E cigarettes.

What do YOU think?

Death of the Alphabet

Here is something new! (Yes, folks, digression, right off the bat. All commas and junk!) I am writing a post as soon as it pops into my noggin! Woot! Go me!

Ok, I was sitting here chatting with a blogger in kind ( yes, it is during work hours and I know, I chat with no physical form of persons, gimme a break. You know how I do this….MAN!) and she mentioned that her wireless keyboard batteries were dying. They were new and supposed to last for a year! That is how it is with batteries. Just like people. They have a tendency to run down when you least expect it. Instead of sharing my line of thought, I did continue the conversation we were having prior about fingernail polish because I was currently digging my nails out of the tips of my fingers from the hot pink fiasco of 2014. I love to wear nail polish but I despise removing it. Maybe I should not put eighteen layers on and let it chip away only to cover it again 2 days later. (LOOK! I digressed again! Squirrel! Fall {NOT fail because squirrels make me fall off the sidewalk when there is nothing to fall off of.} ! Ugh, I need the ADD meds here huh?)

While I was contemplating her distress, I sadly looked over at the shiny box which my own wireless mouse and keyboard currently reside. For nearly every WAH company I have worked for, they demand that everything is tethered to your machine. Wired keyboard, wired headset, wired mouse. Out of habit, I keep it like that. From time to time, I have to bring it out as a reference because, yes, I am very brave and let the other souls in my house use my work pc. It is just an awesome machine and sometimes, we need awesome to do its magic on the Interwebs. So, yes, I gazed wantingly upon the box. It was out recently for reference.

While attempting to remove the pink from my ring finger, I looked down upon my current keyboard. It does not matter to me what the status of the letters are upon the keys because I type well and have no need to look at the keyboard when I type. Sadly, I note, the Alphabet is dying. Some letters are half there, others are bent all outta shape and some are simply….gone.

So maybe they are not dying off but they are divorcing me because they hate that I type like Speed Racer. Yes, I shall name my keyboard “Mach 5.” The silly things we do. Really. Ah but yes, in other worlds than mine, the alphabet is ceasing to type due to failed battery life and mine, well, are just going away. Like better souls to heaven or to become one with Earth, however you see fit. One day, I will bring out the wireless and get brave. I do think I may get a wireless headset first but then I may get into trouble because that does free me to roam through the house. Ok. THAT is a bad idea but I DO have that nice keyboard over there <—— and I just may. BET ME!!! (as Dad would say.)

Ok. Rant over. Not well thought out but posted impromptu! Go me!

In other news…..I am now the proud owner of a “spife!” Who knew these things existed!

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This post was brought to you today by KELLA!  Yes, I yelled that because its cool to say out loud. Check out her blog! This is my way of saying she should return to it and pick it back up since she asked me earlier and I didn’t respond. 🙂

http://collaboratingchaos.wordpress.com

The Zombie Apocalypse is Among Us.

As a person who works from home, my exposure to natural sunlight is limited to what I actually allow myself. Sometimes, I can go for days without so much as opening the door to my home because I can do everything from the comfort of my home office. From work to social media, even shopping and paying the bills, I never have to leave my house if I want to. (Remember Reclusivity is Possible?) As a result, I notice my body undergo changes if I do not get some sunlight exposure. I am going to share this observation with you in an effort to curb the Zombie affect.

Since the interwebs have become mainstream in our society, certain things have occurred. Society has become so dependent on electronic devices that even our Supreme Court has so noted that aliens will one day come and observe our culture via archaeology and will come to believe that our cell phones are an appendage to our bodies and not some separate device used for its convenience. I am no UFO or digging expert but I think I will agree with our Supreme Court justices on this one. Also, I am no scientist but (returning to my topic) when I go days without getting some natural sunlight on my skin, I notice that, when I get an itch and I go to scratch it, it feels different.

This can be a passing itch or even one from a mosquito bite. When I go to scratch, it feels like the first layer of my skin is going to tear like it is a thin sheet of bible paper. Seriously! It feels just like that. I go t scratch the itch, ever so gently and I feel like I am digging for china and that my skin will simply rip open and there will be a valley in my arm, leg, neck, whatever, that will be beyond repair.

Those of us who ignore minimal signs like this are the Zombies among us. They end up scratching. Then they get sores and become pale and sickly. When they do decide to become human for a moment, they have become unkempt, smell, and REALLY need to change their fading clothes. Yes folks, the interwebs have made Zombies of us all. It is the few (like me) that occasionally visit the healing rays of the sun (IN moderation!) to allow our skin to repair and strengthen almost like plants do when they photosynthesize.

These are the conclusions as I walk to the store for my soda allotment for the week when I return to my cave to work. Maybe I AM a Zombie too. Should I just submit to the inevitable?

What do YOU think?

Sometimes I Just Put My Headset On While the Dogs Snort at Me

I have been working from home (off and on) since I was a teenager. This time around it has been solidly for 3 years. My kids, friends, and family now know the routine. DO NOT DISTURB WHEN WORKING.  Sometimes, I can work with my office door open. While it does not happen often, I have to make it a point for them to understand when I am not to be disturbed.  This was quite frustrating at first but I really did not have to make much effort after about the first month. It was vibrantly clear when mom was working and when she was not.

When this epiphany first happened, I noted that it started with baby who was then 4 years old. Only this time I was not really working. When I don’t work and I have to sit down at my desk for some tedious task, I unplug the headset and use the speakers. This particular day, I felt it too much of an effort and just put the headset on and began checking emails. My desk faces the door to my office so I can see when the dogs have to go. (Yes, they are trained to let me know quietly when they have to go instead of scratching frantically on the door.) I had left the door open and this was during the time which I often would work with the door open. (Gawd, I miss doing chat support.)

Lo and behold, here comes the four year old bopping around the corner to come and tell me some amazing story of some thing or another he just built with his stuffs in his room. He looks up at me as I sit and wait for him to open his mouth and spew out his musical little voice and he stops dead in his tracks.  He stares at me for what I believed to be an eternity but my peripheral vision noted about 3 seconds (according to my work clock sitting on my desk.) He immediately about faced, and marched right back to the oblivion from whence he came. No noise, no speak, were I “on the phone” the caller would not have been the wiser.

I sat there slack jawed for another moment or two then lights began to go on in my brain.  My children DO listen! They DO understand! Oh. My. Gawsh!  I am utterly impressed. Fast forward to the fact that said child is now seven. He does fail to remember from time to time that when that door is closed, DO NOT BOTHER MOMMY. They simply have to pretend I am not there. Further, they still have to get along because I will become a fierce dragon should the living room turn into a UFC ring the moment their father steps outside for a moment. Ah, such it is that we are. Family.  Yea, they know. Sometimes they need a gentle reminder so I have posted the picture on this blog on my door.

Those of you who know, we do not have a cat the first. Therefore, the names of the animals have been changed accordingly. Yes, Dogs. The constant through all of this? I am no longer facing the door but the dogs still let me know quietly they have to go. Snorting under the door works fine because if a customer ever hears it (not that they will, wonderful noise cancelling mike, sliced bread was the last greatest thing) I can always blame it on a sneeze. 🙂 

Now I just have to figure out how to let the dogs know that putting their muddy paws on the window frame is not acceptable when I am working. I am certain the whole neighborhood knows where I spend most of my time as I often leave the dogs outside and they immediately come to my window to say hi. The upside to that? Who needs a mirror to smile in when the dogs are making you smile and sound (to the customer) like you are thrilled to have them yell at you for something that is probably their own fault.

What do YOU think?Image

Calling ‘home’ from work.

Sometimes I work on Saturdays. Most Saturdays, our teenager has some sort of thing she has to rush off to and blesses us with the lack of her teenagery presence. Well, maybe not a blessing because she is our gurl and we miss her when she is not here. Just don’t miss that ‘tude so much.

 

At any rate. Working from home, WAH Professionals know it is not as easy as going into the other room and waking said teenager then coming back to your office and return to work.  This is where I have to “call home” and make sure the teenager is up and getting ready so she wont be late to her activity. Anyone with teens knows for sure that if they miss something, no matter how trivial it is to YOU, tears will ensue.

 

So, here I sit tethered to my machine (work has a strict rule that thou shalt be ball and chained to your computer as wireless anything is a big NO NO) trying to get her attention.  She is only 2 rooms away and I know she has to be out the door by half the hour to arrive on time. Texting, texting, texting….no reply. Hrmmmm. It is slow. Maybe I can sneak in an actual call to her without a call coming in from work. Calling……..no answer. Figures, the teen keeps her phone on silent and unless she is looking at the physical phone itself, she is not going to see the thing blinking like a fire truck blaring down the street. Ugh! Time to call the house. Never mind I get lots of flashy lights and notifications in my office when the house phone rings and it annoys me greatly but here we go…..RING (as I hear it through the walls) RING…. RING…..

 

Sleepily, a voice answers. Ah, yes. Just the voice I am painfully searching for. “Are you up m’dear? Get up Daddy so you can go, go, go!!!”  She replies with an “OK Mom. Love ya.” Of course the teenager only says that because she is still SLEEPY!  But hey, it works. I accomplished getting them up and running from the comfort of my floppy bunny slippers.

 

What do YOU think?

 

Disclaimer: Author has several blog outlets and pages. This entry is reprinted on those for high level access.

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