i’m going crazy

Back to Normal(ish)

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While extended absences from blogging are “normal” for me… this last one was rather exceptional.

Why? 

I was busy.

Like, really busy (I guess busy-ness is relative… anyways…).

My Brazilian co-workers were in town for a month, and the one brought his sister. The Brazilians are here to work, plan and meet with local clients, but I happily helped out entertaining the sister.

They stayed in downtown Windsor, and I don’t think I’ve ever driven into the city so much since I sold real estate more than a decade ago. There were dinners (the last one being here, a “Christmas” party on Friday night, which was also our 16th wedding anniversary), lunches, day outings and afternoon drinks. It was fun, the sister is a very special person, but it kept me really moving!

In addition to that, we also had some other things going on…

  • SuperBowl Party (fun, but it was pretty mellow)
  • We had a guy stay for a night from Nova Scotia – great guy – he bought 2 of our pinball machines, and they were picked up last week.
  • I fell a little bit down the genealogy rabbit hole, as I’ve recently been in contact with my first cousin, once removed, whom I met briefly with last week.
  • Us ladies went out to celebrate a friend who just published a book.
  • Our Cleveland friends came up for a couple of hours, we met for drinks and apps on the Windsor Riverfront.
  • Hung out with friends on Family Day.
  • We had a plumbing issue in the basement.
  • Plus of course, normal work and fun stuff; date nights with the husband, indoor golf, meeting up with girlfriends, etc.

It doesn’t look like a lot, but it seemed like every day I had at least three places to be!

So no, a little bit back to normal. We’re having a few people here on Saturday to celebrate (early) William’s birthday (and his co-worker, Zack), and because I was able to work a bit on the weekend, I hope to dedicate some time this week to working on a change in my business.

Life is good.

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Things on Thursday

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Things that annoy me (including yesterday):

  • Holes in my socks. So annoying.
  • Shank has a cut on his paw from last Sunday’s walk. He licks it… to the point where it seems to be his duty and obligation to constantly lick, like the fate of the world depends on it. There are wet spots everywhere in the house where he’s enjoyed a licking bender. I’ve bandaged it up ad nauseam. I make him stay next to me in the office so I can watch him. It’s wearing on me.
  • So many things about Facebook. It’s so annoying that Facebook for Business now messages me via messenger everytime anything happens on a boosted post or ad. I don’t have the notifications on (my phone would literally blow up), and finally yesterday I had time to delve into the settings to turn set the annoyance to a minimum (once a week as opposed to about 40 times a day). Also annoying is that businesses can lose their good message response rating by not replying after a conversation. So literally if after a conversation with a customer, and I reply, “thank you”, and they say “you’re welcome”… end of the conversation, right? But because I don’t reply after that, the rating drops. So stupid and annoying!
  • While we enjoy “the fastest Internet in Canada”, yesterday I had many connection issues in the afternoon. William has been complaining about the connection in the evenings, but I don’t notice, as I try not to be online, but yesterday it REALLY affected my productivity and anger level.
  • Being sick on Monday and doing very little has really screwed me up for the week. I have more work to do today than I normally do. Annoying.
  • I’ve been wanting to meet or speak with a client of mine for nearly two months… STILL waiting for their response or phone call. This is kind of a big thing for me! Arg.

Things I’m grateful for (including yesterday):

  • I’m grateful to have socks, but it seems that all my favourites are either without a partner or have a hole in the toe.
  • William and Shank slept on the couch last night so I could sleep without hearing and feeling Shank lick himself. William also did a bang-up job wrapping his foot.
  • I still have a bad cough, but I’m feeling less foggy and much better.
  • Discussed the Super Bowl party plans with William, it should be a good time – and the last party of the party season (which generally runs from American Thanksgiving until Super Bowl).
  • I’m grateful for the clients who either pay me early or pay me on time. Thanks.

That’s it for now, life is good.

Running Out

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I’m feeling much better today than yesterday… but still far from 100%. I actually did sit down yesterday afternoon to do some work to ease my mental stress, but the power was flicking (thereby losing the Internet connection) and then it went out for nearly an hour… so I called it quits for the day.

So, as I sit here this morning, I am again suffering from an ongoing frustration that plagues me each and every working day of late: I’m running out of things to say.

Yep, social media is repetitive (“Tell ’em once, tell ’em twice and tell ’em a third time just in case). I’ve been doing the same thing for the same clients (except for one I acquired last February) for 4, 5, 6, 7 years now. For my one client, I’ve literally “run out” of articles to write about. I’ve completely exhausted the topic. I now pretty much re-write old content and post as new. I literally don’t have a choice. After 5 years, there is nothing left to say.

It’s super frustrating to have this creative and metal block. I feel like I’m not serving my clients as they deserve because I’m either burnt out or a part of me knows that the client “really doesn’t care”. They just want it taken care of with it not affecting their time. (Don’t get me wrong, I do receive the occasional compliments, but for a few of my clients, they are just fine with my job just being “done”, so it’s not something they have to deal with.)

I think all my clients would benefit from a “fresh perspective”. Someone who could discover new things to say online. I wish I could become refreshed and re-invigorated. I wish there was a shot, a pill or something I could take to boost my creative spirit. No, vacations don’t help. There’s so much that needs to be done in advance, I often just end up working while away because it’s easier.

This is not a new feeling or frustration for me – in some sense, I’ve felt it for years now. I’ve taken steps change how I work, and I should know more about that in the next week.

Life, however, is still good.

Deprived

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Wow – as a side not, it’s been 6 years today I’ve been with WordPress… and I think I was with Vox for 4 years! Happy anniversary to me!

I’m not completely sleep deprived, but I’m struggling with it.

We’re getting ready to leave on vacation… oh how luxurious! Indeed it is, but being self employed means I can’t just ‘close up the shop’ and be gone.

I have lists and sub-lists with lists of lists with lists of things to do. It’s all good. It is social media after all and it’s not like I’m missing performing life saving surgery… but it’s still my job and it has to get done.

Which leads me to my point… for the most part (um… alcohol is a factor!) I’m a fairly light sleeper. I am affected by not only noise, but also light. (There’s been many a time where William quietly opens the fridge door and I’m awakened by the light!)

With so much on my mind of late, I find that when I wake up, falling back asleep is impossible.

On Saturday morning I woke up at 3 and decided to go into the office (yes, I have an office of sorts in town) as William was asleep on the couch (my normal office) and I was working by 4:30 am… at home by 9:30.

Today I was awake at 4:30 (I wake up every day at this time) and finally convinced myself that more sleep was not going to happen and I got started on my day at 6am.

Let’s review my goals for this upcoming vacation (yes, I’m really that anal retentive!)

  • Sleep
  • Get some sun
  • Eat well
  • Read and relax
  • Go snorkeling and buy a snorkel shirt
  • Enjoy every second that I’m free of my electronic leash
  • Fun times with my husband

Pretty realistic, eh? Barring a pirate attack or off season hurricane, I should be able make this happen.

However, sleep… William likes to stay up late and I’m a morning person. William likes the TV on a lot, and I’d rather have quiet and dark. Sleep will be the most difficult challenge with regard to my vacation goals.

Yes, I have eye masks and ear plugs. In the past these things have only helped slightly. We have really good headphones and I’m going to look into an ‘extension’ to make them long enough to reach the TV in our room.

Well, back at it… crossed blogging off my list!

SMH

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So with secret blogging skills out, I thought I’d share with you something that makes me shake my head.

Stock photos.

A little background…

For my various clients I used to pay for stock photos from one of the big companies. I spent hundreds a year on photos. It was annoying.

Even more annoying (and beyond) was a few years back when I accidentally used a random pic from Google images on a blog post (I often would do some recon on photos I wanted to use and would save them for reference) and was sued by the stock company who owned the image (the company I probably gave more than a thousand bucks to over the years…)

I was able to negotiate down the fee without having to go to court, but still, it was ridiculous. Since then, I use only ‘free’ photos that are copyright free, no attribution required images. Yay.

However, (and this is my point) often the photos are crap. Like craptacular. Like super crap.

Searching for an appropriate photo for a blog (an essential element!) can sometimes take longer than researching a topic, writing a blog, editing and the actual posting.

Why though?

  • Mislabeled
  • Too ethnic (as example: searching for ‘kids playing’ and only finding barely clothed perhaps homeless children playing on a dirt road is certainly a third world country.)
  • Not ethnically diverse enough
  • They are just crap

Case in point… searching for ‘saving money’

This little gem appeared…

wtf

 

 

 

 

 

WTF?

A potato?

A spoon balancing on a calculator?

For whom could this image possibly be relevant? (Of course suggestions welcomed… please leave a comment)

Then there’s the overuse of keywords… meaning the contributing photographers (bless them all for saving me hundreds a year…) load the keyword description with every imaginable word that could possibly (loosely) be related to the image.

A search for ‘saving money’ also resulted in this bit of stock photo wizardry:

WTF 4

 

 

 

 

Again! Who would use this photo and when? Bandaids on a clock face? Ohhh, how deep in symbolism! Thank goodness someone added the text ‘time heals all wounds’. How profound!

Then there’s this guy…

wtf 2

 

 

 

 

 

I’ve seen this guy so much in free stock photos that I call him Uncle Frank.

WTF 3

 

 

 

 

Regardless of my search criteria (and my clients vary greatly in their stock photo needs!), Uncle Frank appears in my searches approximately 4 out of 5 times. It’s comforting really always to have Uncle Frank there for me, although he has some pain management and apparent depression issues…

WTF 5

 

 

 

 

 

Other times I just don’t know what’s wrong with poor Uncle Frank.

WTF 6

 

 

 

 

 

Oh, how I worry!

WTF 7

 

 

 

 

 

So now the caveat… I’m grateful to these photographers for generously donating their time and sharing their talent. (I’ve actually used several of Uncle Frank’s benefactor’s images) I appreciate the free use of their images greatly as it saves me money.

But.

Sometimes.

You just gotta say.

WTF.

Not a Normal Friday

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Certainly not a normal Friday.

I usually work my schedule to be able to clean the house on Friday mornings after I take the pooches to Mom G’s… but as it worked out I have an oil change in the city, need to pop into an upholstery place, then I need to hit the passport office.

I think the passport office is the Canadian equivalent to the US’s Department of Motor Vehicles, (as seen on TV!) except everyone needs to be able to fluently speak English and French.

You stand in one line and wait, then once they’ve determined you’re not an idiot (or perhaps you are), they direct you to take a number, sit down, get comfortable and wait. You wait among the most ethnically diverse group of people you can image. That might be a consistent problem with the whole process is that so many needing help parce que ils ne sont pas parler anglais. Oh, and screaming babies, arguing adults… weird smells…

Then when your lucky number is called, you get to deal with an impatient, harried civil servant who must absolutely hate their life. (Of course there must be lovely people who work there, who love their jobs and lives, but I’ve never met one.)

The entire ordeal could take 30 minutes or it could take 4 hours… don’t make any immediate plans. Pay the maximum for parking an hope that all works out.

So why do I have to go to the passport office? Good question! It’s because I need a certified copy of my passport to be able to apply for an American Tax Payer Identification Number in order to be able to submit a US 2015 tax return for the 10% Uncle Sam withheld from the sale of our TN house. (Really super annoying as I asked repeatedly if me being a Canadian would have any tax implication with the sale… I easily could have given PF – the other owner and an American – a ‘quit claim’ deed to avoid this whole mess!) Quite the enjoyable process, I say! (Luckily PF was an accountant… and he’s helping me out!)

So… then…

I’m invited to a ‘shop party’ of one of my friends/clients, so I might head back into the city around 4pm to take advantage of this work perk! Yay!

So the house is not going to be cleaned today, which means I’ll either do it tomorrow (William is on call) or it won’t get done at all – in which case I’ll be annoyed until next Friday.

That’s all – life is good.

Jump Out of My Skin

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I’m just not having a good day…

I slept well, got an early start and the dogs aren’t bothering me too much (it’s really cold out and about 1.5 foot of snow) today.

My clients are really not on me today (well, except one, but that’s okay).

I just feel… annoyed. Like I’m gonna snap. Like I wanna face kick a bitch. I also have a lot on my plate this week and I’m irked because:

  • Some people aren’t getting back to me
  • There are some things that I really don’t want to do (mostly because no notices, comments or seems to care that I do them)
  • I don’t feel that great and I don’t really want to do anything! (maybe read and watch TV)

Arg.

What’s a person to do? Head down? Tomorrow will be better? Take care of what I can and let the rest go?

Geez, real sage advice there LG.

I have golf indoor golf league tonight… maybe getting out of the house for a few hours will do the trick (now that I think about it, I haven’t left the house since Saturday…).

We’ll see.

Have a lovely day.