Tag: A to Z blogging challenge

Big Z, little Z, what comes after Z?

work-at-homeWell, I did it, I blogged A to Z. Which leaves me at a loss – what do I write about now?

I’ve always written whatever came to my mind, or arose unexpectedly during my day. I could write about something as mundane as what I had for lunch, not because anyone would read it, but just for the joy of the thing.

But Blogging A to Z forced me to actually plan ahead. And schedule posts. I was like a real blogger for a while there!

Now I’ve got a writers’ block of the worst magnitude. It’s as if I hit the reset button on my brain with dire consequences. I’m stumped. I’m bereft.  There is a vast chasm into which I must pour something witty. Not feeling it.

So I did what anyone with writers’ block would do – signed up to chaperone 80 junior high band students on a bus trip to Chicago. I imagine I’ll experience traumas of all kinds, but I’m guessing writers’ block will not be among them.

 See who else participated in Blogging from A to Z

Read my Blogging A to Z series

 

Z is for Zinfandel

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While this might sound suspiciously like my post about coffee, it is geared more toward the end of the work day and is another true advantage of having a home office. Where else can you have a glass of wine as you prep your to-do list for the next day? At least without anyone noticing.

I don’t have a glass of wine every day (really!) but when I do, I’m partial to bold, dry reds. If we don’t have a zinfandel, I opt for a syrah from my favorite boutique winery. Then it’s on to what I call second shift: supervising homework, preparing dinner, coordinating baths, packing lunches, and finding that one piece of laundry I didn’t wash that is needed for the next day.

Thank you for sticking with me through the entire Work-at-Home Alphabet. Despite how it may sound, I’m truly grateful for the flexibility and the independence my home office gives me.

I raise my glass to you, dear reader – it’s 5:00 somewhere.

This post is part of the April Blogging from A to Z Challenge. See who else is Blogging from A to Z

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Read the work-at-home personnel manual

Y is for Yoga

work-at-homeWorking at home delivers me a huge advantage – it allows me to go to yoga class. Not just any yoga class, but the class I actually want to attend, which at my studio takes place in the middle of the morning.

(This class is largely attended by retirees and empty nesters who have their mornings free. One of the only places I am considered a youngster, another clear advantage.)

Yoga is great training for a working parent. The poses, or asanas, help you build the flexibility and strength you need every day:

  • Standing poses – Wonderful prep for standing in the back of a gymnasium while your children participate in an endless “dance night,” or for those networking events where you must position yourself on the perimeter of a large group of chatting people for some period of time.
  • Inversions – Good for keeping your equilibrium when your day inevitably gets turned upside down.
  • Restorative poses – Practice for those times when you have a few minutes to collapse on the couch before the kids get home, so you can maintain enough awareness not to snore or drool.
  • Seated poses – Great preparation for sitting at the computer all day, and in the car or on the bleachers all evening.
  • Arm balances – Conditioning for those moments you are carrying a laptop, a purse, an empty coffee mug, three bags of groceries, and a baseball bag all at the same time.

Namaste.

This post is part of the April Blogging from A to Z Challenge. See who else is Blogging from A to Z

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X is for X-Ray Vision

work-at-homeWhich is what you wish you had when you’re working at home and your office door’s shut. And it’s too quiet on the other side of the door.

If I’m writing, I can wrest myself away for a few minutes and check out what the kids are up to, but if I’m on the phone I’m out of luck. And of course, it’s when I’m on the phone that the shenanigans start.

I’ve always told my kids that moms are like superheroes – We see all, we hear all, and we know what you’re going to do before you do it – but when I’m on the phone my powers are diluted by the noise from the speaker phone on the other end of the line. The paper shuffling. The side conversations that come across as merely a hum. The door opening and closing as people late to the call head in.

So x-ray vision would be a plus. Although I can think of a lot places where I would not want x-ray vision: The airport, the line at the grocery store, the waiting room at the doctor’s office. *shudder*

This post is part of the April Blogging from A to Z Challenge. See who else is Blogging from A to Z

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W is for Wireless Wars

work-at-homeThe biggest bottleneck of the home office – shared wi-fi. As if it isn’t hard enough to work when the kids are home, I have to compete for bandwidth with two people playing Minecraft and one streaming Netflix on her phone.

And it only gets worse when my husband’s home. The five people who share our abode, among us, have at least nine devices that require the use of wi-fi to make their users happy and/or productive. (Note: It’s usually an “or”.)

I’m sure some of you who are reading are wondering why the heck I let the kids sit on their devices all day – I don’t. But frankly, when I’m working, I don’t always notice that they’ve headed back to the electronic babysitter until my email starts to bog down. Then I raise my head and listen to the eerie silence that is three kids with their heads back in the “cloud”.

It’s so nice to be a copywriter and a policeman all at the same time.

Now that it’s spring it will be easier to keep the kids engaged in non-electronic activities. With baseball, dance, lacrosse, recitals, jobs, and school events they’ll be plenty busy. Then once school is out it’s camps, the beach, the bowling alley and museums across the city.

The good news? Even the beach has free wi-fi. So I can keep working.

This post is part of the April Blogging from A to Z Challenge. See who else is Blogging from A to Z

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V is for Vacation

work-at-homeNo on really takes a vacation anymore – at least not without a wireless connection. The self-employed are no exception.

I try to schedule projects around time off with my family but it’s not always possible. One of the tenets of working on your own is “take the work when it shows up.” And for me, invariably, it shows up right before our summer driving vacation.

Since I’m a marketing professional, I position this carefully to my family (“Watch mommy earn the money for our vacation even while we’re on it! Hurray!”) but in all honesty, there have been years I was relieved to have something to do on those long stretches across Nebraska or South Dakota.

I’ve written copy in the car (not while driving) and by the pool. In the hotel room while everyone else is at breakfast. Or at night after they’ve gone to sleep. In the better part of at least eight states. All without incident.

On our recent vacation to Mexico, however, I received a karmic gift – both of the projects I was completing ended the day before we left. Just like that! I turned off my phone, left the computer at home, and checked off the grid. For a whole week. Aah.

This post is part of the April Blogging from A to Z Challenge. See who else is Blogging from A to Z

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Read the work-at-home personnel manual

U is for Uncomfortable Utterances

work-at-homeI spent much of my corporate career working remotely from my immediate supervisor. My comfort with this arrangement definitely helps my freelance business. I’ve had multiple projects where I never met the client face-to-face.

But there is one phenomenon you must learn to listen for when you aren’t in the room. I call it the Dead Phone Stare.

I coined this phrase while working for  a charming gentleman who not only was remote, he was in sales. Marketing was not his thing. I think he understood about every other phrase I uttered. The good news? He pretty much left me to my own devices. The bad news? When I needed his approval for something, I practically had to hire a translator to explain what and why.

Thus, the Dead Phone Stare – the uncomfortable silence on the end of the line when the person you are speaking to is thinking, “WTH?” Often, I’d rephrase my thought and get a repeat of same. I was speaking into a huge communication void.

I have been careful in my consulting practice to avoid the Dead Phone Stare. In fact, I probably overcompensate. Now the person on the other end of the line is probably thinking, “Enough explanation. Get on with it!”

But not so much in my personal life. I recently stumped not one, but two representatives from my healthcare company by asking them how to file the reimbursement claim for the down payment on my child’s orthodontics. It was so silent on the other end even the crickets were struck dumb.

This post is part of the April Blogging from A to Z Challenge. See who else is Blogging from A to Z

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T is for Treadmill

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As I mentioned in an earlier post, I moved my office to the basement in order for my youngest to have his own room. Unfortunately, I have an office mate. I have to share my space with the treadmill.

I like the treadmill. The treadmill and I have spent some quality time together. But I wish it weren’t in my office.

On the mornings my husband uses it I have to air the place out before I can begin work. Frankly, if I don’t, the place just smells like gym shoes. It’s a little like setting up to work in a locker room.

But I’m stuck with it. In our house, there is no other place for the treadmill to go. And given its similarity to a hamster wheel, maybe there’s a sort of poetry to having it here.

This post is part of the April Blogging from A to Z Challenge. See who else is Blogging from A to Z

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S is for School Supplies

work-at-home

What is a post about school supplies doing in a series about a home office? Perhaps the better question is what are all these school supplies doing in my office?

Because there are a lot of school supplies – two bins and a miscellaneous stack of junk. These are the items I purchase using the helpful list the school provides at the end of each year to help us prepare for the fall. When fall rolls around, the list has inevitably changed and half the stuff trickles back home and curls up to die in my office.

It’s usually too late to donate or return these items so I stash them. Then, before we purchase school supplies for the following year, we paw through this pile looking for things like:

  • One steno notebook in red
  • Five pocket folders, one of which must be puce
  • Fifty-six glue sticks we will not use before they fossilize
  • One round-nose scissors to replace the one last year’s teacher threw out when your child left his bag in the classroom for five minutes after the final bell rang
  • The largest three-ring binder known to man

It’s a great system.

This post is part of the April Blogging from A to Z Challenge. See who else is Blogging from A to Z

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R is for Rodents

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We live in a lovely wooded area. My “office” has beautiful views and shade that keeps the house cool most of the summer.

And I’m surrounded by wildlife. I bet you’re picturing the deer, coyotes, and foxes that occasionally wander through the yard. Or the majestic birds that soar by – eagles, hawks, owls, falcons, turkeys. (OK, turkeys aren’t exactly majestic, nor do they soar, but you get my drift.)

Oh, yes, I’m surrounded by wildlife…but the ones who frequent my space are mice, voles and squirrels. (In case you’re thinking to yourself right now, “Squirrels are not rodents,” rest assured. I looked it up.)

These unwholesome critters are drawn to the bird feeder that drops seed right outside my garden-level office window. There they scratch, dig and make a general nuisance of themselves all day and night.

The squirrels are a real pleasure. They don’t just graze. They rumble. As in fight. Each other. And when they do, they slam into the window with an alarming racket, thumping and scratching against the glass, sending me flying out of my chair, and the cats running to the window sill. (We call it cat TV.)

So when I say my co-workers are pests, I really mean pests. As in vermin.

This post is part of the April Blogging from A to Z Challenge. See who else is Blogging from A to Z

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