Internet Crime: Scammers Barking Up Wrong Tree Here

Fraud - Scam - Theft - DangerThey will stop at nothing. Scammers. Scum of the earth! They will weasel their way in anyway they can to get personal information. My post about an Arbonne product is getting a fair amount of attention from people searching the very term on the internet. It’s starting to show up as a suggestion for related searches in multiple places. I had a few new comments today, but I only approved one of them.

You see, two of the new comments had email domains from Germany but came from IP addresses in Ontario, Canada. One asked to do a link exchange because our blogs were “based around the same subject”. I checked their blog, and there was one post written in February about Legos. I could be wrong, but I’m just not seeing the similarity there. :D That one asked me to email if remotely interested. Not even the slightest bit, honey. I don’t know what you’re after, but I’m not giving. You obviously have no idea what I do all day at work!

Because I Committed to It…

Last night I posted that I would blog today. Oh, the pressure! So I logged in and browsed through themes first because, well, that’s just how I am. I like to change things up now and then, and my previous theme just wasn’t me. I was trying something different, but it was just a little too cutesy for me. I like things more streamlined and simple. Then, of course, other adjustments have to be made when you switch themes. I’m still holding out for the perfect theme (that doesn’t cost money!) so this will do for now.

Usually blog posts take a considerable amount of time for me. It’s much harder than it looks – at least for me because to try to avoid being taken the wrong way (it happens a lot), many more words have to be added for clarification. When posting about a particular topic, I spend a lot of time researching. OK, I spend a lot of time getting sidetracked on the internet. :D So my comeback post is going to be scattered free-writing with no particular direction or purpose.

Laptop Crisis Over

Over a year ago, my son fessed up that he … well we’ll say that while in his possession, my laptop took a spill that resulted in a cracked screen. He promised to pay to have it repaired and said my other son could probably do it if we ordered the replacement screen online. Never happened. When living arrangements changed in December, I spent less and less time in my office  trying to offer a bit of privacy. This is what I get for being a softy. Others wouldn’t have regard for privacy and would walk on through whenever. I should … it’s my house … that’s my office … that’s the route to my office, but something in my just can’t do it.

The reason for the living arrangement thing had changed even before it occurred; though, I didn’t know this until a few weeks after it occurred. Then it became possible that the arrangement could be extended by months or even a year. That, combined with the fact that I grew fond of being upstairs more, made me really want my laptop back. With my laptop, the plan was to be able to access the files on my desktop downstairs so I could work on my photos upstairs and also to be able to blog again. After seeing how much work was involved in replacing a screen on a laptop, another thought popped into my head. Why not just get an external monitor to hook up to the laptop? Genius! Now I can blog from the brightest, most airy room in my house. :) Accessing my desktop is still a bit of a problem, but we’re working on figuring that out.

New DeskOK, so this photo doesn’t make the room look so bright and airy, but it really is! Light pours in from those windows and bounces off the walls and vaulted ceiling. The desk is from IKEA and was originally bought for Miranda’s room for a desktop computer. Then she took over a laptop that I bought at a company auction for cheap and stopped using the desktop. I might try to come up with a way to make it look a little less IKEA-esque. That tiny wireless keyboard is still on a trial basis. The guy at Best Buy told me I had 14 days to bring it back if I didn’t like it. It’s cute, and I like that it doesn’t take up a lot of space, but I’m already making a lot of typos and backspacing and retyping over and over because I’m so used to ergonomic keyboards both at my desktop and for work. I think it may go back today in exchange for an ergo. Plus, I already miss the 10-key pad.

Work

Just before my vacation/spring break, I had my annual review and was promoted to “Senior Agent” (level 4 rep). This is the same level required to be a Lead, but we already have two of those. One other person was also promoted to this level, so there are two of us – one to assist each Lead. Since it’s really a new thing, they are still hammering out the details and coming up with a full list of responsibilities. Until then, we’re making it up as we go along. The promotion came with a surprisingly nice raise (I’m talking jaw-dropping here!), but I won’t expand on that here. Wouldn’t be prudent! That will certainly help us keep our heads above water. At least our noses anyway. Just as satisfying is knowing they have that much confidence in me to give me more responsibility and trust my judgement on certain things.

This is where I must end because, on that note, I have 2.5 hours of overtime to finish before getting out of the house on this gorgeous Saturday!

Desk Makeover

Lookie what Greg made for my desk! I already had my laptop on a riser, but my second monitor was placed on top of an inverted Steralite storage box. I still wanted it a couple inches higher because my neck was still protesting a bit. So I asked if this was possible, and he did it! Now I don’t have to reach around my drink to get to my phone either. When I need more desk space, I just push my keyboard under the shelf. And that Steralite storage box is now being used for … wait for it … STORAGE! :D

That little bear has been on my desk since right after I started. It represents the company mascot. :)

Vive le Weekend!

Albeit a short weekend, it’s still a day off! As of this moment, I have 37.5 hours left before I have to clock in again. About 14 of those hours will be spent sleeping. How much can I do in 23 hours? For starters: this blog post!

There are so many things I need to get done. One might think that just because you have time off work, you must spend all of that time doing personal things that need to get done. I protest! I think it’s important to spend at least half of your time off doing things you enjoy doing as well. I enjoy being lazy resting. I just worked 11 days in a row, including 50 hours in the past six days. I think some rest is not only well-deserved but downright necessary!

I have a couple of movies I bought for $1.99 each at a nearby Blockbuster that’s closing. I plan on watching at least one of those. I also must give my seriously neglected camera a workout. I long to create a new piece of jewelry, too. However, you can’t force creativity to happen in a small window of time. So that may not happen … unless I watch movies at the same time. I do enjoy multitasking!

The main things I need to do are office related (including taxes). After working so much, personal office work is the last thing I want to do, though. :roll:

Nope! Twenty-three hours is just not enough time! Once a new manager is in place and the new staff is put on the weekend schedule, I think I might press for a full 4×10 work schedule so I can have my Sundays back. Having a full two days off in a row is more important to one’s mental well-being than I realized.

Vive le weekend!

Rethinking Goals and Schedules

After two (or has it been three?) weeks in a row of mandatory five hours overtime with a max of ten (and of course, I do the full ten), I decided to take my full day off yesterday and not start before my scheduled late start time today. I didn’t even touch my own computer in that time. Refreshing and relaxing!

Experiencing that feeling made me want to rethink my goals and schedules. To get everything done, I generally multitask or switch gears quickly several times per day. My goal of five blog posts per week is now ridiculous in my head. I mean, who am I posting for? Why is it important to gather “followers” to my blog? What self satisfaction do I really get from that? I’d like to think that someone out there finds helpful information in some of my posts, but often, I post to ramble. So my goal is now modified to three posts per week. My weekly photo self assignments has been modified to at least twice per month.

Finally, I’m still pushing for a modified work schedule. The 4×10 (four ten-hour days) schedule is becoming more popular and has been mentioned as a possibility for the department I work in as well. Since I work two half days per week, I’ve suggested a twist on this for myself: 3×10 + 2×5. So five hours on Sunday afternoons and Wednesdays, and ten hours on Mondays, Tuesdays, and Fridays with Thursdays off. Then I would still work the first Saturday (ten hours) of each month in exchange for the preceding Monday off. Ten hour days may sound like a lot to some of you reading, but I’d rather get work out of the way like this and get an extra day off to relax and feel more like this…

P.S. I clocked in today to find that we now have mandatory overtime of TEN hours overtime this week. It’s a good thing I already worked an extra two hours on Sunday. :)

The Mother Ship | New Office Progress

I’m thinking of calling it “The Mother Ship” … my new work/play room (office/crafts). Half of it sort of looks like a huge storage closet right now because I have two metal shelving units that are mostly filled with old scrapbooking supplies and tools. Going through all of that will be a process. At least they’re in here now.

I brought my rug down. The curtains will come down later. The blues actually do play nicely with the green on the walls! Yay! So here is my work in progress now (shots snapped with cell cam)…

The red behind the desk is my fuzzy robe. It gets COLD down here! Also notice my space heater aimed directly at where I sit.

Maybe by Wednesday I’ll be able to start crafting. I have the day off. After working 55 hours last week on top of all this moving, I fully intend to do my own thing!

P.S. With the shelves moved in here, Greg is working on his side of the basement. More on that later!

New Office Progress

I fully planned on working 11 hours today to round out my 50 hours and then work on moving everything to the new office later tomorrow or Sunday, but nope! I never had a chance to clock back in because I enticed Jason and Kennah over by texting Jason that I have egg nog! So the move has begun earlier than expected. All electronics are now in place and running faster than ever because I am completely hardwired down here. Yep! Desktop computer, work laptop, and work phone … all connected via ethernet. :)

I knew with my desk in this position, there would certainly be some ugly wire cluster truck going on. Maybe I can entice Josh to work his zip-tie magic again and make it a little better. It’s all kind of blocking the bottom drawer of my file cabinet, too. That’s not good. Oh well. Once everything is down here, I’ll work out the kinks.

It feels weird down here. I’ve used this room once before for crafting before Greg started using it to sleep in during the day when he worked nights. Then Jason took it over. I’m so far away from all the hub-bub. That’s good while I’m working, but if I’m on my computer or crafting, I think the kids might be less likely to come in and talk. I have already found that I need music going while Greg’s gaming in the next room on his computer. He shouts into that headset like he does on a cell phone! 8O If I work in the evening, I’ll have to put earbuds in! {As if on cue, he just shouted “BOOM!” and I jumped!}

So I’ll get my first taste of a new morning routine (and longer commute) tomorrow because I do still plan on finishing my overtime.

Changes

Many people don’t like change … unless, of course, it’s to their benefit. I think it’s because they don’t like the process necessary to get through a change. How you deal with your feelings about that process makes a lot of difference.

Moving my office, crafting stuffs, and photo equipment into a new space in my house is to my benefit, but the circumstances and the process isn’t all sunshine and laughter. It took an adult child leaving the nest and is involving a lot of elbow grease to get there. Of course, the boy took what he needed and left the scene in a bit of a shambles. My husband worked on cleaning that up as well as priming the crimson red walls, aided by the eldest daughter. Then I took over and painted the walls with a little creative (see photo) and trim work help from both daughters. Carpet cleaning is on the agenda for this morning. The actual move will have to wait until we get some help in the form of fairly big muscles because my desk is pretty heavy. Then there’s the task of hooking everything back up.

The tan was still wet in the lower right photo and dried slightly darker. The green was dry in the same photo and had dried slightly lighter. Weird how that happens! The tan was actually paint we had left over from our master bedroom (resourcefulness). After working with the Behr paint (green), I’ll never go Gliddon (tan) again!

It jut hit me that this move is going to alter my morning commute. Currently, I walk down a very short hall, hit the power button on the computers (work and personal), then I go get my coffee, let the dogs out, and fill their food & water bowls. By the time I get back upstairs, everything is ready for me to log in. Now I’ll have to rethink that whole process. Do I want to go all the way downstairs to power up before coffee & dogs? If only all of life’s dilemmas were this taxing!

There’s just one more issue to be dealt with down there. Eight-legged ememies! We have a partial basement with crawl space and subfloor over dirt. This makes it even easier for these critters to venture into our space. I’m pulling the plug on Orkin for budget reasons, plus they raised their rates. So I need to know if I can purchase that powder stuff they spray on window sills and such that poisons spiders but is not deadly to dogs. Picture it: I’m on the phone with an advertiser and suddenly let out a scream as I realize a spider is crawling up my leg! 8O

Memories of Retail & Yearning to Craft Again

The Old Logo

Whenever I shop at Michaels in Southlands, I kind of feel at home. I have fond memories of working there, and I really enjoyed it. The only thing that started getting to me were the hours (including weekends). Get a fuller story here. I especially miss the 25% employee discount!

I worked under the old tag line “The Arts and Crafts Store”. Apparently they’re under new management and have made changes. Their new tag line is “Where Creativity Happens” with a much simpler logo.

The New Logo

No more red aprons, either. Now they require khaki pants and black tops. In the beginning of the changes, they wiped out all classes offered except for Wilton Cake Decorating (only kept because of a contract with Wilton). They finally brought the classes back, though! I had a brief, fleeting thought of becoming a Jewelry class instructor again for a little extra cash and for the discount, but the position has already been filled. Just as well! My availability would be very limited anyway.

Crafting is more enjoyable when you’re not being paid to do it actually. I hope to be able to make time for it again once I’m moved into my new office/craft space. My problem with making time is that I like to dive into projects and not surface again for hours. If I know I don’t have that long, I just put it off. <– said as I glance over at a necklace that has been laid out ready to be pieced together for many weeks now!