Work from Home Meal Plan 1

grocery pic

 

Okay, so last week during some errands, Bull and I decided to go back to menu planning. We just tend to do better…you know, less likely to buy fast food or frozen pizza. So, this category, Work from Home Meal Plan, will follow our weekly adventures in meal planning (including links to the original recipe and any changes we made because we are lowish carb).  Read more

WTF Friday – Personal Views and News

ryuk

Since most people read this blog on Friday (according to my stats), I thought I should bring back a feature I had on a previous blog: WTF Friday. The purpose of this series is to highlight the ridiculous shit that goes on in life. “Humans are so interesting.”

Put the Phones Down, Humans

We live just a few blocks from Baby Bull’s school. In many states, the use of cell phones while behind the wheel is illegal or extremely limited. In our state, it’s illegal to text and drive. I don’t know what in the hell is wrong with people, but that doesn’t mean it’s just illegal on the main roads or the highway. Put. the. phone. down. when. you. are. driving. Especially when you’re near a school…when children are on their way to or from. As we walked to school this morning, we watched a car get rear ended because someone wasn’t looking at the road. They were looking at their phone.

The car that they hit was stopped at an intersection (because they had a stop sign)…and it is a place where many children cross the street. It’s where my son and I cross the street. We were probably about 100 steps away from the area.

Hurting yourself, destroying your car, or hurting another adult is bad enough…but what if this moron had hit a child who was crossing the street? Put your phones down when you’re in a residential area. Your text, Facebook, or email is no where near as important as the tiny little people who are in the area.

Charmin Makes Offer to the Pooping Jogger

First, oh my god – there’s someone shitting on people’s property…and it’s a woman. Second, Charmin has made her an offer. If she turns herself in, they’ll cover her ass for a year…with toilet paper.

Deadly Coffee

Turns out, that Death Wish brand coffee isn’t playin’ around. Well, okay, so it’s not like they’re trying to kill people on purpose…because killing customers wouldn’t create a profitable business. They did recall some of their coffee because its Nitro Cold Brew may have botulin as a result of the manufacturing process.

Idiot Teenager Calls Police Because Someone Stole Her Drugs

Yes, I do realize the first two words above are a bit redundant. If you’re gonna be a criminal, which I do not recommend, you should remember to avoid detection and don’t call the police to tell them someone committed a crime (theft) that endangered your criminal enterprise. What happened to the criminals we used to watch on Unsolved Mysteries back in the 80s and 90s that could go decades without getting caught?

Teenagers, stop. Your thought processes aren’t fully formed. You’re not smart enough for this. It’s not your fault – it’s biology. But a life of crime really is bad. Even if you don’t care about going to jail / prison, getting out and trying to resume your life is no picnic. In addition to the stigma, you’ll face difficulties finding work and even a place to live…you could lose your legal right to own a gun or to vote. You could lose the ability to take out student loans to go to college (even if your life of crime was a 15 minute mistake of sheer stupidity). I am a big fan of reforming the criminal justice system…but you really don’t want to be in the system. I can promise you that.

It’s Hip to Be Shit-Faced Drunk

Look, when you’re 82, I’m sort of in the boat of do whatever the fuck you want to do. But, you know, if you’re tough enough to still walk around when you’re 82 years old and your BAC is .3, you should probably be careful. An 82 year old woman is filing a lawsuit against Red Lobster because she got shit-faced drunk, fell, broke her hip, and spent six days in the hospital. Marlene Spencer, the plaintiff, was at the restaurant with a group of residents from her nursing facility. And her daughter had previous conversations about the restaurant over-serving her mom.

Rapture Weekend

All hail the lizard people…don’t tell your boss to drop dead – the rapture isn’t happening. You still need a job.

 

Mastering a Work from Home Routine without Breaking a Sweat

Okay – so you might sweat a little. Working from home and taking care of the home at the same time can take time and work. And sweat. I’m a mom. I work from home. I can tell you from experience that a routine is crucial.

If you work outside of the home, you have a routine. You have things you do to get ready to leave. You have things you do at work. You probably take lunch at a certain time. You come home and probably have more things you do before you go to bed.

If you’re a homemaker, you probably have at least a little bit of a routine. I know it can be hard when the kids are extremely little (but it is also doable). You get up around a certain time. You have certain things you do in the morning. You have certain things you do in the afternoon. You have certain things you do in the evening.

Working from Home Requires a Routine

There’s this prevailing thought about working from home that is, at best, moderately misleading. That thought is how working from home is like a fairy tale. You’re around your sweet little darlings (if they aren’t school age). You can take them to playgroups. You can attend every practice. You’ll have this squeaky clean house. And somehow, you’ll also have this blissful, stress-free work environment. Everything will be happy, happy, happy.

And it’s just not true. If you want peace for your work environment, you have to create a routine to have it. The thing about working from home, and I’ve said this over and over again here and on the podcast, it’s always bring your kid to work day. Even if you’re sick. Even if they’re sick. And if you don’t work on client projects, you’re losing money. If you’re working on client projects, you could feel guilt that you’re not spending time with your children or doing things around the house.

The only way you can have the best of both worlds is to create a routine. And, yes, I know…many of you will have to learn the hard way.

 

ryuk
“Death Note”

Creating a Routine…the Easy Way

So, I spent all last week sick. I was sick on my birthday. I was sick on my anniversary. I was sick all the way through yesterday. I spent a week sick…and working. Without a specific routine (that I reintroduced to my life) that I used when my older boys were little, my house would look like a fucking disaster. I dunno about you, while I can function in a bit of disorganization (I am often referred to as an organized messy – I may have different piles, but I know what’s in them). I prefer “a place for everything and everything in its place,” but I am realistic.

So, how did I create my routine the easy way? Well, as I said, I went back to one that I customized for myself around 15 years ago. The good news for you is that it’s available online. Free. There’s also an app and a free licensing key for the app.

Now, some of you may know about this site…and you may have just thought it couldn’t work for you, but try it for a week. You’ll see improvement. You don’t even have to get everything done every day (I do try to complete everything on my list). I don’t use a paper to-do list for it anymore since app came out. For those of you who don’t know, just try it. FlyLady.net. Yes, really. The app, available for both Android and Apple, is called FlyHelper. Download the app and install it. Then, download and run the licensing key. Yes, it’s legal. The app creator put the licensing key out for free themselves.

You’ll have a morning routine, an afternoon routine, and an evening routine. Your home is broken into areas known as Zones. Each week, you put most of your focus on that area of the house. You also spend between 2 – 15 minutes each day decluttering and putting things away. You also spend an hour each week doing the necessities: vacuuming (I prefer to vacuum more than once a week), dusting, mopping, and the likes. You can use the app to edit your to-do list or change up your routine (add or remove things). Each Zone even tells you what you should do each week to clean that zone.

Uhh…I would say avoid the email list. At all costs. You’ll get inundated with reminders. Just stick with the app or visit her website every day. If you prefer paper, there’s a walk through on how to set-up a paper routine.

The Key? Follow-Through

Something else I’ve mentioned a million times. It doesn’t matter if it’s success in business or success around the home…you must follow-through. And that’s where people fuck up. You must put in the effort. Every day. You must. Don’t think of it as, “I work from home so everyone else should pitch in.” Yeah, they should. They live there, too. I won’t hit you over the head with my opinion on this…because I’ve lived with someone who was a total twat and felt entitled to sit around and do nothing…but who made that choice?

Think about it this way: these are all things you’d have to do if you were single. Unless you hire a maid (and more power to you if you wanna do that – it’s an ultimate goal of mine).

Because a system like FLY Lady breaks things down into smaller chunks, it is MUCH easier to get your family involved because you can tell them exactly what you need done. And you’re leading by example.

Again, though, it won’t work if you don’t follow through every day.

Work It Around Your Schedule

I usually get up around 5:30 or 6 am and work a little. When the littlest wakes up for school, I make his breakfast and start my morning routine. Then, I work. It usually takes me until 2 or 3 to finish my work. Then, depending on the time, I will either do the afternoon routine plus a few things on the Zone list or I will go pick up the little one from school. What you’ll notice about the evening routine is that it’s designed around picking up the kitchen and taking care of yourself. So, the evening routine is simple.

The whole thing is simple…and there’s power in simplicity because it makes it easier to work it around your life. So, try it for a week (her website says try it for 30 days and she even gives you baby steps). You’ll notice that you feel more in control over your life.

 

 

Work from Home Ethics & Etiquette

be professional

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Ethics

  1. Abide by city, state, and federal laws because a law suit is really the last thing that you want or need to deal with when it comes to business. For instance, did you know that in some towns you can’t run certain types of businesses from your home? Some cities or states may require you to have a certain type of license to run a specific kind of business. It doesn’t matter whether you think the law is stupid.
  2. Respect client confidentiality. You may or may not sign an NDA with your client. Even if you don’t, remember the golden rule and treat others how you want to be treated. If you’d like to share something related to their project, get the permission of the client.
  3. Be honest and upfront with clients and potential clients. No one likes a liar.
  4. Be respectful with your words and actions toward your clients and prospective clients. Not everyone is going to be a good fit. You can part ways amicably. Remember that the entire world is watching you on social media. Everything you say and do even on your personal accounts is subject to scrutiny. You’re free to say what you want, but you won’t be free of the consequences.
  5. Be honest in your advertising or description of services.
  6. Stay away from slang words and misleading phrases.
  7. Deliver on time, every time. The only exception is delivering early.
  8. Clear, concise, and professional communication with clients, potential clients, former clients, and other providers.
  9. Use contracts that are fair to everyone involved.
  10. Stay committed to education.
  11. Stay committed to excellence.
  12. Uphold your promises and agreements.

Etiquette

  1. Act like a professional. I realize we live in the information age and people want everything now. That’s no excuse for being unprofessional. That’s no excuse for treating people poorly. Remember that others who work from home are your colleagues. You may need a reference or you may want people to send you overflow work. That’s not going to happen if you’re unprofessional. Don’t act in a demeaning way toward clients or potential clients…or anyone else. Not only is it rude, it can also affect your business in the long run.
  2. Be courteous. Basic courtesy can go a long way in growing your business.
  3. Don’t talk down to anyone. Clients have a choice. They can find another provider.
  4. Keep semi-regular hours. I know that part of the draw to working from home is flexibility. I know I appreciate being able to set my own hours. Remember that many of your clients already keep regular hours and they need to know when they can talk to you.
  5. Be honest about your policies. If you plan to act as a middle man and outsource all your projects to others, make sure that clients know and that they are okay with this. Otherwise, you could hurt your reputation.
  6. Respect the time of others. Your day is no more or no less important than that of anyone else. While long-term clients may be very understanding of a day where your child is sick, it’s really not the problem of your clients and I’d bet a nickel that you could have avoided missing a deadline by better time management earlier during the project. One of the ways you can respect the time of others (and your own time) is by setting up a schedule and sticking to it. When school is in session, my work hours are 9 am to 3 pm. That’s six hours of uninterrupted time. During the summer, I get up before anyone else and work. I also work throughout the day.
  7. Stay on top of your email and reply where necessary. Triage and trash. Triage your email to determine if you need to respond or put it on a to-do list. Trash what you don’t need. Clients and others you work with shouldn’t have to wait days or weeks to hear back from you because you lost an email.
  8. Understand what your responsibilities are and uphold them. If a client or other work from home professional sends you a project, you get on the same page about the requirements. You ask questions where necessary. You adhere to what they say they need done. If they say no outsourcing, then you do it yourself. Anything less than upholding your responsibilities is a form of dishonesty.

 

Travel Misadventures

I like road trips…

Earlier this year, Bull expressed his desire to compete in World’s IBJJF (a Brazilian Jiu Jitsu competition for people over the age of 30). It’s held in Vegas. So, we booked the hotel back in February or March. Our oldest son came to watch our three dogs. And we decided to drive to Vegas. All in all, it’s an 18 hour drive from where we live…if you don’t account for the two hours that you fall back in time.

We left on a Wednesday since he had to compete that Friday. The drive there was fairly uneventful. Well, mostly.

We stopped to eat at Wienerschnitzel in Amarillo and to walk around the mall. I hadn’t been to West Texas in close to 20 years. Still flat. Still hot. And now full of giant wind turbines.

We made it to New Mexico before dark…took the proverbial vacation picture at the state line. And then we decided to keep going and try to get to Albuquerque. Because there was no way in hell we were gonna stay in Gallup after a friend of ours did that and had her car broken into.

Honestly, I thought we’d be found dead in a ditch by morning in Albuquerque.

Thursday morning, bright and early and before the sun, we are back on the road. I had to go to the bathroom by the time we arrived in Gallup. And walked into the store and that was a big ole’ nope. I told him to just keep fucking going. I’d wait until Arizona if I had to…I didn’t have to do that. About 20 minutes down the road, we found a Love’s.

It was an interesting experience to also buy something to drink and not pay tax on it. In Oklahoma, if something is $1, you’re gonna pay $1.08.

We stopped in Flagstaff. My throat was killing me from allergies (yes, in the desert) and we stopped to get bananas and soup. I was extremely surprised that the Wal-Mart right off the highway had covered parking…and I was cold when I got out of the car.

Arizona was a fairly nice drive…minus all the ear popping. Near Nevada, we pulled over at a gas station so I could (again) go pee. We were about 100 miles away from our destination. They had a cattle guard over a giant hole that you have to drive over. I am now the proud owner of a bubble in my tire (that is scheduled to get fixed while here in Vegas).

We stopped (sort of) at the Hoover Dam. Drove on into Vegas. Our hotel got us in a day early (and so we’re checking out Sunday instead of Monday). We thought we’d be cute and walk to the strip. So, it turns out that what we consider a mile in Oklahoma isn’t the same as a mile in Nevada. I swear the miles here are like 5x longer. Google Maps (the lying fucker) said it was less than 2 miles away. From what we figured, it’s more like four miles each way. So, that was an adventure in 100+ degree weather. After spending 16 hours in a car.

Friday Misadventures

Our hotel is fine. We booked a suite so we could cook most of our meals. It’s quiet. Friday, though, Bull went with another competitor and I said I would drive since the convention center is listed as like…three miles from our hotel. I was working (duh). I pulled up Google Maps and it sent me on a wild fucking goose chase…down roads that were private. Got pulled over by security who tried to get me back on track once they realized I was just a confused tourist with a lying fucking GPS. After the third stop, I just asked to get pointed back to the road my hotel was on. The nice security guard had me follow him out from where I was lost and got me on the right track. I came back to the hotel to just kinda regroup. I got harassed (verbally) in the parking lot.

Came upstairs to try and just look at the actual map because I had a general idea where I was supposed to go. I had my wallet in my hand (I was wearing a dress) and I went back downstairs to the van to try it again. Some fucking asshole tried to grab my wallet out of my hands. I started kicking and screaming. I still have my wallet. I came back upstairs and said fuck that shit. My 16 year old happened to call me literally as soon as I walked into my suite after that. So, that was a thing.

Once Bull got back from his competition, I felt better. I didn’t want to be in this city anymore. Turns out, he’s not much of a fan of it, either. But, we took a little walk…there’s a .99 cent store that sells $2.99 liquor, yall. It smelled like a dirty diaper. We went to the grocery store and picked up chicken at $1.99 a pound, garlic bread, and vegetables and came back to the hotel. Beef here is really cheap compared to Oklahoma…but the eggs are crazy expensive. I pay anywhere between .79 cents and $3 for eggs (the more expensive eggs being brown eggs, cage free). Here, the eggs that I would pay less than a buck for at home were $6. SIX DOLLARS. Oh, and some lady tried to sell her baby to us.

The fuck is wrong with these people?!

Saturday Misadventures

Saturday we went downstairs to the pool…before anyone. Because our bodies are still set to Oklahoma time. We were there for about an hour and came back up. We got dressed and drove down the road a bit to some free parking and walked over to Circus Circus (we saw Caesar’s the night we got in – and that was fucking crazy…and tonight is the McGregor fight; oh, and I also saw where they will tape the next Hell’s Kitchen…so that was kinda neat).

Circus Circus was neat. We didn’t go into the AdventureDome, but the casino has an arcade and a circus over it. So we went up there for a while. The acts going were clown high-wire acts. As we left, we got sucked into some timeshare thing…until I said we were Dave Ramsey fans. Suddenly, we didn’t qualify. We saved up to come here. We paid $97 for gas to drive (we kept track but had an idea of around $120 for gas here because of the RoadTripper app). We booked our hotel early through Booking.com. And no, I don’t get anything for mentioning them. We paid for Bull’s entrance fee MONTHS ago. Like, we planned this shit and saved to do it.

We came back to the hotel so that I could work a little and he took a nap. Who knows what kind of crazy we might see tonight? We’re down the road from Silver Sevens and they advertise the “best burger” in town with bottomless fries. I will be the fucking judge of that.

We check out tomorrow and head back. We plan to stop to see a few things and take pictures. But again, all after getting the damn tire fixed.

Sunday Misadventures

So, Google Maps is apparently on crack. While searching for a Wal-Mart with a tire center, we ended up stopped at several red lights which was fine by me because I get seriously fucking car sick with a bad tire. Well, every time we’d stop…Google Maps would try to reroute us. It sent us all over the place…we finally figured it out and got to a Wal-Mart about an hour and a half after we left the hotel…and the drive shouldn’t have taken more than 20 minutes.

After $115 for a tire, we finally get on the road. I took some pretty nice pictures of the desert. We made it to Gallup, NM around sunset (we’d been on the road for about six hours) and Albuquerque about 9ish at night. We decided to drive straight through. And then, the lights and bumpy road made me car sick…again. So, we had to stop and get some anti-nausea crap which made me tired. I attempted to lie down in the very back seat and I guess the alignment was off because that made it worse.

We stopped in Vega, Texas for a couple of hours and then started back. We got home around 10 am Monday morning. The dogs were extremely happy to see us. So happy, in fact, that while they allowed my sweet husband to nap, I was not allowed to nap because momomomomomomomomom we missed you – pet meeeeeeeeeeee.

I am so fucking glad to be home.