Time for a Facelift

Time for a Facelift

Apparently, I didn’t think getting ready for Christmas, scheduling a blog tour for Different Dream Parenting, doing a half-dozen author radio interviews, and helping the kids move to Wisconsin was enough to keep me busy this month. Otherwise, why would I schedule two major facelifts in December.

No, no, not cosmetic surgery.
A refinishing project.
And revamping this website.
The kind of facelifts I was sure would be quick and painless.
Hah!

My husband thought refinishing Mom’s old red and white stool was craziness. “Don’t ask me to help you with it,” was his response when I dragged it onto the porch. But when all by myself, I found someone who would sandblast and prime it for $20 bucks, he relented. Pretty soon, he was removing screws and demonstrating the finer points of spray painting and sanding. Near the end of the project which took much longer than I expected, when it was evident the stool was going to be bright and cheerful in it’s new life as a plant stand, he even said, “It’s kind of fun doing a project like this together.”

No, no, revamping this website was not very fun.
Even with the nicest tech guy in the world doing the tricky stuff.
Even though I hoped he could take care of the WordPress part while I ate bon bons.
But instead I needed to learn to do it, following “simple website tutorials.”
Hah!

On the back end of the revamp, my personal opinion is that the words “simple” and “website” should never appear next to each other in a sentence. Or in the same sentence. Or paragraph. Or tutorial. Also, one of those two words should be banned from the internet.

Even though I’m still working through some emotional issues related to revamping, the website is up and running. It may take a month or so to work out some snafus. For example, to have daily posts delivered to your website, you’ll need to sign up for the RSS feed on the home page (near the top, on the right) as the old feed and the old site no longer exist. And you’ll need to get used to typing the new, short and simple address – jolenephilo.com – in your URL bar. Hopefully, the revamped site will be so much easier to load, read, navigate, search, and make comments that you won’t mind those minor, one time inconveniences.

No, no, this is not a sales pitch.
You pay no money, and you comments are appreciated.
I’ll even reply to them, which often was prevented on the old site due to tech glitches.
And because of my tendency to overschedule, which won’t happen in January.
Hah!

Sheer Torture – Recycled

Sheer Torture – Recycled

Today’s recycled post was pulled from the August, 2009 file. It’s a snapshot of the month before the release of A Different Dream for My Child, complete with technical challenges, and hot weather. Reading through it, I was struck by how similar this August is to that one. Preparations are underway for the release of Different Dream Parenting, a nice techie guy is patiently helping me revamp www.jolenephilo.com, and the weather is hot and miserable.

Sheer Torture – Recycled

For most of my life, August has been a torturous month, and not just because of the almost unbearable heat and humidity that makes the corn in these parts grow while the people wilt. For my sixteen years as a student and my twenty-five years as a teacher, it marked another unwelcome event: the return to school.

When I left teaching six years ago, August became one of my favorite months. No return to a hot, sticky classroom for me. No abrupt loss of freedom, piles of papers to grade, endless teachers’ meetings to attend, or reluctant students to corral. Every August I kicked up my heels, said a few prayers for my teacher friends, and typed away, though it took three or four years before my stomach quit twisting into knots at the sight of the back-to-school ads.

So far, this August has again been sheer torture. Why, you ask, when A Different Dream for Your Child will be released September 1? Isn’t your life exciting and fun now?

No, and I’ll tell you why. Preparing for the book’s release, which is the only thing on my to do list for the month, and more specifically, getting www.differentdream.com, the book’s companion website, up and running, is sheer torture. And to make matters worse, I’m paying a web designer good money to enter the torture chamber and turn the screws. He’s a very polite and knowledgeable young man who has yet to snicker at the inane questions I ask him, though there’s no hidden camera recording his behavior after our phone conversations end.

But, he’s a pretty tough task master, none the less. He even offered to assign homework and deadlines if I needed more motivation. I declined since September 1 is plenty motivating. Under his insistent, patient tutelage, this old dog is learning a whole lot of techie tips, and the website is taking shape.

Will it be up and running by the book release date? Yes, in fact you can go to it now and see how it’s progressing.

But will the site be perfectly complete? No. And something I learned during my teaching days keeps my perfectionistic self from imposing unrealistic expectations this torturous August. One long ago day, when I was stressing myself out by trying to be ready for the entire year before the first day of school, the realization dawned that I didn’t need to be completely ready. I only needed to be ready for the first day, or maybe for the first week. Immediately, my stress level plummeted, along with my blood pressure and crabbiness. The last bit made my family very, very happy.

If I can keep that lesson in mind this August, maybe the whole month won’t be sheer torture. Maybe the web designer and I will even become friends, though that’s doubtful. In my opinion, he’s in the same category as my gynecologist.

Enough said.

Monday Morning Jig

Monday Morning Jig

The weather was glorious this morning, and so was my mood. During my walk along the gravel road, I ticked off the blessed unclutteredness of this new week:

  • Daughter and a truckload of her belongings and some of Grandma’s old furniture safely deposited at college.
  • Daughter’s boyfriend and some of Grandma’s old furniture safely deposited at his apartment.
  • Son and some of Grandma’s old furniture safely deposited in his apartment.
  • Son’s fiance and some of Grandma;s furniture safely deposited in her apartment.
  • Some of Grandma’s old furniture safely deposited at cousin’s house.
  • The rest of Grandma’s old furniture put to good use in our house.
  • The walls of the guest room are now visible with extra furniture gone.
  • The garage stall, full of this and that since Mom’s house sold in March, finally empty again.
  • Anne’s bedroom, minus the truckload of stuff she took to college, is now available for house guests.
  • Mystery novel compete, edited, and on its way to the publishing house considering it.
  • Different Dream website ready to be launched.
  • I have uninterrupted work time now that daughter is safely deposited at college, along with a pickup load of her belongings.
  • Mother safely tucked away at brother’s house, her finances organized and under control, the last of her keepsakes being distributed to appreciative owners.

Finally, after months of boxes and extra furniture, after weeks of overwhelming projects, I was ready to move on. Feeling light as a feather, I did a little woo-hoo whoop and jigged up the driveway, arranging and rearranging my week’s vast, uncluttered expanses of time and space. When I came around the garage, my happy dance ended. Stacked in front of the kitchen door were three boxes. The books I’d ordered from the publisher had arrived, much sooner than expected. As my vast, uncluttered expanses of space and time evaporated, and I hauled the cartons into the kitchen, I checked off one last blessing:

  • We got the shelving unit from Mom’s basement painted and moved into our bedroom on Saturday. Just in the nick of time, I have a place to stack the books.

My feet and heart are dancing again.

Sheer Torture

Sheer Torture

For most of my life, August has been a torturous month, and not just because of the almost unbearable heat and humidity that makes the corn in these parts grow while the people wilt. For my sixteen years as a student and my twenty-five years as a teacher, it marked another unwelcome event: the return to school.

When I left teaching six years ago, August became one of my favorite months. No return to a hot, sticky classroom for me. No abrupt loss of freedom, piles of papers to grade, endless teachers’ meetings to attend, or reluctant students to corral. Every August I kicked up my heels, said a few prayers for my teacher friends, and typed away, though it took three or four years before my stomach quit twisting into knots at the sight of the back-to-school ads.

So far, this August has again been sheer torture. Why, you ask, when A Different Dream for Your Child will be released September 1? Isn’t your life exciting and fun now?

No, and I’ll tell you why. Preparing for the book’s release, which is the only thing on my to do list for the month, and more specifically, getting www.differentdream.com, the book’s companion website, up and running, is sheer torture. And to make matters worse, I’m paying a web designer good money to enter the torture chamber and turn the screws. He’s a very polite and knowledgeable young man who has yet to snicker at the inane questions I ask him, though there’s no hidden camera recording his behavior after our phone conversations end.

But, he’s a pretty tough task master, none the less. He even offered to assign homework and deadlines if I needed more motivation. I declined since September 1 is plenty motivating. Under his insistent, patient tutelage, this old dog is learning a whole lot of techie tips, and the website is taking shape.

Will it be up and running by the book release date? Yes, in fact you can go to it now and see how it’s progressing.

But will the site be perfectly complete? No. And something I learned during my teaching days keeps my perfectionistic self from imposing unrealistic expectations this torturous August. One long ago day, when I was stressing myself out by trying to be ready for the entire year before the first day of school, the realization dawned that I didn’t need to be completely ready. I only needed to be ready for the first day, or maybe for the first week. Immediately, my stress level plummeted, along with my blood pressure and crabbiness. The last bit made my family very, very happy.

If I can keep that lesson in mind this August, maybe the whole month won’t be sheer torture. Maybe the web designer and I will even become friends, though that’s doubtful. In my opinion, he’s in the same category as my gynecologist.

Enough said.

That’s Fast Enough

That’s Fast Enough

I can’t believe this blog is up and running. I worked on it day after day, spent most of a weekend on hold with various tech support people and finally this afternoon all systems were pronounced go. So I tried to publish the site. No go.

After another hour on hold, a patient support person worked with me until we discovered something was wrong with the blog. Once it was deleted, I was able to publish. Except of course the blog. I had to start it completely over. So here I am, up later than I like to be, typing my first entry. After days of waiting and waiting, things are moving way too fast.

And that made me think of a camping trip my husband and I went on a month ago. It was a hot August weekend, so hot the only place we wanted to be was out on the boat. And after watching the teenagers cool off while being pulled on the tube, I decided to take the plunge. I plopped down in the tube and floated slowly as the boat idled while the skipper moved the ropes into a safe position, I told the pilot, “Tim, this is fast enough. I’d like the whole ride to be this speed.” Tim grinned and took off, full throttle. I held on for a wild ride that was way more fun than my leisurely float.

I’m thinking that’s what this blog will be like. I want a slow float but could be in for a wild ride. The only way to find out is to plop down and get started.