Blog refocus

As you may have guessed by the last post the Ron And Andrea blog is undergoing a change. Instead of WordPress or business related thoughts, our posts will now focus on remodelling and finishing our new house.

Not a huge change right now, mostly the theme and some cleanup. Older posts will remain but eventually shuffle off into the archives.

So – if you’re still reading via RSS and were only interested in WordPress related news, you might wish to unsubscribe with no hard feelings. However, if you want to keep tabs on our house news and what we’re doing, this is the place we will be posting everything.

Tune in! We have tons to say! (and pictures… so many pictures… )

Back to the country

Front View

Andrea & I have been living in Fredericton for about 2 years. Before that, a trip to visit the children/grandchildren was most of a day. We having been enjoying being closer for visiting more often and the convenience of close shopping.

When we moved we planned on staying in Fredericton for a few years saving up to purchase a piece of property and build a home. Since we are both technically self-employed with a business that has almost no “real” assets, borrowing for building a home is slightly more difficult for us. Knowing that, we planned on saving a good portion of the funds before building.

In the mean time, it doesn’t hurt to research the market for availability, prices, etc.

Given our business, the only absolute prerequisite has been a location where we could get decent speed Internet either with a high bandwidth cap or unlimited bandwidth. In Lakeville, we had satellite first then wireless. Either of those are okay for casual usage but are less than ideal for people who use the Internet all day.

Second, we want some elbow room. I have been mainly keeping an eye out for property that is at least 3 acres (1.2 ha).

Third, because we work at home, we don’t get out and around as much as people who commute to work. A house nestled in a larger treed lot does have privacy but if you are there almost all the time it’s a bit claustrophobic. A property with a view would be a big plus over the long term.

Over the last year Andrea & I realized that century old houses that came onto the market were more likely to include a few acres than properties in our price range that met our wants.

We started looking at listings of older homes with a small parcel of property.

In September, the family leasing the Lakeville house were approved for a mortgage. At the time there were 3 houses on the market that met our list. We arranged a viewing of all 3 spaced over a week.

We put in an offer on one of them in early October and became the owners on Friday.

Now working for CopyBlogger

In case you missed the news breaking on twitter, Ron and I are now officially both working full time for CopyBlogger Media, LLC. Ron, of course, will be programming away – working on cool features for various projects, and I will continue to help explain how to use those things. 😉 Basically, the same thing we have been doing, except with a steady paycheque.

What does this mean for everything else? Not much, really. Most of our other projects, like WPeBooks, and our assortment of free plugins, will continue on as they have been. The only immediate change is what little outside client work we had been doing will go down to next to nothing.

Not only are we excited, but we are both really, really happy. It turns out in the couple years we’ve known Brian Gardner and the rest of the crew, we’ve become great friends and the fit is excellent. The transition towards working full time, in retrospect, may have seemed slow and gradual, but also practically inevitable. The working style within CopyBlogger also suits us quite nicely, and sometimes they insist we take time off (crazy!) !

Time off’s a good thing as well. 😉 We think this will give us more time to work on our other project and also make better decisions about them.

The next year will be interesting indeed.

Going to Toronto

Or, as the locals say , “Taranna”. 🙂

Ron and I have been to Toronto multiple times, so no sightseeing for us. This is good, because there are many friends to catch up with at WordCamp, as well as family in the area. Did you know Ron was actually born in Guelph Ontario? Well now you do.

We are actually really excited to come to Toronto and speak about the multisite / network feature of WordPress because we both feel WordPress itself can be a great opportunity for Canadians to shine at home, and not have to go abroad for success. WordPress is easy to learn, highly rewarding and could be the answer for a few Canadians to create their own jobs.

Saturday we will give a presentation on how we got involved with WordPress, ho we dove into the deep end of the pool with multisite and look and the kinds of things multisite can do for you.

Sunday, Ron & I will lead a workshop where we will instruct users how to set up multisite. We’ll go over the entire network admin area, as well as cover the more common plugins used. Of course, we will talk about domain mapping, wpebooks and answer tons of questions.

Work hard, play hard

Funny how both Ron and I have worked at home before, but it’s taken this long to figure out how to work together, and work efficiently.

Since I have been at home for pretty much most, if not all, of our marriage, transitioning to working at home wasn’t a huge step. I mean, I was on the computer multiple times a day anyway, right? Those times just sort of got longer and melded together. Eventually, my routine became this:

get up, stumble to office, turn on computer
go to the bathroom, get tea
sit in front of computer
notice stomach is growling and tea is cold
notice the kids are up
get Ron up because he is up different hours
talk to people I live with and get breakfast
check computer
get dressed
check computer
cook lunch
eat lunch in front of computer

And so on… It was really easy to fall into a reactionary routine of being what I referred to as “on call”. Am I up? Yes. Is the computer on? If so, I’m “working”. then I realized this was most of the time.

On my more lucid days, I started paying attention to employees from places like StudioPress and Automattic, saying how they were enjoying their breaks and time off. This coincided with a week of trying to plow through a huge lists of tasks to get caught up, and not doing anything else but that. Seriously. Then the light bulb *finally* struck me:

I can’t work effectively without a decent break.

(Whoa,. Earth shattering, no?) I’d already figured out that I cannot function without a certain amount of sleep. that happened very fast, actually. I’m one of those people that need a good solid eight hours or no amount of anything would be done properly or effectively. I can’t even fake it on little sleep.

Ron and I first noticed this in my habits when I tried to not sew all week. I was miserable. Not just because I really do like sewing that much, but it was the regular mental breaks from work task that really helped me. I really do have issues with focusing on one task for a long period of time, so breaking things up works just dandy for my brain.

We clued in that play time – time to rest, recharge, recoup, and recreate, is essential for productive work time. It’s all related, just like everything else. And your play time or when you take it does not have to look like mine, or be at the same times.

My weekend schedule – and I figured I do need a weekend, that time to focus on my household, the people in it and me outside of work – starts on Friday afternoons and goes to Sunday noon. Yes, I work Sunday. 😀 It’s a GREAT time to focus on those “extras” because there’s not a lot of online distractions like there are on, say, Tuesdays.

Ron has also changed his work time in that he gets up and does *not* turn on the computer first thing. He takes care of himself first, then does some things around the house until lunch time. He works more effectively later in the day, so his work hours are afternoons and evenings. I start on a high note in the morning and go downhill from there. 😀 This way, we both have alone time in the office, and have a joint time.

Not only that, we’ve been forcing ourselves to have a break from work – even if the first few tries either one of us were meandering aimlessly around the house. And now, I can do tiny little breaks throughout the day .When it’s mealtime I stay downstairs. None of this rushing back to the office to check one more thing, just in case. People can wait! And it’s not worth burning my dinner over.

Also realizing I don’t have to handle everything at once is good too. Especially before breakfast. Oh, and breakfast is important. Knowing I have a break coming up where I can forget about work items really does help me work hard, as well as knowing what to shut out. I make my lists, I double-check them and cross check them with my partner to help keep me on track. And when it’s play time, knowing that things are fine or will be fine work-wise helps me to really enjoy what I’m taking my break on. Even if it is laundry.

And! As a perfect example while I was writing this, our internet speed tanked. Before, we both would have sat here refreshing, trying other things, stopping certain programs. Now? We walked away and came back in an hour. The world didn’t end, the connection worked itself out (like it always does) and neither of us were frustrated. Plus we got our daughter’s bedroom painted. Yeah, that’s winning.