It’s my birthday

When we first started hearing about COVID in February, I would have laughed at you if you’d said that we’d still be dealing with this come my birthday.

I remember trying to plan a birthday parade for my niece at the height of restrictions in Western Canada. ‘We can do this’, I thought to myself. People were going to buy into staying home. People were going to buy into wearing masks and we could contain COVID.

I was so naive.

There was 114 active cases in the province when I helped to plan the birthday parade for my niece. Today there are nearly 4,000 in the city that I live, nearly 8,000 in the province.

It’s my birthday. There’s a snowstorm outside and a deadly disease sweeping the city, province, country and world. There will be no parties, no going for drinks, no visiting with friends. I’m just hanging out here, being antisocial. Nobody’s going to get sick on my watch.

My family and friends have come through in droves to send me presents and cards, text messages and phone calls. I’ve received more cake than I could ever eat. (see below)

A beautiful bouquet of flowers was delivered this morning. I also got a pair of Vessi shoes for my birthday. My brother even sent me some slippers from Denmark.

Another year.

What a year it has been.

Who I was last year and who I am this year is two completely different people. I’m thankful for how far I’ve come and I can truly say I’m hopeful for what the future holds.

Here’s to another year and the adventures it has the possibility to bring. Hopefully it won’t all be spent in quarantine hiding from the world.

The family drama continues

Since we lost my Uncle K earlier this year, my Uncle F has been a giant pain in everyone’s ass. He’s sought to make all of our lives miserable and he’s sparing no one in the process.

First, he tried to have me removed as executor of the will. He was trying to prove that I manipulated Uncle K into making me executor of the will.

Next he tried to have my cousins and I removed from the will itself. Uncle K had made sure to leave each of his family members in the will. EVERYONE. From his brothers and sister, right down to his great niece and nephew. Uncle F decided that if he could get everyone removed from the will except for his siblings, he’d get a lot more money.

Uncle F also stole Uncle K’s car because the rest of his siblings wanted the car to be given to my cousin Tara. Uncle F didn’t want Tara to have the car, he wanted to sell the car for profit. So, he stole it in the middle of the night and hid it, only to be found at a later date when he tried to sell it and wasn’t legally able to do so.

There was a period of about five months there that everything we tried to do to contribute to the closing of Uncle K’s estate was halted, delayed or outright stopped because Uncle F was being an asshole for the sake of being an asshole.

LOTS of petty bullshit went on. Every time that we made any progress Uncle F would send his lawyers out for blood. I don’t know if he just didn’t understand or if he was specifically trying to be an asshole for the sole purpose of being an asshole, but he was paying lawyers to halt the lawyers from fulfilling Uncle K’s final wishes. Uncle K’s estate is paying the lawyers, so every time he sent his personal lawyers after them, he was essentially lessening the inheritance we would get from his brother’s estate.

About three weeks before Uncle K’s memorial in September my father decided to put an end to it. He went to see Uncle F and words were had. I’m not really sure what happened or what was said because my father still hasn’t talked about it, but what I do remember is that my father told me from that point forward Uncle F would not interrupt any more.

Seeing Uncle F at the funeral was pretty awkward. He wasn’t mean and he didn’t cause a scene but he looked at everyone and sulked a lot like a toddler who’d just been told they couldn’t stay up late. Thankfully the fact that everything was exceptionally distanced that day meant that no one really needed to talk to him. He basically sat off to the side and pouted.

Fast forward to now.

The sale of Uncle K’s house was supposed to go through this past week. I say it was supposed to go through because, had everything been able to happen as was, we wouldn’t own it anymore.

Uncle F sent his lawyers to temporarily halt the sale of the home. Why? He doesn’t think we’re selling it for enough money and thus he’s arguing we’re undercutting his inheritance. Apparently if we just held out and waited we could sell the home for a lot more.

I’m utterly convinced he’s doing this when he’s doing this specifically to cause the most annoyance possible. He didn’t have anything to say when the offer came in. He didn’t have anything to say at any point during the negotiation process. Contracts are being finalized and how he’s trying to prove we’re trying to undercut his inheritance?

Uncle K’s lawyers don’t seem to think this will take too long. They think it’ll be wrapped up in a week or two.

I’m just so… annoyed.

As of right now it’s estimated that the siblings share of the inheritance should be between $100,000 – $150,000 each. This asshole is over here saying ‘STOP THE SALE. I WANT MORE MONEY!’

Of course he is. He’s a greedy SOB. There’s a reason why Uncle K chose a niece and two nephews to be executors to his will over any of his siblings.

I want to drive to his house and punch him in the face. That might sound aggressive, but at this point I feel it warranted.

Stupid vacuum

The Dyson Vacuum in this house has stopped working. The Dyson Vacuum that belongs to the landlord, I feel the need to add.

I’m sitting here worried that I’ve broken an $800 vacuum.

I’ve read the support center of the Dyson website. I’ve watched at least a dozen YouTube videos of people explaining how to fix it. I’ve taken it apart and put it back together. It’s still not working.

I feel so defeated when it comes to things like this. I just cannot fix it. I don’t know how. Despite trying to tell myself that I can do anything I put my mind to, I really cannot.

I’m aware this is a first world problem. I guess life is good if all I’m worried about is a stupid vacuum.

More changes?

When I put my mind to something, I will accomplish it. I really don’t care if there are odds stacked against me. I really don’t give a damn what anyone thinks in the matter. If I know that I can do something, that something is going to get done.

I’ve begun looking for a new job.

Why? My job is great. The company that I work for is really great. They’ve been a saving grace through this pandemic. Sure, there are a few idiots here and there, but for the most part, the work is really enjoyable. On Thursday, though, they let me know there won’t be any room for growth within the company… at all. Not now. Not ever.

This was disappointing to hear. When I accepted the position, I knew I was doing so in the middle of a pandemic. But, I was promised there were room for growth. I was promised there was room to move up, to eventually seek management. To expand on the position. To take it where I could take it. They essentially shut the door to any of that.

I appreciate their honesty. The could’ve hid their plans from me and lied about it. Long term though, this isn’t somewhere I’m going to stay. With no room for growth, this isn’t somewhere that I should stay. It’ll work for now. It’s been a real blessing to have a pay cheque given everything that’s going on in the world. But I have no sense of company loyalty.

I’m not quitting, at least not until I find a new job. I’m looking for a new job now, though. I’m testing the waters, I guess you could say. There are plenty of other places in this city that I could take my skills. I’m sure one of them could realize what I bring to the table and give me the room to grow.

I don’t know. Am I crazy? Am I stupid for wanting more? Should I just be appreciative that I have a job given the state of the world? Don’t get me wrong, I am appreciative that I have this job given everything that’s going on in the world. I just hate the idea of settling… especially since it’s not an assumption, I was given full notice there’s no room for growth.

There’s a company out there that needs me, that is willing to offer opportunity for growth. I just have to find them. For the time being, I’ll be good to the company that I’m with… you know, so they give me a good reference and all.

They’re back.

From now until November 10th, if you would like to get your hands on a #MillennialLifeCrisis shirt, they can be purchased on my Teespring store.

#MillennialLifeCrisis Teespring Store >

In addition to the original logo design, there are two new designs this year.

The first new design is the Millennial Life Crisis is written in a small chest-plate logo that has been flipped upside down. It is a shirt that reflects a lot of what 2020 has been for me, and I’m sure for a lot of people.

The second new design is Millennial Life Crisis is written in red and orange. I just love the two colours together. I think it looks like sunshine on a shirt.

These shirts are available until November 10th, at which point I will be removing them from the Teespring store.

Teespring fast facts:

  • I do not own these shirts. They are not being shipped from myself and they are not in my possession.
  • Teespring is a print-on-demand business in which you upload your personal artwork to clothing and accessories and they print items as the item is purchased and take control over shipping them to the purchaser
  • Teepsring takes a “flat fee” for the price of the shirt + labour. After that, the direct profit any one person makes is a reflection of how high they price their goods at. This why you will find some people have Teespring shirts that are $20 and some people have them as high as $40 or $45. The people who price their items higher are making more of a profit.
  • With the exception of the full-zip hoodie, all prices are marked for roughly a $5 profit for me, on the store, if someone decides to purchase. The full-zip hoodie had a minimum purchase price I had to abide by.
  • There are slight differences in the price from shirt to shirt that is a reflection of the design artwork. This means for one shirt the profit might be $4.80 while another shirt the profit might be $5.15 or $5.20
  • Teespring takes the order, accepts payment and is in charge of shipping all items. Once an item has be processed, created and shipped out of their warehouse, they will make the profit from the sale available to the creator. This means shipping of all items will be from their warehouse in the USA or the UK.

If you’d like to know what these look like when printed, here’s two shirts with the original logo. All artwork is screen-printed onto the items. They hold up really well after being washed a few dozen times.

If you would like to buy one of these shirts, they can be purchased at the #MillennialLifeCrisis Teespring store. Shirts will be available until November 10th.

If you do purchase a shirt, thank you! Please take a picture of yourself wearing it because I would absolutely love to see it. And, if you cannot purchase a shirt, or do not wish to purchase a shirt, I’m still incredibly grateful that you’re here and have continued reading this blog.

Stay safe, stay healthy and stay sane.

Happy Halloween!

I won an award

Today my boss was notified that marketing materials I created for my company were chosen for an award. The large organization operating in the United States chose my marketing materials as the best submission of more than 600 entries.

I’m extremely proud.

I am brand new to the industry that I work in presently. I started in May and prior to starting, I’d never had any involvement with anything relating to any company, organization or subject matter surrounding the industry which I presently work. This is a big deal for me. This is also the second award that my work has won in two months.

To me, this is an acknowledgement that marketing is absolutely integral to the way business is done. If you have better marketing, you’re going to have more success with your operations. Heck, if you have better marketing, your company is going to be acknowledged on an international scale when awards are distributed.

While I know that we work as a team and we win as team, we all play different roles within the organization. This win is a direct reflection of the role that I’ve taken on over the past few months and the improvements I have made for their company. I know I said it before but I’m really proud.

Back in the interview process for this job, they asked me ‘Why should we hire you over other qualified candidates?’ The response that I gave them was something along the lines of ‘They may be qualified but they’re not as qualified as I am’ and that they wouldn’t ever regret making a decision to hire me. My boss brought up those comments today when I was informed of the win.

Pretty cool.

Quadruple the COVID

COVID cases around here have quadrupled in the past seven days.

Quadrupled.

Thanksgiving was just too important to skip. It was just too important that people couldn’t stay home. They had to get together. They had to celebrate together.

Well, I hope it was worth it. Quadruple the cases and snow on the ground, below freezing temperatures making it hard for people to be outside… I can do the math here and it’s not looking good for us. I hope that everyone who just had to get together for Thanksgiving enjoyed themselves because from the looks of things, Christmas is going to fucking suck because of it.

And, if anyone is following trends, we quadrupled cases in seven days thanks in large part due to Thanksgiving dinner gatherings. There’s no ‘Black Friday’ in Canada. Canadians don’t cram into shopping malls just hours after eating to buy everything in eyesight. I don’t want to sound like a downer, but if I’m being realistic, I highly doubt every retail outlet, store and shopping mall in the United States would have to close and stay closed on Black Friday. November is likely going to be a very dark and sucky month.

Okay, rant over.

SEO for WordPress bloggers

Photo by Stephen Phillips – Hostreviews.co.uk on Unsplash

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is such a loaded subject. If you’re new to SEO it can be extremely overwhelming to subject to try and comprehend. Heck, even if you’re a seasoned vet with SEO it can be an extremely overwhelming subject to try and comprehend.

I’m no expert when it comes to SEO. But, I have learned a thing or two over the past decade. So, included in this post are some of my basic, easiest to understand suggestions to help you improve SEO for your blog. Whether you use the free WordPress plan or the Business WordPress Plan take some small steps and watch how your stats change.

SEO TIPS

If you have the WordPress business plan, use the Yoast plugin. This won’t be applicable unless you have the business plan. But, if you have the business plan, Yoast gives you what is essentially a step-by-step guide of how to take a post from a basic post to an SEO superstar.

Pick a valuable keyword for your content. Keywords are are words or phrases that describe the content on your page or post the best. Essentially, a keyword is what you think people will search on Google to find the post that you’re writing. It’s important to pick a keyword that speaks to what you’re sharing, and that it also be something people will search. Keep in mind that if you pick too generic, you might not get indexed. And, if you pick too specific and people might not actually search it often… if at all.

Utilize keywords throughout your content. It’s important to ensure that selected keywords (subject matter) for your posts are woven throughout your content. This means trying to include your keyword within the title, any headings and subheadings used, DEFINITELY within your introductory sentence, and the concluding paragraph. Do not put your keyword in places where it is not applicable.

Optimize any images shared. If you’re uploading a photo to your blog, include keywords in the file name. If you have a business account, use a keyword rich description in the ATF. If you do not have a business account, use a keyword applicable caption.

Reference both internal and external links within your posts. With respect to your content, you should think of your blog as a sort of… digital spider web.

  • An internal link is one that links from your post to another page or post on your site. This is really quite simple, actually. If you make a post, link other similar posts. If you frequently talking about anxiety, link other posts you’ve made about anxiety. If you talk about parenting frequently, link some similar posts where you speak about parenting. Doing this creates a digital spiderweb within your own site, which tells search engines you’ve been around for a while.
  • An external link is one that goes elsewhere on the web. You can link to posts made by other bloggers. You can link to the site that possibly motivated you to write your post. When you are linking externally, make sure the site you’re sharing a link to is one relevant to your article. Don’t just link to link. Quality links are a valuable piece to any site looking to rank higher on search engine pages and the digital spider web you’re trying to weave should speak to your blog and it’s content/value

Use social media to broaden your reach and share your blog posts. Twitter, Instagram and Facebook are all great resources for sharing your posts and garnering more views. You can make new friends and acquaintances on these sites, grow your audience and your blog’s reach. And, in sharing links to your posts on social media, you’re both adding to the digital spider-web of your blog, and creating valuable back-links to your website.

Have a user friendly website. If your website is difficult to navigate, search engines are not going to rank it highly in indexes. If your menu is difficult to find, search engines are not going to rank it highly in indexes. If your text is a neon green colour that can be difficult to read, search engines are not going to rank it highly in indexes. The sites which rank the highest within search engines are the ones that are most user-friendly to the masses. It makes sense if you think about it – why would google recommend a website to you that’s going to give you a headache trying to navigate? If your website is confusing, maybe it’s time to make some upgrades.

Fix broken links. Broken links can do a lot of harm to you when you’re trying to get your site indexed for search engines. If you do everything you can to have your content indexed but you do have broken links within your site, those broken links are going to ‘delegitimize’ your site/blog to search engine crawlers responsible for indexing. Think of broken links like people who try to clean by shoving everything in the closet and shutting the door. The mess is still there, you’ve just hidden it. Even if you’re taking every other step possible to be indexed, if you’ve got broken links within your site, your mess is still there, it’s just hidden.

Fix your blank pages. If you have a menu item on your site that goes nowhere at all, that’s going to harm your ability to be indexed. Even if it has nothing to do with your post content. If there’s a blank page somewhere on your site, search engine crawlers could possibly believe your site is incomplete and deem it not worthy of being indexed.

Make your posts content easy to read and understand. Use short sentences. Use headings. Use subheadings. Use bolded sentences when you’re trying to accentuate a point. Break up the content into small chunks so that, even if someone is an idiot, or if they have a short attention span, they can make it through your post. When you’re sharing your content you should be dumbing it down so that the stupidest person on earth could read it and understand it. The reason for this is, search engines want to rank pages highest that are easiest for everyone to read. One long run-on paragraph is going to be harder for people to get through. Content that is rich in technical language is going to be harder for people to get through. If something is difficult for people to consume, search engines are not going to rank it as reader friendly.

TO CONCLUDE

As with every suggestion, tip or trick I offer on this blog, please take all information provided with a grain of salt. Use what works for you and leave what you don’t want

SEO is such a convoluted subject that there’s a lot of advice floating around the interwebs. Quite honestly, you could probably take any number of the first two hundred suggestions that come up from a quick google search and see some improvements in your site rankings. To be successful with SEO, it’s all about doing including the small details and taking those extra little steps to make you content user/reader friendly.

If you have made it through all of this and have any questions, please don’t hesitate to ask. Leave a comment below and I’ll be happy to answer whatever I can.

The Discord Dummy catches COVID

One of the reasons that I was very anxious about how sick I was this past week was because one of my coworkers recently let us know that he tested positive for COVID.

Firstly, I wasn’t surprised when he told us. I’ve written about him on this blog before, here and here. Basically, he’s been exceptionally careless about the ongoing pandemic. He’s been going on dates and hooking up with females like it’s nobody’s business, and, detailing his exploits on the company discord. The fact that he has COVID was a little bit of karma finally catching up with him.

“Practice safe sex” really takes on a whole new meaning when there’s a deadly pandemic sweeping the globe. I can’t imagine the frustration of the health care workers trying to do contact tracing and having to follow ‘Girl I had sex with from Tinder’ as a lead.

While I haven’t been physically present within six feet of him, we were in the same office together for several days. We walked the same halls, opened the same doors, you know… we shared the same vicinity. So, the fact that I was really sick had me extremely worried that it was COVID and that I had caught it from him.’

Anyways, apparently he’s felt like absolute shit. He went so far as to say this is the sickest he’s ever been in his entire life. Do we think he’s going to learn anything from this experience? Doubtful.

The good news is, I didn’t have COVID. I had the flu. I’m feeling much better now, which I am grateful for. I think I was feeling extra whiney when I was sick because I had the added anxiety of waiting for test results. Thankfully I was able to avoid people for several days so I know for certain that no one else got sick because of me.

Grocery delivery is quickly becoming one of my favourite conveniences.

As for Axel, haven’t heard from him in a couple of days. Hopefully he’s recovering well. Even if he did have this coming, I still hope he’s not suffering too badly.

Back when we first started hearing about this virus in late January on the news, one of the first things my brother said about it was “You really can’t vouch for the healthiness of anyone but yourself”. Which is so, so, so true. If anyone who reads this is dating during this pandemic, just be careful. You really can’t vouch for the health of the other person… even if they say they’re perfectly healthy. It’s better to be safe than sorry.

Well… shit

Yesterday, in this province, we broke the record for positive cases in a single day since the start of the pandemic. Today we broke yesterday’s record.

I would like it stated, for the record, that I am NOT for this ‘well if we all catch it then we’ll be good’ mentality. As someone who lives with an autoimmune condition, I really would prefer to not ‘risk it’ and hope for the best. Maybe that’s just me, though…

Healthy people need to realize that they’re harming everyone if they have a nonchalant attitude about this. Cancer patients are being told they can’t have their treatments because it’s too much of a risk. Surgeries, necessary surgeries are being postponed because it’s not safe. People who need to rely on the health care system are being told that they can’t because selfish people need to throw wedding receptions and retirement parties.

Enough, I say. Enough.