Working From Home – in Rural Ontario

An Uncharted Journey

So, here I am at 55, one month into a new job.  It’s an ideal situation for me because I get to work from home.  A dream job it would seem, but not without its own issues.

I did not start out on this journey expecting that I would need to change so much over the years just to keep up with technology.  But there you have it – over 5 decades has seen a great deal of change.

Mostly I love the new techy toys and programs that have become available.  But in recent years I have been spending a great deal of my time with my head “In the clouds” so to speak.  Virtual everything, everywhere.

When you live in the city or the suburbs, it’s not that difficult to keep up.  Living in the country though?  Not such an easy thing to do.  I can no longer turn a blind eye to what I took for granted just a couple years ago.  While city living is the cat’s meow for many folk, and while it served its purpose while I was working and brining up a family, it was not my ultimate desired location.

No, I wanted to go back to my roots.  Back to the country where things seemed simpler.  Maybe it was just that my recollections of country living were simpler because I was a child and saw things from a totally different perspective than I do now.

Don’t get me wrong – I love it up here in the country.  But there are a great many things to consider when living in a rural community.

Fall Splendor

Fall Splendor

In addition to those things, comes the extra headache for things I did not need to think about in an urban environment.

Did you know that UPS, Purolator and FedEx do not have to travel out to my location to deliver packages that I have paid a premium for?  No, instead they decide where they want to drop them off.  For example.  I got a visit from a neighbour one day to deliver a FedEx package that had been delivered to the liquor store in town (about 15 kilometers from my place).   Their reason?  The courier driver knew one of the employees that worked there lived on my road, which meant they saved themselves a few minutes.

Am I happy that my neighbour was being neighbourly?  You bet!  The problem is, this is not an isolated incident.  After 2 years of living in the country, and out of approximately 12 packages we have paid extra to have delivered to our door,  only one has ever reached our doorstep.  And that was after an argument with the courier service.  One of my personal beefs.

Did you know that because there are not enough people in a rural area, that we all have to pay extra for every service known to man?   For example:  The world has gone global and the government has decided that access to the internet is considered as important as the telephone.  So all Canadians must have access.  The problem with that?  The internet service provides still get to gouge the rural community for those services.   I guess the regulators don’t consider that important.

Did you know that many rural areas have only 2 options for internet access?  Satellite and cell phone towers.  One is unreliable and one is over the moon expensive.  Great choices.

So, living in the country and working virtually from home has provided me with some major challenges.  I am taking on the big guys, and trying to cause enough of a stink that something gets done.  One little voice in an isolated area.  What do you think the changes are that anyone will hear me?

Maybe I should “friend” the local newspapers and challenge the government officials.  You never know, I just might do that yet.

 

 

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Posted in Country Living, Ontario

Bell Canada – A Communications Company?

Old Style Phone

Old Style Phone

For such a large company who specializes in communications Bell Canada really does not know how to communicate.

Why don’t they get it right, think of the paying customer, and make the experience a little less painful?

On a monthly basis I receive an invoice for all of the services that I get through Bell on one bill.  That would make you think that one phone number for customer service, and they would be able to answer any of your questions on any of those services that you are being billed for on their “One Bill”.

Don’t be fooled by logic.  No indeed.  You must call 5 different people to get answers about 5 different questions regarding the 5 different services that you are being billed for on that one bill.

Logic would dictate that when you speak to someone about your cell phone, and they have all of your personal information sitting right there in their data base, that all of your services with Bell would also be listed in said data base.  Not so.  Each service has it’s own little data silo and they don’t talk to each other.  “Cell” silo cannot speak to “phone” silo, cannot speak to “TV” silo and so on. . . You, the paying customer, have the privilege of doing all the work for them.

Don’t go to the Bell Store and expect answers either.  I spent 20 minutes standing in line when I wanted to purchases a Turbo Hub.  There were 4 customers in front of me even though it looked like 10.

The first lady had 4 teenage children with her.  She was served by one of the two customer service representatives in the store that morning.  She was still being served by the time the 3 other people were “served” by the other representative.  Her standard response was something like this.

“I’m sorry, I can’t help you with that question.  You will have to go on line to find the answer.”

I was hoping the lady with the 4 teenagers would hurry up – I didn’t want the the young lady who had no answers trying to answer my questions.  Luck was not on my side.  I got the young lady who didn’t know anything, and I got her standard response. . . “I’m sorry, I can’t help you with that question” . . .

I had done some research on line, had called Bell customer service, and was advised that I needed go to the nearest Bell Store for what I was looking for.  It took an 1 1/2 hours just to get to the store to be greeted by a service rep who didn’t give two hoots about anything.  I was livid.

I went out to my car, took my Bell cell phone and called *611.  I had to “Choose one of the following options” 5 times before I got someone on the other end of the line, and I was breathing a prayer that I had chosen the correct options and the person on the other end of the line was going to be able to  help me.

She did help me in a manner of speaking.  She advised me that if I wanted answers, NOT to go to the Bell store.  How’s that for confidence in your people?  Rather, she suggested that I go to The Source.  They apparently are owned by Bell, and actually staff their stores with folks who know what they are talking about.  Novel idea!

The Source happened to have a store across the street.  Yipee!  Another good piece of fortune.  And the young man who served me was the epitome of a knowledgable customer service representative.   He knew the products, was able to advise which of the options available were the best and why, and was able to answer my questions.  He even took the time to look things up on the internet and show me “how to”.  Bell could learn a thing or two from their very own outsourced company.  Too bad they don’t seem to care.

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Posted in Canada, Country Living, digital, Miscellaneous Musings, Ontario

Winter in the Highlands of Haliburton

This is our second winter season in the beautiful cottage country of Highlands East, Ontario (Canada).

This is the 35' spot we cut out of the snow bank to put our load of wood

This is the 35′ spot we cut out of the snow bank to put our load of wood

We are told this has been a seasonal high for a decade or so in the amount of snow that is on the ground.  

That is wonderful news for the snowmobile fans, and all other winter sports fanatics.

And this is wonderful for our tourist attractions – which translates to good for business.  So mostly smiles all around, even if there are some grumbles that we’ve had enough.

For me – I’m good.  I have enjoyed being here and providing excellent administrative support from this remote location.

This is the load of wood that we had to make room for

This is the load of wood that we had to make room for

I have not had to travel too much in this weather and I’m sure that makes a huge difference in my outlook on the snow that is piled high all around us.

To give you an idea.  We have a snowplough that is welded onto an old 4×4 truck.  

This old truck certainly isn’t pretty, and with a name like “buck snort” I don’t believe anyone would think we were putting on airs by naming the poor old thing.  

He really is a bucket of bolts held together with rust and a prayer – but he works!   This year he has earned his spot in our driveway for as long as he wishes to perform.

There is one snowbank outside my window right now that is approximately 50′ long, 15′ deep and 4 – 4.5′ high.  And that is after we cut out a swath about 35′ long to accommodate a load of wood we had delivered.

This is winter in Haliburton Highlands
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Posted in Country Living

The Dream of Working from Home

Working from Home in Rural Canada

Like many folks I know, working from home is a dream – a goal to shoot for.  It is also something I have looked into on many occasions.  Many personal hours that could have been spent in leisurely activity were spent on researching the subject, and rejecting 99.9% of what I found.

There are so many scams and so many unscrupulous people.  It makes a person very nervous.

And then there is the opportunity to earn revenue on other people’s sites.  I have done so on certain writing sites, and made about $200.00 over a 4 year period.  Obviously I’m not writing about the right things.

I’ve looked into sites like Zazzle and Smug Mug and realize the money on things like that are not much better unless you are ready willing and able to spend a lot of time on marketing yourself.   I’m just not into marketing.

I know of people who have jobs working from home, but so far none of those folks have been able to assist me in getting something similar.  So I plugged along – working in a city 2 hours away from where I live.  Struggling to keep two places going because 2 hours each way every day was just not feasible.

However!  There is a light at the end of the tunnel, and we were able to work things out so that most of my work can be done remotely.  Isn’t that nice?  You bet!

But now the fun begins.  Who knew there would be technical issues that would have to be worked out?  Yes technology is awesome when it works.  Here’s to keeping it working!

If you work from home, what issues do you have to face?  I’m trying to stay a step ahead of the game here, so any notes or helpful suggestions will be greatly appreciated.

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Posted in Virtual

The Journey Never Ends

Let me first say a great big thank you to the wonderful folk who have followed this blog.

If you are one of those connections that I keep in touch with across the internet, you will have noticed this blog is really a mish-mash  of different areas of interest.

On this journey of learning I’ve just shared whatever, whenever.  I am going to attempt to change all of that.  You will find a different focus for this blog (The Journey) and one for my new website (photography).   It is my hope that by cleaning this up a bit, I will be able to focus better on each one.  :)  Keeping my fingers crossed.

As a result many of my posts relating to photography have been moved to my website for Duchess O’Blunt.   Feel free to pop over and join me there if you also have an interest in Photography.

New Website Goal.

My photography features landscape, waterscape, and nature shots visualizing moments of country living in Ontario.

  • I’d like to capitalise on selling my photography and see where it takes me.
  • I’ll blog and share what I am up to, some of my images, and hopefully some helpful tips as I learn them.
  • I want to learn about and promote copyright information for photographers and other artists.
  • I’d like to share some of the things that others around the world have taught me about the wonderful world of digital photography.
  • I’m hoping to share my part of the world with you, show you Ontario as I see it – from the back of an ATV or walking the trails.
  • And there is just so many other possibilities.

This is a part of my journey of learning.  May it never end.

Thanks again everyone.  Here’s to the journey of living :)

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Posted in blogging, Canada, copyright, Country Living, digital, Landscape, Nature, Ontario, photography

Reclaiming Our Rock Garden

For everyone who ever claimed to be too old to learn – I would like to encourage you not to think that way.

After a recent move we found what looked like a rock garden in our lawn, over run with weeds and forest.  I wanted to learn how to reclaim it and bring it back to it’s former glory – or better.  But I’m well over 50 and have never been a gardener.

Claimed by the Forest

This is our “rock garden” as it was when we first purchased the property

That didn’t stop me from trying my hand at it though.  I saw the possibilities and set out fulfill them.  The first year I managed to pull almost all the flowers and leave all the weeds.   With the help of a neighbour I learned the error of my ways and set about correcting them.

I’m still not the world’s best gardener, but I can say I have the best in my friend.  It’s also helpful to be able to “Google” my questions when she is busy.

So, here’s to newbies learning new things after 50.  And here’s to my reclaimed rock garden.  What do you think – am I on the right track?

Reclaimed rock garden

Our rock garden as it is after 2 years of working on it

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Posted in Gardening

WordPress.Org Support is Horrid

What a run around I have had!  It seems I only complain lately, but when you pay for something and the only type of support they offer is a forum – well that kind of rattles my cage. Especially when there is a fatal error on my website that I paid for, pay hosting for and have a paid theme.  When I try to log in to the forum to get help, it keeps telling me I have to register.  When I try to register it tells me that I am already registered.

GRRRRRRRR

Is there anyone out there who pays for a WordPress.org site that can lead me in the right direction?

Cannot find out anything on the support pages and I cannot fix my site.  

Frustrated with cyberspace.

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Posted in writing

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about.me
Duchess O'Blunt

Duchess O'Blunt

Living, Loving, Laughing, Learning

Mother | Wife| Sister| Friend | Daughter | Grandmother

Working from home as an Executive Assistant providing ongoing professional virtual support, brings it's own challenges, but also it's own rewards. Not having the travel (often) to work, frees up some time for hobbies that I hope to perfect.

Enthusiastic photographer | Writer | History & Genealogy Buff | Gardener.

If you've looked hard enough you would find something of all of these interests scattered around the internet.

My challenge will be to organize it all into something that makes sense.

I have a love for God, country and family.

This is my journey of learning.

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