Setting Up for the Wedding Tonight

It is hard to believe that I am up this early, but it is a big day.  One of my good friends is getting married tonight, and there is a lot of work to do.  Twelve hours from now, we will be in the church for the wedding ceremony, and at 7 PM tonight, we will be sitting down for dinner, right here, in this hall.  There are five of us that have been working on decorating this room since 4 AM, and things are coming along smoothly.

While it would have been nice to start decorating last night, there was another function going on, so we didn’t have that option.  Leave it up to Mel to plan things at the last minute, and honestly we are lucky that we are even here.  She decided one short month ago that she was getting married today, and it was a whirlwind getting everything organized.

Thankfully, we are just about done.

The room is decorated and we are just setting up each table in the reception hall.  We are placing 10 inch gold sparklers at every place setting so that the guests can light them up during the first dance.

We still have a lot of things to do to make today happen, but I know everything will work out.  It is going to be a wonderful wedding day.

Reading The Walking Dead Comics

While I have been watching The Walking Dead on AMC, it wasn’t until this past week that I started reading the comics.  Like many people that watch the show, I was looking for more of a Walking Dead fix, and since we have to wait for the next season, I thought that I might has well try reading the comics.

I picked up the comic books from ComicBookMania.com.au, an online retailer of comic books.  Their prices were the best that I found online, and it was a lot easier to order the issues that I wanted without having to try and find time to go to one of the local comic book stores.

They arrived in just a few days after I ordered them, but it wasn’t until this past weekend that I had time to finally sit down and crack open the first issue.

Boy were they good.

I have read the first fifty issues over the course of the past week, and I am pretty sure that I will be spending most of the weekend reading the rest of them.

I don’t think that I have read this much in years.

One thing is for sure – I should have really bought these comics a lot sooner.

Taking Care of my Health

One of the things that I have always taken for granted is my health.  I’ve always been a healthy person that could eat just about anything and was in good enough shape to run around with my nieces and nephews.  But I really noticed a change back in March when I was struggling to make it up a flight of stairs – it was time that I did something about my health.

I suppose the problems started this past winter when I was depressed.  I don’t know why the winter months bothered me so much this past year, but as a coping mechanism, I started to snack when I was feeling blue.  Over time, this snacking had a significant impact on my weight, and I put on about thirty pounds over the course of the winter.

So, now I am working it off.

I have teamed up with a Brighton personal trainer, Jo Dines, to help me create a fitness plan and get in better shape.  Working with her has really helped me to focus on my workout routines and making healthy choices when it comes to eating.  She has been able to help me stay motivated, and I know I will be able to take this weight off.

It feels good to be putting my health first for a change.

Getting Ready for a Night on the Town

It doesn’t seem like my wife and I get to go out without the kids.  While I do love our children, sometimes we need a break from them just to stay sane.  But getting everything lined up for childcare so that we can have a few hours away from them is always a challenge.

But I did it anyway – we are going out tonight.

My parents are watching the kids while we go out, so tonight should be perfect.  I’m just getting ready for this evening and I am having trouble picking out the best sherwani to wear.  I am not usually so indecisive, but for whatever reason, I am having troubles picking one out today.

We have reservations at our favorite restaurant at seven, and then we are going to go out for a night of dancing.  We don’t really have to be home at a specific time tonight as the kids will be sleeping over at the grandparents.

I just hope that we can stay awake long enough to enjoy our evening.

I don’t know when the next time will be that we get to go out for a date like this, so we are going to savor every moment.

Outsourcing our Payroll Department

After our payroll clerk retired last month, we took a serious look at her position to see if we needed to replace her.  You see, except for cutting the checks twice per month, she really didn’t do a lot of work.  The hours were also a little sporadic as she worked quite a few hours the weeks we were doing payroll, but next to none the weeks that we did not.

It was a tough call for us as we always looked at the business as an entity that could provide work for people in the community.  But the truth of the matter was that it wasn’t a very efficient use of our resources, and I knew that we could do better.

We weighed many different options including hiring a new worker, but the only real option that made any kind of sense was to use business process outsourcing.

What is business process outsourcing?

Business process outsourcing (BPO) is contracting a specific task to a third party to save money.  Most of the time, these tasks don’t really have any influence on the business operations, but may still be required to run the company.

Payroll is a perfect example of a job that is perfect for BPO.

We are going to be working with StaffOutsourcing.com to provide the payroll service for the next few months and see how things go.  I have a feeling that in a few months we will look at other positions in the office and look at outsourcing them as well.

One Last Party at the End of Exams

Wow.  It is hard to believe that another school year is over already.  I just finished my third year of psychology, and I don’t think I have ever worked so hard in my life.  It was a challenging year, and while it is over, it is sad to say goodbye to my friends for another summer.

Before we part ways each year, we have a little party to celebrate the good times and the end of another round of exams.  These parties usually go on until the wee hours of the morning, and I’ll be honest – I feel pretty rough afterwards.

But I do have fun.

Traditionally we do something to end the night, and this year was no different.  Stacey found a place that sold LED balloons that we could fill with helium.

Which we did.

When we had all of our balloons full of helium with the lights turned on, we stepped outside, said a few words and let the balloons go into the night sky.

We stood there and watched for a few minutes as our balloons floated away and we spent our last few moments together this term.

I am really going to miss my friends over the summer, but I suppose the fall will be here soon enough…

Manning the Phones in a Call Center

While I never thought that I would ever go back to telemarketing as a career, I find myself working in a call center now.  You see, I lost my last job due to downsizing, and I needed to find work quickly.  Considering that I had experience in telemarketing, finding a job in that field was my best shot.

So, now I am working in a call center again.

At least this time I am doing something a little different.  Instead of selling over the phone, I am providing customer service instead.  The call center provides staff to serve about a dozen or so companies, so every day is a little different depending on which company you are working for.  We are the voice behind the 1300 numbers for these companies and provide customer service to their customers.

Our job is really to calm the customer down, address their problem, and provide solutions.  In many ways it is like selling, but instead of measuring success based on sales, we do so based on happy customers. 

It can be very stressful but rewarding.

At this point I don’t know if this will be a long-term career or just something to fill my time while I am looking for another job.  I am just thankful I have some way that I can keep putting food on the table.

Settling an Argument with my Wife

My wife and I are both very competitive.  This has affected all areas of our lives, and we continue to have friendly competitions whenever we have the chance.

I challenged my wife after she was bragging to our friends that she was the fastest typist in the house.  While she does work as an administrator for a local business, I spend most of my days writing on the computer, and frankly, I type pretty fast too.

So, we had to settle this statement once and for all – we were going to have a typing competition.

In order to have a fair competition, we had to find a typing speed test online.  It was really the only way that we would be able to measure who was the fastest accurately.

We set the test for today.  We both have our matching laptops out, and we are going to do the test at the same time to make sure that no one has any kind of advantage.

We have decided that we are going to do the test at noon.

I hope I win.

Honestly, it will be better if we tie – neither one of us likes to lose to the other.

SharkReach Provides Access to Effective Instagram Marketing Campaigns

As many of you know, Instagram’s popularity continues to rise.  But big companies and big brands don’t know how to effectively connect with the 300 million active users of the site.  SharkReach, a Manhattan Beach startup, has created SharkScore to help big brands leverage this active social media platform.

Known as an Instagram First™ marketing platform, SharkReach allows brands to reach key influencers on Instagram and reaching out onto other social media platforms.  This makes it easy for brands to reach consumers with engaging campaigns and branded messaging.  They are a full-service provider and manage their Instagram campaigns including selecting the right influencers, designing and launching the campaign as well as providing comprehensive reporting.  Their online suite of tools provide invaluable metrics that detail posts, users, reach and impressions of every Instagram marketing campaign.

Engagement is key with any social media marketing campaign, and SharkReach has developed a proprietary contest platform specifically for Instagram that allows brands to interact and connect with users.  These campaigns rely heavily on established relationships with market influencers to develop brand loyalty through branded photo contests and sponsored posts.

Learn more about SharkReach and their Instagram First™ marketing platform by visiting their site at http://www.SharkReach.com

Attending Marriage Counseling

While you might not have seen it here on the blog, my marriage has been going through quite the rough spot for the last six months.  I suppose everything started when my wife lost her job and we found ourselves just barely scraping by for the first time in nearly a decade.

All of a sudden our relationship was in trouble.

The situation didn’t get any better either.  While she tried to find a job, she didn’t have any luck.  All of a sudden our money problems started to weigh down on our marriage and we started treating each other poorly.

There were even times where I was kicked out of my own house.

But we are going to try and save our marriage.

We have enrolled in some online marriage counseling that is geared towards people like us that have marriage difficulties.  It is a big step to get us to sit down in the same room and talk, and I am hoping that we will make some progress to get things resolved.

I don’t think that either of us wants to get divorced, so we will do what we need to do to work through these issues, come up with solutions, and end up with a happy and healthy marriage again.