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28 October 2005 @ 03:16 pm
It's been 4 days and I really haven't done any genealogy. Like life I was sidetracked, but it's been worth it. It just seems the tradition for me every fall is to work on my budget. I would really like to do this the first week of January but it always comes in October - I don't know why? Must be the feeling of fall in the air that makes me prepare for whats coming ahead.

I sat down Monday to work up the budget. That means I have to enter all my bills into a spreadsheet I created back in 1998. I record how much each month's utility bill cost and then I figure out the monthly average. With my average monthly expenses figured then I can prepare the budget. But wait I was sidetracked. Must be some ADD in me. I couldn't sit and do this ritual without a cleaned and organized office space. I thought I would give you a glimpse into my Genealogy Office Space.

When I first bought a computer we had it in the living room. With such a tiny house we really needed to give the computer a room of it's own. Once again where? One day a light came on, I measured and then re-measured and determined to make the pantry into my Computer Room, which is where my Genealogy Office Space resides. The space is tight but very functional. The room is 6 feet wide about 11 feet long. I use for my desk a table with a leaf added in it that takes up the 6 feet wide part right under the window. Then I have a large 3 foot wide 4 drawers high file cabinet right up against the table on the wall next to it. Under the table on the opposite wall I have a two drawer file cabinet. I share the room with a water heater, can't have everything. The rest of the tiny room is taken up with two bookcases, a four drawer clear plastic stand, garbage basket with paper shredder and bookshelves taking up all the extra wall space. I have just enough room for my office chair and a stool next to it, so two people can look at the computer at a time.

The extra person usually on that stool is my good friend and genealogy buddy in crime, Teresa. Here's where another sidetrack happened this week. I finished cleaning my computer room and making everything neat and tidy, re-arranged bookcases and shelves. I found several older programs I don't use and I'm now going to try to sell on e-bay. (That should be interesting!) Well about this time Teresa's hard drive gave up the ghost. I went over and helped her reinstall programs and all the junk that comes with having a new hard drive. Sadly, she didn't have current backups of everything on her old hard drive - lesson learned there! Teresa doesn't have a Computer Room her Genealogy Office Space is in her living room. Believe me that is a much better place than her bedroom! You used to have to sit on the edge of her bed, hunched over to use the computer, that hurt your back. Well in the living room she has a chair, but it's the padded folding chair type, which still hurts your back but not as bad. After several hours of helping Teresa set up her computer my back was done in.

The funny thing is Teresa has a bad back and lately it's been getting worse. She called me the next day to tell me she bought a new rocker recliner to help her back. I told her she didn't need a new recliner but an office chair to support her back. I then put two and two together and realized that the more time she spent on the computer the more her back was hurting, which she had been doing a lot of both lately. This then sent us on the quest for a nice computer chair.

We happened to start our search for the perfect office chair at a little store in American Fork, UT where I live. We found a really nice chair that supported your back and shoulders well. Since we had just started our quest we wrote the info on the chair down and then proceeded to go to several other office stores to check out their chairs. I found that expensive chairs do not mean more comfortable chairs. After all the searching we went back to American Fork and bought the chair in the first store we went to, figures! Surprisingly the perfect office chair only cost $100, not bad when you see what the fancy chairs cost.

Off course no shopping spree is complete without a trip to the local Deseret Industries, a local thrift store. I found while checking out their old software a boxed copy, with manual, of WinFax PRO. It said Windows 2000 compliant on it, so for the outrageous price of $2.00 I bought it. I came home and installed it and it works on my Windows XP computer. I was thrilled! I have wanted for a long time the program, which is version 9, the latest is 10, but the $100 price tag was out of my budget. Now I could get ride of my fax machine, yippee! That fax machine was a pain. I didn't have room for it on my desk so every time I needed it I had to move it and hook it up, something much easier said than done. I found that if I keep WinFax PRO on all the time it answers my phone calls with the fax noise and I have to shut if off. So I will only turn it on when I need it. I might still use eFax to receive faxes but I can use my scanner and WinFax PRO to send anything I need to. What is eFax, it's a free internet fax service. It's free to receive but you have to pay to have the ability to send faxes through them. If you don't have a fax machine I would recommend you signing up for a free eFax account at http://www.efax.com.

So with Teresa's computer issues solved and my office space cleaned and organized I determined to do my budget. Teresa came over and I showed her my current system of preparing a budget. But the real reason was for her to watch me experiment with a new system, Quicken. I had received with my computer a free copy of Quicken which I never installed or used. I had previously used Money2000 and didn't care for it. I thought I would try to ease the process of preparing my budget by updating software from an Excel spreadsheet to Quicken. I really think the program will work well, it was very easy to learn and input information. It was no time at all that my budget was made up for the coming year. I will spend the next couple of months using it to get a good feel for the program. I also had fun downloading my checking account transactions on-line to Quicken. This should make life much easier and make more time for Genealogy!

So what did I learn this past week.
1. Make sure you have a comfortable office chair.
2. Have your office space work for you not against you.
3. Make sure you make backups of all your programs often.
4. Experiment with new software programs to make life simpler.
5. Accept sidetracks they might make things easier in the long run.
6. I can survive a few days of not doing genealogy. (But, not forever!)

Hopefully I will see you tomorrow, for tomorrow is always another genealogy day!
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