Widget Nightmares

I’ve always suffered work-related nightmares. In the early eighties, I tended bar and cooked in two rock and roll bars in Philadelphia’s South Street area. Those were low-stress, fun-filled jobs. In search of bigger bucks, I found a job on a floating restaurant. The Moshulu was, and still is, the largest four-masted sailing ship still afloat in the world today. Bars and tables adorned every deck, nook and cranny.

The Moshulu

At the Moshulu, we proudly served gallon after gallon of frozen daiquiris, margaritas, and piña coladas. The bartenders were responsible for stocking and maintaining stocks of five-gallon containers of frozen fruit. No problem, except when an unexpected crowd of revelers hit the deck.

At times, I worked alone, mixing endless frozen fruit drinks, washing the glasses, and trying not to betray my rising panic to the folks who stood five deep at the bar. At night, I dreamt of working on an assembly line. In my nightmare, I stood alone, pulling down fruit from a never-ending overhead line, while simultaneously trying to pulverize it in a blender.

More recently, as a teacher, my nightmares varied. In some, I walked into a class of students engaged in mayhem. They leapt around the classroom, scattered litter on the floor, sang, danced, and yelled in a frenzy of rule- breaking. I stood haplessly by, waiting for the mean, hairy, ugly principal to charge into the room and fire me on the spot, and crying. In others, I entered a classroom of students who sat attentively, notebooks open and pens in hand, waiting for me to instruct them. But I had no lesson plans, and no idea of what to say. I stood, stammered and sweated, but nary a notion popped into my empty head.

Now I’m retired, and stress-free, except for my website, which is driving me crazy. After a day of trying to make my blog and its pictures exist on the page in some logical arrangement, images of the WordPress dashboard haunt my dreams. For non-techies, of whom I am one, alas, WordPress is the tool I use for constructing my site.

Once in bed, I see the dashboard, but can’t make it work- much like the drill in my waking life. In my website nightmare, I move from page to page on the dashboard, back and forth between one function I can’t fathom and another.

When I decided to create my own website, I asked for recommendations on the IWW, (Internet Writing Workshop) home of a gazillion writers. They said, “Try WordPress, it’s user-friendly.” Wrong. I’ve spent hours trying to figure out how to use this demon tool.

The problem is jargon. I confess I can’t differentiate between a plugin and a widget, let alone use one. So I consult the support pages. Can I apprehend the directions? No. For example: I know I need to use a widget to allow users to subscribe to my blog, so I find one. That part is easy. I look at the list of available widgets, and choose one. It’s a Feedburner Email Widget. I think it’s the one, so I press the add button. That takes me to a screen where I have to fill in information. Uh oh. What on earth is a feedburner feed URL?

I Google feedburner feed URL. The link that looks most promising is called
Creating your WordPress feed. Answers! No. That link is not for my particular version of WordPress, so it’s back to the resources. I feel very much like someone trying to look up a word in the dictionary, but not knowing any of the words offered in the definition.

Yay! I did it. So what if I sat in front of the computer swearing and spitting for hours on end. Now can someone please tell me what the heck my feed address is?

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About Myra

I'm retired in Costa Rica, having lived in Philly, State College, Salem Mass, and Kawagoe Japan. You might call me a career gypsy, but my last and best job was teaching English to some of the best and brightest kids in Philly. I'm new to blogging and websites, and will probably make all the mistakes there are, but now I'm sharing my writing. I moved to Costa Rica in June of 2009 with my husband Jack, my dog Buddha, and Jack's two cats, Hobbes and Noir.
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