Wait…How Did I Build a Website?

I remember the long, hard days of a career that seemed to go on forever. And the Bucket List of places I wanted to see, books I wanted to read, and courses I wanted to take. But nowhere on that long list of ‘will-do’s’ did I write – build a website. Build a website was not ever on my retirement radar.

So how did ‘build a website’ happen?

If I retrace my footsteps, I can probably see how the idea may have formed, albeit fairly loosely.

I guess it really began in the mid-Eighties. We were living on Penang Island in Malaysia at the time. It was a two-year posting and I had finished my teacher-training a year or two before we left Australia.

As we flew out of Sydney, I waved goodbye to friends and family and life as I had known it. And a job I had been happily working in since graduation.

The posting was code for a two-year holiday – for those of us who kept the home-fires burning for the serving-member we were married to. But trust me – there were no home-fires burning anywhere for that two years. Penang only has one season – HOTV-E-R-Y HOT!.

The biggest decision I had to make for two years was – which restaurant to meet friends at for lunch. Or – which craft group to go to on any given day.

Image by onyva from Pixabay 
Famous Street Art in Penang

Until we bought a computer!

At first I was too afraid to even turn it on. I was sure one wrong key-press would delete everything that the braver, more knowledgeable family members had carefully saved. So I just stood back and admired it.

This was not a stance I could maintain. I really wanted to know what that computer could do. But it was just too daunting.

‘Just do it, Mum’, he said. ‘You’ll figure it out.’.

My son assured me he had backed everything up so I really couldn’t do too much damage.

And that was the beginning of my love for all things technology.

Of course, back in the Eighties, computers were sold to women as an amazing tool for storing recipes!

Yep – you certainly could and I certainly did.

But I wanted to know more, so I found an evening course in basic computer skills. The only problem was, it wasn’t exactly B-A-S-I-C. I was in a class with young people, learning how to write programs using the old DOS system. As far as I can remember, DOS stood for Disk Operating System – but I might be wrong on that – the Eighties were so long ago.

Write a Program

My first assignment was to write a program that would enable an assistant at the front of the restaurant, to send an order directly to the kitchen.

I had no idea simple commas could have so many meanings. One comma in the wrong place meant the program wouldn’t run. As simple as my program was – I was proud of the fact that I eventually made it work.

And how far have we come? Try walking into a McDonalds these days and finding a human to interact with. Orders are now placed on the computer at the door. Or via a Smart Device before we even get to the door.

You’ve gotta love technology – or not…

Fast forward to our posting back to Australia and the resumption of my teaching career in 1986. Computers were still a bit of a mystery for some, but my planning was backed up on the trusty old computer.

When I eventually took the giant step back into study to upgrade my qualifications, I invested in a Mac Classic. It was simply a smallish cube. And there was certainly no Internet back then. And not a hint of colour on the screen.

That old Mac got me through a Graduate Diploma in Special Education and a Master’s Degree. By the time I enrolled in a PhD program a few years later, it was time to upgrade. And it was time for a laptop.

Having the Internet and email by then was just the icing on the academic cake. I made it through almost two years of my PhD, but eventually faded back into normal existence. Working long days at school (yes – I was still teaching full-time) and studying at night and weekends just wasn’t sustainable. “I’ll finish my PhD when I retire”, I told myself… somewhat disbelievingly.

And speaking of retirement….

Life continued to hurdle on through the years until one day, I woke up to find that retirement age had passed me by. And I was tired.

I pulled the resignation form out of my back pocket and laid it carefully on the Principal’s desk. He understood. He looked as tired as I felt.

I had been hearing about Bloggers and Blogging for a couple of years before I hung up the chalk for the last time (joking – we had Smart Boards by then). I had no idea what Blogging was all about, but I figured it was something I wanted to learn. And I figured it meant having a website to ‘blog’ on.

So I asked my techie-son how to build a website. After all, he was all grown up and designing websites for clients by then. I secretly thought this was in the bag. My son would whip one up for me in no time. All I would have to do was maintain it.


He told me to go to the WordPress.com website.

“It’s easy, Mum”, he said. “You’ll figure it out.”.

And I did.

With online support from the WordPress fraternity and a bit of trial and error thrown in for good measure, I set my first website up.

But work was still there in the background.

I got super-busy for the next couple of years and didn’t give much thought to the website.

That is, until the retirement cruise to Vanuatu was over and my feet were planted firmly on the ground of my retirement unit – the place I now call home.

Right – so what does a person do when they retire?

They build a website – or three – and start blogging. I had already read a few of the long awaited books and ticked off a few places on my travel Bucket List, so I started writing. I’m still not sure what blogging actually is, for someone like me who isn’t selling anything, but I’m having a go at it.

I don’t have a particular niche. I just write.

When I was stuck for a topic once – I wrote the A-Z of Windows and Doors. It was kind of like a mini-series and I was able to use some of the hundreds of photos I’ve taken – of windows and doors. I’m not sure why I’m obsessed with taking photos of windows and doors – maybe there’s a therapist somewhere for that.

And now I find myself devoting way too much, yet not nearly enough time to blogging and writing. Blogging – when I sign up for the Ultimate Blog Challenge – and writing – when it’s only my loyal family and friends reading my words.

So maybe it all started back in the Eighties with that first computer, but I have no idea where it will all end.
I just know that whatever is destined to happen – will happen – as everything in my life always has and always will – just happen.
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Posted by Maureen

Owner and Administrator of website: maureendurney.com

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