I’d planned not to go to this morning’s meeting of the Scottsdale Bidness Association. It’s a long drive under the best of circumstances, and today it’s raining. Meanwhile, as usual in my drought-and-flood business model, the flood pours in right at Christmastime, the only time of year when I have a lot of social activities that (for a change) keep me busy. These are social activities that I do not want to give up, most certainly not in favor of plodding through eye-glazing academic ponderosity, much of it infested with cant.
So I slept in until 7:30. Then sat down briefly (heh…) to read the email while waiting for the coffee to brew.
At 11:30 I got up to throw out the forgotten coffee, now stone-cold, and bolt down a piece of cheese and a few grapes. While the new coffee brewed, tossed the dogs’ bed throw into the dryer to shake out the fur, loaded the Swiffer with a Costco microfiber rag, dustmopped the floors to pick up another couple days’ worth of dog hair and dust.
Awhile back, I assigned myself the project of machine-shaking out the dog throw and dust-mopping the floors every morning, having discovered that this easy, almost work-free routine keeps the floors clean and holds off the allergies handsomely.
In the process, the puppy got trapped in the garage. Neither dog will bark to be let out of the garage. They just stand there at the door, apparently figuring their mental telepathy will reach you.
In the “brief” interval between 7:30 and 11:30, what was I doing that I missed breakfast and missed even so much as a swig of hot coffee?
Reviewed The Kid’s herculean effort to untangle the worst excuse for an academic paper I’ve seen this side of freshman comp. She has spent hours on this thing (as I have), and this morning she finally threw up her hands. The anthology’s editor — our client — is going to have to send the magnum opus back to the author for a rewrite. What an UNGODLY mess.
But of course, the process of a) CYA and b) explaining to the client what the problem is takes God only knows how long. A long, long time.
The Kid has fired our formatting lady, for reasons that explain why one of our journal’s co-editors had a kitten over the documentation for an entire issue’s worth of scholarly papers. So now we have to hire someone to take up that slack, and damned fast because we’re both about to drown under the deluge of Incoming.
A new Chinese scientist wants his paper Englished. Haven’t even had time to answer his query. That’s next.
I’ve drafted a couple of skills tests for APA, Chicago notes-&-bibliography, and Chicago author-date styles, but it must be said that because it’s been 15 years since I had to actually teach these methods in the classroom, I don’t have an existing set of quizzes or anything I can plagiarize for the purpose. So this morning after trying to figure out the tangle and then trying to explain it to the client, after updating our copy-flow records, after going back & forth with The Kid, after cleaning out the DropBox folders, after… after… after…, I return to the task of trying to make some sense of the skills-testing project.
Along the way I realize about half of these papers are formatted in Wyrd’s newer default — one-inch margins all the way around — rather than with the old default margins — one inch top and bottom, 1.25 inch left and right. Our page rates are predicated on the old default. Is there SOME REASON Microsoft has to fuck with EVERYTHING?????????
That extra quarter-inch reduces the length of a typical 35- to 40-page paper by three to five pages. So we are getting cheated when we base our fees on the length of a page that has Microsoft’s new margins. That means either we have to raise our rates — which, believe me, will not bring us any new work — or about every second or third page has to be reformatted. And I need a tracking table for that task, showing the number of pages per paper with 1.25-inch margins, the number of pages we’ve edited in total, the number of words per paper and in toto and goddamn it. Talk about your fucking pointless time sucks. Why? Because some moron at Microsoft decides it’s fun to mess with the customers’ heads.
The skies darken with my mood.
At length the clouds split open and a freaking waterfall cascades down into the backyard. A lake rises toward the back door.
It doesn’t get high enough to over-run the concrete threshold — the house’s slab rises four, maybe five inches above grade. Thank God. If the foundation had been any lower, I would’ve had water in the house.
The water has now receded — it’s 2:00 in the afternoon, this writing having been interrupted by a lengthy telephone conversation with another client.
In any event, the good thing is…the good thing is…is…there’s GOTTA be a good thing here somewhere, doesn’t there? The GOOD thing is I’m sure as hell glad I didn’t drive to Scottsdale in this rain. Phoenix’s drivers are homicidal under the best of conditions. In the rain, they’re confused homicidal drivers.
And now…I have to get some work done.