On days like this, my father used to say he “got up on the wrong side of the bed.” Me, I think the explanation is that God Herself is pissed off at me. Can I compute in the cloud? Can our new marketing plan bring us some decently paying work? Are we doomed to an endless series of hopeless jobs paying Third-World wages? And why does all this make me feel mad as a cat?????
It’s been one of those cranky days. Started out that way and went downhill.
Shot off to Scottsdale de bonne heure, well before seven in the ayem, dressed not quite to the nines but certainly to the eights. Good company. Friend who’s a graphic designer of some renown and substantial talent took it upon himself, volunteer-wise, to take control of Tina’s and my project to design a logo and a business card. He surfaced with a truly gorgeous design. Love it covet it want to print it NOW, today! Tina loves it. Test client loves it.
“Test client”: friend who is also a client, whose taste and honesty can be trusted.
Only problem is, designer thinks copyeditor is two words. (He are, as we used to say at picture magazine Arizona Highways, a artist, he are not a english major.) The gorgeous design engages this small misapprehension. To fix it is to TOTALLY SCREW UP THE INCREDIBLY AWESOME UNBELIEVABLY FLICKING SPECTACULAR DESIGN!
In a word: auugghhhhh!
I incline to let it fly.
Colleagues say…wait! Given the business you’re in, it had better be right.
I say, one in 100 of my clients has a snowball’s chance of noticing that copyeditor is one word. Forgodsake, most of them are graduates of Arizona’s abysmal bottom-of-the-state-rankings public school system. They can barely spell their own names. That’s why they need us.
They say, given the business you’re in, it had better be right.
Taking this under advisement, I take the proofs and drive toward Client/Friend’s office, whereinat I need to deliver a job. I figure to ask her what she thinks of the copyeditor/copy editor issue.
But…at her office, no one’s there. It’s after nine, but not a soul is around. The door is locked. And the mail slot, where in the past I’ve dropped packages of edited copy, is sealed shut.
I walk across the street to the publisher’s bookstore. Doesn’t open till 10:00 a.m.
Visit all the shops and offices in the publisher’s building, hoping to find someone who will take delivery of the mound of work I’ve done till Client can get back and retrieve it. No one’s open. (When do these people start their workdays??????). I can see a hairdresser working on some broad’s hair, but his door is locked. I leave, the work undelivered and the pay undeliverable.
Eventually reach Client on her mobile device. She’s trapped in an all-day meeting. Says she: copyeditor. One word. Copyeditor.
Says she: bring the copy by next Thursday. Doesn’t matter: production manager is off for the week.
Copyeditor. We are copyeditors. Not copy editors. Another week’s delay in receipt of pay, and a shot at another job.
Arrive casa mia, a half-hour later, feeling unduly cranky.
Pup is locked up in his crate, left there by M’hijito on his way to work while I was gadding around Scottsdale shortly after dawn cracked.
Yesterday a student has said she didn’t get her graded paper. I search for it on my hard drives. None. Where????? I think I’ve read it, hope I’ve read it, don’t want to read it, certainly don’t want to read it AGAIN.
There’s a score in the gradesheet for this paper. Whence???
Search two e-mail systems, in-boxes and outboxes. No, nope, not there.
Read the damn thing. Grade it. OK. Go to upload it back to her and…yes. Of course. At that point find the flicking GRADED PAPER!!!!!!!!
There was a good hour’s time wasted.
Another student sends a late paper. I stupidly neglect to tell him to take a flying F*** at the moon. Instead, like a fool, I read it. Just. flicking. God. AWFUL!!!!!!!!!
Two hours wasted, not counting the pointless trip to south Scottsdale. We’re really talking, if you add in that junket, three hours of wasted time.
All this wastage is interrupted every few minutes by Pup, who desires to go out, who desires to chew on stuff, who desires most of ALL to pounce the corgi and tup her until he’s blue in the doggy face. This desire is not shared by the corgi, interestingly enough.
Pup is beginning to get the message of “Leave It!” But it’s a slow process. Occasionally he will stop pumping away at the corgi. Briefly. Very briefly.
This morning it occurs to me that what’s really happening is that when I give him a treat for responding to “LEAVE IT!” he thinks I’m congratulating him for pouncing the corgi. Of course. Get this: Pounce the corgi; get distracted long enough to grab doggy treat; pounce the corgi, get called over for another treat.
In the process of this discussion, Pup wraps his leash around my ankles as I’m walking down the hall. I fall on my face on the concrete-hard tiles.
Fortunately, nothing breaks.
Except my temper. The air all around me turns blue.
Dog is tied to the doorknob. I go back to work.
Now I have to read, comment upon, and advise about a raft of student drafts. Group 3, the bunch whose papers I should’ve read before I went to bed at midnight last night, has a half-dozen members. Three, count’em, three students have turned in draft comp/contrast papers. One of these is actually a comparison and contrast essay.
Now, I wasn’t surprised when the 102s couldn’t do the extended definition. That’s a difficult rhetorical mode and not one normally taught in our fine public K-12 system. They had, in a word, no clue. However, the comparison & contrast paper is a cliché. By now, they should know how to do it as they know how to breathe.
Another hour wasted, trying to explain to these nuclear physicists what is meant by “comparison.”
Took pup out in the yard again. Leash wrapped around my fingers as he was taking off like a rocket. Damn near dislocated my thumb!
None of these activities did much to improve my temper.
Now it’s time to feed said Pup. A.a.a.a.a.a.a.n.d.d.d.d.d…..we have no flicking dog food! M’hijito has forgotten, for the second day running, to restock my store of dog food from his giant Costco bag of it.
I decide that, rather than traipsing (again) to his house for a baggie full of the stuff, I should go to Costco and buy my own bag of it, thereby limiting the number of future junkets in search of toxic kibble. So, along about 12:30 I arrive at Costco, using time that I need to be using to read student papers and I need to be using for our marketing campaign and that I really truly wish I were using to unwind and that I do not wish to be using to run around the city.
Decide to pick up a bottle of wine, thinking maybe a glass will soothe my frazzled nerves. Also being low on human food, I decide to grab a container of tomato soup. Arrive in the dog food department.
And…yes, you know this, don’t you?
Yes, Costco is abiding by its First Corporate Internal Law of Nature: If the customer likes it, get rid of it!
The question is, how do they know?
Costco has quit carrying the expensive, tony, very nice variety of dog food M’hijito has decided to feed Pup. The new variant of that brand is turkey and sweet potato. M’hijito has told me, in the very recent past, that he believes sweet potatoes give Pup the runs.
This means M’hijito will have to select a new brand of dog food and will AGAIN have to ease Pup from present brand to new brand. Don’t know what kibble manufacturers do to make this happen but whenever you change brands abruptly, it invariably causes canine enteritis.
Interestingly, after you’ve accustomed a dog to eating actual, real human food, you can feed the beast any damn thing you please and never see so much as a loose bowel, much less the rampant diarrhea that happens every time you change kibble brands. I wonder why that is?
Pissed, I head for the checkout stand, where the lines stretch halfway back to the flicking meat department. It’s ten to one on a Thursday afternoon. What are all these people doing here? And why the hell aren’t they at work?
Oh. That ‘s right. There is no work in Arizona.
I beat out an aggressive shopper who tries to cut me off at the relatively short line. He joins a comparably endless line, and we settle in to wait for our chance to get out of the hectic place. And. Yes. My checkout guy seems to have come to Costco from the Post Office.
He moves as though he were swimming through molasses. How do people do that? The arm sloooooowwwwwly moves from item to cash register. The fingers sloooooooowly punch in code. Meanwhile the guy’s mouth moves a mile a minute. He’s gabbling to the customer, an unending stream of small talk. He yaks. She yaks. They yak. He clears off half the conveyer belt but neglects to move it forward, so the guy in front of the guy in front of the guy in front of me can’t unload his cart. He yaks. She yaks. They yak.
Just as it looks as though he’s finally going to hand over the receipt and shovel this pair out the door, it becomes apparent that he’s not done. They’ve rolled up a flat cart bearing a gigantic televison. He’s delighted. They’re delighted. They discuss the glories of this particular television. He yaks. They yak.
I give up and leave.
Drive to M’hijito’s house, close enough to Costco to walk, if one so chose and didn’t mind risking one’s wallet and one’s health. Collect a few cups of dog food, head back to the Funny Farm, feed the dog.
Wasted another hour and a half in this exploit.
Tina e-mails to say she’s landed a course with the District, teaching Western Civ online. She hopes to get two more sections.
Her master’s degree earns her a tiny fraction of what waiting tables pays her.
She wishes nothing more than to find work that will let her quit waiting tables.
Adjunct teaching does not fit that description.
We must market our business. We must, must, MUST get better paying work.
The new client, the one who told me how tough things are before walking out of the restaurant where we met and climbing into a Lexus SUV, finally allows as to how he will pay our $60/hour rate. But he claims to be headed out of town and now begins a game of telephone tag. Okay. I can play that game. I’ve given him two pages of freebie edits and some advice on revision as a sample of what we can do. Sincerely do I hope this does not come to naught.
Late in the day, I hear from a headhunter.
He wants me to apply for a medical project management job in Chicago. I am not even faintly qualified for this job, but Tina is. Faintly, at any rate. I forward his e-mail to her, though I know she probably can’t leave the state because her child’s father lives here, sole custody notwithstanding.
The day wends on and I’m reminded, again, that really I need to look in to subscribing to Carbonite, an online backup system much recommended by the Web guru who haunts the very networking group with whom I started the day. This reminder comes by way of a review of the freshly launched iCloud. Reviewer says it’s great for mobile devices but “dead” for desktop machines.
Read reviews of Carbonite and Mozy. The reviewer raves; commenters rant. Three people report that Carbonite failed to actually save their data. Two report that it takes not hours, not days, not weeks, but months (!) to back up their data to its servers. Similar complaints are made about Mozy. The reviewer loses his temper and announces that henceforth he will screen comments and boot those he regards as gratuitously cranky.
I feel gratuitously cranky, myself.
After studying these ruminations, I decide that, since I’m going to have to pony up $30 a year to keep my business e-mail address, I might as well at least try to use iCloud for cloud storage, but remember nevertheless to manually back up key subdirectories to my hard drive. Then if and when the burglar breaks in and steals all my hardware, at least I’ll have a shot at rescuing some of my data from iCloud.
Dinnertime at last. I crack open a beer, being fresh out of wine. Hope it will soothe my crabbed nerves. Used up the last of the dog pork; forgot to defrost another container of cooked pork for the corgi. Feed her half a can of tuna. She hates canned tuna and leaves most of it in her dish, there to stink up the kitchen. Throw a piece of salmon on the grill; it cooks slowly. Assemble salmon and salad and buttered rice on a plate; take it and a mug of beer outside…there to be greeted by the roar of a FLICKING cop helicopter, come to take up residence over the neighborhood.
Curses, curses, curses!