By noon yesterday, I was feeling very smug. After dragging my heels for years, I finally forced my self to figure out how to download data for two credit union accounts, three credit cards, and a PayPal account in such a way as to make sense of the entries. Not just “make sense” to my eccentric and overheated little mind, but actually to make sense to an accountant.
Miraculously, it wasn’t near as hard as expected. I hate doing this kind of thing, because there’s always, invariably, inevitably some kind of fuck-up that will require hours of frustration to figure out, decode, and reconstruct before it’s right. But to my great surprise, it wasn’t very difficult at all. Data downloaded smoothly into Excel — backwards, of course, so I had to sort by “Date” in order to make entries run from January through October rather than, clumsily, the other way around. But that’s not difficult. The only PITA was PayPal, but PayPal is always a PITA, so…there being no surprise there, I managed to cope adequately.
So, yes, smug: No more the hours spent entering data from snail-mail statements. No more the time suck of figuring out what check no. 2489 paid for, and to whom. No more the annoyance of calling AMEX to find out who some mystery retailer might be. It’s all there in little glowing letters.
This was good. Very, very good. WonderAccountant will be pleased, and I will no longer have to rely on her reports from the inscrutable, user-hostile Quickbooks to extract the answer to this, that, or the other budgetary question. She will be even more pleased to learn that AMEX will upload data to QB, which she prefers to use because she can generate tax reports from that endlessly annoying program and because it will engross transaction data from your bank accounts.
These are features I would prefer to do without, but will allow as to how anything that saves her time saves me money.
…or ya hate ’em!
Pleased as punch — or as bourbon and water, which I find much more pleasing than punch, thank you — I went back to working on my client’s ongoing project. She has been uploading it a chunk at a time, as she writes. I’d sent her a piece in the morning, and forthwith she sent me back an afternoon piece.
So I set to work on that, and after a couple of hours come out on the other end. And I’m very pleased, yea verily, about that: a major piece of work, out of the way and in impressively short order.
Go to save the thing, and…
…oh, what do you suppose happened next?
• Angels flew into my office, gathered around the desk and began to sing?
• The dog began to speak in English, offering advice on what stocks to buy?
• Donald Trump announced he was stepping down from office to spend the next 10 years golfing in Barbados?
No. ‘Fraid not. Oh, indeed, you DO know what happened: Effing Word hung.
And hung big time. I couldn’t crash out of it. I couldn’t even switch to a different program. Ultimately the only way I could shake it loose was to SHUT DOWN THE EFFING COMPUTER.
And this, of course, causes everything I’m working on to crash.
I figure that will be a fucking annoyance but not the end of the world, because everything is saved. I know I saved all the Excel files that were still sitting open on the computer, and even if they didn’t save, I’d emailed them to WonderAccountant and so those could be retrieved from “Sent” mail.
I knew I’d saved the chapter of the current noveloid I’m working on — and was feeling extremely proud of: this day’s little inspiration having proven…well, inspired — and even if I didn’t, Wyrd is set to save every three minutes.
Wyrd is set to save every three minutes because of its propensity to generate random catastrophic crashes.
But nevertheless I’m pissed, because I know this is going to be another time suck.
And I’m right. It is another time suck.
Manage to get the system back up and find that probably the Excel files are OK.
The client’s file, thank God, saved itself in several iterations as it was diving in flames into the Pacific Ocean, one of which miraculously contained the latest changes and comments I’d made.
But my file? The one I felt so happy with because it’s the first decent creative work I’ve done in freaking WEEKS? Not so much.
The whole day’s new work is gone. Gone, gone, gone! Wyrd tells me it has autosaved nothing, no back up, please go away and stop bothering me…
Well, by now of course I’m in a screaming rage.
I search and search and bang around and whack around and try every trick I can think of. Finally, as I’m about to give up, I manage to find some autosaved files under the suspect filename. And in there what should I discover but an .asd file that was apparently was saved late in the Timeframe of Desperation.
An .asd file is a type of Wyrd recovery file. Wyrd and the Mac, of course, had told me they hadn’t saved anything within living memory: that the latest save had failed to keep most of the day’s scribbling.
So I try to open this thing, but as you can imagine, Wyrd refuses to open it.
I look up “how to open an .asd” file on the Font of All Wisdom and do indeed find such a thing. Unfortunately it’s written in Techese and so is utterly incomprehensible to the likes of moi. I cannot even begin to understand what the author is trying to say, except that he’s offering some indecipherable hope that this file can be broken into.
What the fuck to do?
Finally I decide to try to hack into it using TextEdit.
And lo and behold…it WORKS.
Angels do not sing at my house. At best, they laugh. Peals of angelic laughter now erupt around the desk.
Of course, you can’t edit a TextEdit file. But…you can copy it.
Highlighted the passages that had been disappeared from the working Wyrd file, reopened said file, and pasted. And HALLELUJAH! It worked! More angelic laughter.
So I saved the creative work I’d done that afternoon, at the expense of damn near giving myself a nervous breakdown.
One of the Excel files had corrupted. There’s an easy fix for that: change the extension from .xlsb or .xlsx to .xls. Wasn’t very worried, because I knew I could retrieve the one I’d sent to WonderAccountant, but tried the trick anyway. It worked.
You realize, of course, that had I stayed true to my resolve to draft creative work with pen on ink on, you know, paper, this wouldn’t have happened…
How do I hate computers? Let me count the ways…