THE LEARNING CURVE
5 August 2005
"I am in the middle of a full blown panic attack," I wrote this afternoon.
And it was all because of the computer.
Some time ago, I agreed to help with putting together a fund-raising calendar. It was my understanding that a committee would work together on it. I never realized that at the end, I would be the one to get the project in final form.
Don't get me wrong. It's been a fun project. But the problem is that in order to submit it to the printer, the thing had to be submitted as one .pdf file (all pages together). I know nothing about creating a .pdf file. I've never created a .pdf file. I don't even have software for creating a .pdf file.
"Call me when the calendar is finished," I was told. I felt like the girl in Rumplestiltskin, expected to spin straw into gold and overwhelmed by the prospect, but still cautiously optimistic about getting it done.
Some time ago, I downloaded a program that would allow me to create five .pdf files before I decide whether I want to buy the expensive program, so I figured that I would just use that.
Only I couldn't figure out the instructions.
The problem was that I'm also in the middle of writing a feature article for the newspaper which is due tomorrow, with another feature article coming up next week. I had to review a show last night and didn't get to bed until 2 a.m., after I finished writing the review (and then Sheila woke me up at 4, barking). I have this stack of transcription sitting in front of me. I have to go to a rehearsal in Sacramento tonight. And I had already devoted the better part of three days that I hadn't expected to spend to this project, but had expected to spend on the feature article.
So in the middle of all these deadlines, which were already making me tense, I am suddenly trying to (a) find the .pdf demo I downloaded months ago, (b) figure out how to use it, and (c) try to figure out how to get 30 or so pages collected into one document. All by the afternoon.
Miraculously, I did find the program and it appeared that I was able to successfully create page 1 of the document. The problem was that I couldn't tell how to add additional pages to the document. When I went to check the help file, the original page I had created disappeared and I couldn't figure out how to get it back.
I wrote to my fellow committeeperson to ask where the instructions were about how to do this.
I was directed to a web site, but the web site told me essentially nothing about HOW to create the pdf file itself, only that it needed to be done.
By this time, I'd forgotten how I'd created the first page and I was so wound up that I was nauseous and my stomach was in knots.
I sent out a note to someone else in the group, who is not on the calendar committee, but who, I know, does work with .pdf files in the hope that I could get some information from her, but I never received a response.
I tried doing what I thought I had done before, only it didn't work the way it did the first time. Then I tried something else I thought would work and it was a total disaster.
Ultimately, I did the only logical thing. I left it and took a nap. It didn't get the project done and there was still the same amount of work facing me when I woke up, but at least I wasn't trying to deal with lack of sleep as well.
The project is on hold until I can get some assistance from someone because I've done all I can and I'm totally lost.
I hate to admit that because I've always been pretty good at figuring out new programs, but the problem is that I don't have the program and my little patch-together demo doesn't seem to be as intuitive as it seemed when I downloaded it, and I'm doling this under the gun -- to create a finished product good enough for sale pretty much overnight.
Maybe we can make it the calendar for 2007.
Next day post script: An angel swooped in and took the
project and figured out how to make the .pdf file. I am feeling so much better now.
PHOTO OF THE DAY
They're starting to become friends