Friday, March 12, 2010

It's All Coming Together...and TGIF!

All right,  I didn't make the deadline, exactly, but rest assured dear friends-in-the-know, that I have triumphed over the photobook challenge!  Not only have I created a marvelous visual memoir of one of our sons' baby and toddler years,  but I was even able to procure photos of our old houses in Cincinnati even though I had foolishly never taken any myself  none of my own to use.

My dear friend Jeanne helpfully obtained photos for me (who knows how she managed it, but no doubt it was simple for her, whereas I was very busy!) and sent them to me via email within minutes of my frantic casual request.  I really appreciated her kind and quick assistance.  Thank you, Jeanne!  I'm not one to brag,  as those in the know already know,  but I really must congratulate myself on my resourcefulness (not to mention my ability to choose excellent friends!)!

I've only one or two minor adjustments to make, now,  and a another beautiful work of art will soon adorn our bookshelves.  Although,  to be perfectly honest, I am a bit weary of the process at the moment, and may flake out entirely postpone finishing for a short while.  I truly believe that the best work cannot be rushed, wouldn't you agree?

I'd like to point out that I did, in fact, meet the midnight, March 10 deadline to submit the photobook (yes, I know I said "maybe several photobooks" but let's get real here--what am I - a machine?).  Through no fault of my own, however,  the publisher completely dropped the ball on it.  Luckily for all of us,  I eventually got around to wisely checked up on the book online as soon as I noticed that they had put up a copy to view, and while idly flipping the pages carefully checking each detail with a sharp, editorial eye,  I caught a transmission mistake which I could not ignore.  Some people would have ignored it,  but I am nothing if not fastidious (a job worth doing is a job worth doing well:  that's my motto!),  so I contacted the company via webchat toute de suite* and gave them what-for politely explained the situation. 

The virtual customer service representative was suitably embarrassed by his company's failure,  but was astonishingly inept at assisting me with a solution!  I am often amazed at how incompetent other people are when I call them with a problem,  but I remained composed as usual and did my best to lead him in the general direction of addressing my project difficulty.

Several hours and several webchats later,  I was working feverishly to try to restore the book to order after complying with the CSreps advice that I download an updated version of the photobook software and resubmit the book.  I don't like to be the one to point out deficiencies in others,  but I must quietly mention that the 2008 version I was using was perfectly adequate and I can't see why their service or firmdrive or whatever they call it couldn't adjust appropriately.  It is their own software, after all!  Yes, one slightly off-kilter margin on the very last page seems like a little thing to some people, but it is an eyesore to those with discerning taste (like yours truly, naturally).

It was exasperating to learn that neither Daniel nor Joshua nor Bill nor Aurora could fix that tiny detail in my book without my help!   I wonder at the title "customer service representative",  to be perfectly frank -- from what I could gather, it is a really a way for that company to obtain service and assistance from their customers, not the other way around!  The trouble I had with downloading the new software losing the links with which they provided me several times and accidentally trashing help emails, links and advice so that I had to ring them up/email and click on helpchat over and over again could have happened to anybody and indeed,  I am amazed that they still have any business at all considering how buggy and complicated their entire system appears to be!

I am gratified to report,  however,  that Joshua (whom I believe may have a real future in business!), obviously recognising the sorry state of his company's shoddy arrangements and not wishing to lose a highly-valued customer (moi),  issued a very nice discount coupon to me.  Although I did accidentally delete it from my inbox (could happen to anybody),  Daniel further redeemed himself and the company by issuing another discount coupon and throwing in free shipping, to boot!

I must say, it is a pleasure to do business with a top-notch outfit like, and I will be sure to use those coupons if I ever as soon as I finish fixing the numerous new-software errors in my book and re-submit it for publication.  Obviously,  after all of this aggravation,  I am taking a well-earned break from this exhausting photo-project;  one can only do so much!

In other news this week, spring has definitely sprung in northern Illinois!  I can hardly believe what a transformation has taken place in just four short days.  Last Sunday, you may recall, Scott took some of the kids snowboarding - we had at least a foot of snow still on the ground that day - and that was the day when the turnaround began in earnest.  They began the day with below freezing temperatures and good ski conditions,  but by mid-afternoon, the temperature had risen to near 50 degrees and the snow got a little slushy.  Down here, we had a light rain.  For the rest of the week, we've had daytime temperatures in the 50's and even nighttime temperatures above freezing after Tuesday. There have been a few good hard rains and lo and behold!  nearly every bit of snow has disappeared!  Only the most stubborn piles at the back of parking lots remain.  Meanwhile, the birds are chirping (some would say incessantly,  but I am one who appreciates nature in all her noisy glory!), the spring bulbs are shooting up and all is right with the glorious world!

Today's photo(s!).  I'm going to try an experiment and see if I can fit two photos in side by side, because I simply cannot choose between them.  Obviously, the one of Teddy is so adorable (that child was blessed with more than his share of my genes,  it can't be denied)  that it cannot be left off, but the snap of the monstrously growing spring bulbs in the foyer is a must-have, too, since it is proof positive that nature is freakishly creepy awesome!

Good Day to All!

* Those in the know will have caught the sophisticated French phrase I ever so nonchalantly tossed into that sentence!

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