Saturday, February 14, 2009

Water and Printers -- jcarolek

We finally have water back in the pond. September 6, 2006, in response to tropical storm Ernesto, the dam that contained the trickle of Cow Creek, that formed the more that 100 year old "mill pond," failed and the water, well about 70 acres out of her 78 acres, flushed out and left us with a marshy field.

The "Pond Association" on which I serve as secretary, spent the next two and a half years getting the dam rebuilt... a very expense and arduous task. There were times when I thought we'd never see water again. And I dreamed of the day I would be able to send out the announcement that we, once again, had water in the pond.

Well, today was the day. The water has been back for a few weeks now, but today was the day I had to mail out the announcement for the next General Membership Meeting, the highlight of which will be the rehashing of the pain and eventual triumph of getting that dam rebuilt. Yes, I'd been looking forward to this day and last night I composed the communication, sent it to the other board members for comments, checked it all twice and went up to print the 43 copies needed to send each parcel owner his announcement.

NATURALLY, the ink cartridge in the "preferred printer" was out of ink. No trouble, I had some fresh ink and was accustomed to refilling my cartridges... A few minutes and ink spots later and the cartridge was back in place and the first print test run... hmmmm.. NO printing. After spending a ridiculous amount of time trying to coax the ink to flow from the cartridge, I gave up and set my sights on the "other printer."

The other printer had ink in the cartridge, but was not "defined" to my laptop, from which I was trying to print the mailings. No trouble, I'd just let it "discover" the printer and I'd be on my way. Sorry.... after another ridiculous amount of time, the computer assured me it was unable to find the necessary information to define that printer and I should use the CD, if I had it. Well, I DO have it... but WHERE????

Forget it! I'll just copy the document from the computer that does NOT recognize the less preferred printer, to the older desktop computer that is quite familiar with said printer and I'll be on my way. A few frantic swaps of USB cables and I was rewarded with print from a working cartridge! OK, it was about 1 AM by this point and I decided I would catch a few hours sleep and get my printing completed in the morning.

Up around 6 AM, I was on task and managed to get about eight copies of the 7 page announcement printed before.... the cartridge ran out of ink. OK, no problem. I quick refill and once again I was rewarded with no print... two cartridges, two printers, on bottle of refill ink... I think I'm beginning to see the connection.

Left with little choice, I headed off to Walmart and purchased a brand spanking new ink cartridge for each of the printers...I was running out of time (they needed to be mailed by today to comply with the bylaws) and could not afford another time-consuming ink issue. Back home again, the printing FINALLY started going smoothly. With an hour until the post office closed, I had all 43 copies printed, collated and stapled, ready for their envelopes.

Now, I should really know better about this one. I have been through this numerous times, but still, it gets me every time. I used the Microsoft Word Envelope Wizard to create the envelopes addresses in the correct format, and started printing. About every fourth envelope managed to "get stuck in the printer's throat" and my trusty computer alerted me to the fact that there was a printer jam. Just as soon as I corrected the jam, the computer reminded me I was low on ink and suggested I buy some on-line... thanks, but no, this is a fresh cartridge... still, each time I had to click the box to close it so I could proceed to the next printer/envelope gag.

Eventually, with the constant gagging and the infernal alerts about printer jams and low ink, I managed to get the machine into a 100% CPU utilization state and NOBODY was doing ANYTHING.... we were all in a death grip, vying for CPU and each hogging just enough of it that NOBODY could complete a task.


Over and over this went. I finally had 15 minutes to get to the Post Office and ran there with the 32 completed mailings, paid my postage and mailed them. Then, back home for more "fun" with the printers and computers. I had only 11 left to complete. It should NOT have taken long to complete but this was just NOT my day. Another good hour of fighting with the printers and the envelopes, and my hair literally began to feel as if it was falling out on its own....

I still had five envelopes to print when I'd had enough. I was not going to get those last five printed... the printer gods were against me today. I had a meltdown of sorts, snatching the printer from the shelf, unplugging it and dumping it in the closet, in"time out" .... if I never saw another printer, I was going to be a happy camper.

We took the six mailings to the post office and ran some other errands. I avoided the office with the possessed machines as long as I could, but after supper I went up to get my laptop. I wanted to check my eBay and email, and had no intention of doing ANYTHING with those last blasted envelopes tonight. I brought the machine downstairs, fired it back up and, of course, what did I discover? The computer wants me to finish my print job! Not tonight. Tonight, I relax. I think I worked on that mailing for nearly nine hours, all told... I could have written each by hand in less time! But, no... we HAVE to have everything printed....

So, here it is, nearly 11 PM and I am just now really relaxing. I'll hand address the last five envelopes tomorrow and put them into the mail. And then, every one of the parcel owners will be able to receive the announcement that we have water back in the pond, that we are having a general membership meeting, and they will probably just throw it in the trash....they already KNOW they have water... they are looking out their back doors every day!

Still... it IS good to have water back in the pond. One day I'll have time to enjoy it. I'm almost certain.

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