Friday, March 02, 2007

A modern comedy of errors

I'm convinced dear Will would have seen fit to write an entire play about the last three days of my life had he been born in this century.

On top of the discovery that I must rewrite my thesis, I also have to keep up with Doctrine 1 which includes reading Ausgustine's Confessions... and because there is so much going on currently with my business etc., I only discovered on Monday night that the version of Confessions I purchased from Amazon is a book of excerpts (worse, these are excerpts without any reference to which book they come from - as in Book One, Book Two, Book Eight of The Confessions).

Aghast, I figured I could get a copy at the prolific font of all things Catholic and theological: the Xavier University library, and luckily, I had a five hour day of writing planned for the morrow, as the Bard would say.

I carted my 10 year old off to a friend's for over night so I wouldn't feel guilty about not playing dominoes with her all evening (like most nights). I headed down to the university library at 1:30. No parking. Anywhere. I waited for a promising co-ed with big art-portfolio to leave... she avoided eye-contact, loaded up the portfolio and WALKED away. Someone else loaded a coat (it was freezing outside, couldn't he tell?) and left. Finally a shady character loaded a sinister-looking duffle bag into the back end of his vehicle, deliberately glared at me, and then walked away... (Dead body within? I averted my eyes.)

So I circled several parking lots for about thrity minutes and finally someone actually DROVE AWAY in a CAR and left me the most distant slot I could find. I lugged computer and books (unduly optimistic about my potential study time).

Here's the skinny: It took me four hours to write a six page paper on Origen and St. Antony. Four hours? Come on! I'm a writer. (That has never happened in four years.) AND, the only copy of The Confessions I found in that big library was from 1943... with the "thees" and "thous" still in tact from an earlier translation.

Not one moment went into the thesis. Not one scholaraly journal search, not one Word doc's worth of brainstorming. (I will spare you the details of how food eluded me at every turn as well.)

On Wednesday, kids skiied, I worked. Jon and I drove to our respective evening classes. Xavier had its final home game of the season which meant no parking. More circling for Jon. All day, and into the night, however, I was supposed to be testing a new registration platform for Brave Writer. Yeah, uh, as I drove the car? While I showered? Hadn't been home in two days. And the only person I had sent the registration link to (a BW mom) got an error message when she used it. Panicked, I contacted as many people as I could when we got home (at nearly midnight eastern) to test it in other states. Working. Just fine. It looked like her experience was isolated.

Looked like it.

Can you say "foreshadowing"? This is that moment in the play where you all know what's coming but the stupid protagonista does not.

Thursday, morning of registration.

Two problems. The program appeared to randomize registrations which meant they weren't in order as they came in... critical for my clients since I usually fill classes in minutes. The fix my tech friend discovered worked for her, but she had to leave for the doctor... oh and so did Jon.

I was left to sort it all out myself (except for intermittent phone calls to them where one would say, "Did you try... oh, gotta go, the doctor just walked in" followed by the other one saying, "Sounds good but did you... oh, sorry, the doctor is poking my arm with needles, gotta focus.") Good times.

The minutes dragged on. I forgot that the results of the fix could be detected in my junk mail (don't ask) until it was too late. I posted the link 6 minutes late (so my email in-box was suddenly flooded with "Where is the link? Why can't I see it? I've been sitting here refreshing for all six minutes?")

But I checked the platform results page and oh bliss! For thirty whole seconds I was under the delusion that all was working as it should! Registrations rolling in and I didn't have to do one bit of data entry. (Yep, you know what's coming)


The next thing you know, dozens of emails pinged my account with "I get an error page" and "I don't know if mine went through" and "I registered four times but" and "Will I lose my place in line?"

Disaster. Spectacular. U2 and Ticketmaster scandal of 2005!

Worse just as I began answering the panicked emails.... yes, up-ping the stakes of my entire day... my email server kicked me off and wouldn't come back on. No email could come in and none could go out (55 had already hit my inbox and awaited replies). In the ensuing drama, I spent twenty minutes on hold for a tech support person, had to learn Hindi in the wait time to make myself understood, and attempted to reply through a different server, while watching people double register on the platform....

Between 11:30 a.m. and 4:35 p.m. I didn't move from my chair. Didn't pee. Didn't eat.

I hand entered every failed registration (which also meant that the panicked emails didn't include all information so some took multiple emails to determine just what class they wanted and for whom). What a mess!

Because this is a comedy, however, I must end with happy news. For the first time in four years, my classes didn't fill up in minutes with loads of disappointed mothers who didn't get it. I think I finally have enough teachers and classes offered that everyone who wanted to get in a class, got enrolled. Amazing. Growth.

There were loads of sweet emails at the end of the day from my devoted BW moms who reminded me that if God wanted them in the class, they'd get in. (I sure appreciated knowing God would take the heat if they didn't get in and not our goofy platform!) Mostly, though, they were just so nice to me, understanding what a hellacious day it must have been. I love my BW community.

After dinner, I wilted onto the sofa and zoned out in front of American Idol. The kitchen is in that scary state of hardened crepe batter on the counters and sticky frying pans and sugared plates languishing on the counters. I don't care. I'll get to it.

Everything's right in the kingdom once again. All's well that ends well.


Ampersand said...

So very sorry for your very bad no good day.

But, LOL!!

And, wow you really did deserve that reward that I sent you!

carrie said...

Julie, I honestly don't know what to say! Can I just tell you about my good friend whose home phone number was given out as the FAX number to hundreds of people at a teleconference, and that all the attendees had to fax in a sheet in order to be certified by the company? Can I tell you that for two weeks they've been getting 40 or more phone calls an hour? I won't even go into the hours she's spent on the phone trying to clear this up and how many people have said, "I'm sorry we can't help you." Sometimes just knowing other people are going through hellatious days help!

I didn't remember it was registration day until mid-afternoon and I was sure I'd missed out. I talked to R then who said she'd really like to wait on KWI because her writing class is demanding (it is). So we'll be there next go-round...when the kinks are worked out.

(((Julie))) Lots of love and sympathy for those stressful days. Still praying for you!

julieunplugged said...

I should mention here for anyone reading that there are still class slots available in every class. So if someone reading does want a class, like you Carrie, you can still register. Send an email. Easier. :)

Sandy said...

Fwiw, the registration worked perfectly for this first-timer. :) I was one of those on the site at noon on the dot frantically refreshing (and wondering if I'd gotten the info wrong) but I didn't dare email because I just felt that there was some problem and you were working furiously to figure it out.

I'm so sorry for the crash and also the craziness of the last few days for you. Hang in there! I'm hoping things will settle down and you'll whip that thesis out in record time (and finally find *the right* copy of Confessions....oh and good parking spaces!).


Dalissa 365 said...

Well, I am sorry you had such a crappy day but glad that it redeemed itself to some extent by the end. Having enough teachers to meet the demand must be a great feeling. And, I think I get credit for any PA students you get because I did my usual advertising of your classes twice in the past month or so on my usual 4 homeschooling lists. ;)

I hope you are able to get a decent copy of the book you need and crank that thesis out!

Sandie said...

Too bad I didn't know you needed Confessions, I have 6 copies in 3 translations sitting on the shelf in front of me. :( You know, I have been thinking of taking a writing class this spring, but not wanting to drive to UofL or IUS. I might look into what you have left :)

Margaret said...

How's it going today, Julie?

Mary H. said...

Hi Julie,
Next time you need a copy of a spiritual classic, try Thomas More College Library. Although it's only open till 10 p.m., the parking is plentiful and the staff is wonderful. I believe your XU ID will enable you to check out books also. (At least it works in reverse for me.)
Here is the link:
Good luck. Mary H.

Paula said...

Oh Julie, what a day. I'm glad you've regained your equilibrium and can see the humor in it (if that's the right word). It did do one thing...made my day seem stinking fantastic! Hope it all simplifies from here on out.

Dcn Scott Dodge said...

Wow, Julie! I am glad it all worked out. There are some decent translations of St. Augustine's Confessions on-line. Anyway, hang in there!!!