Wednesday, November 11, 2009

19: I Cannot Declare Victory Yet

You may remember I mentioned I was supposed to take the school magazine to the printer on Friday, but the minister who was going to take me (and had been discussing the price with them) said to wait until Monday.

Monday that minister was proctoring an exam at another school and I was unable to track him down after the exams were finished. I was supplied a cell phone number from the school secretary, but I could not call from school because the school phone can no longer call cell phones. I walked over to Cale's school to use our cell phone. I only had to listen to the voicemail message on the number I dialed for a second before I knew this couldn't be the minister I was trying to reach. The person on the voicemail was bleating like a sheep and talking in silly voices.

I wandered back over to my school and the secretary gave me another number that might be the minister. I called it, a woman answered. I said hello, she said hello, I asked for the reverend, she said what? hello?, I asked for the reverend, she said what? hello? This went on for a little while until she hung up on me.

Next Cale pointed out that he saw my school's prize giving committee van going up the driveway to his school. I had a jar full of money for the school magazine that needed to be deposited, but I had been unable to because the prize giving committee has had the school's account book (you cannot deposit money without the account book). I ran through the rain to catch up with them at Cale's principal's house when I saw the van appear from the other side of Cale's school heading to my school. I ran through the rain towards my school when the van pulled away and went to the board of education office. I changed direction and ran through the rain to the board's office when the van pulled away and left the village. Drat.

With so much failure in the air, I decided I would just go into town myself and try to drop the magazine off at the printers. When I got there I told the lady in charge of the computer that we had agreed to give the Methodist Printing Press a full page ad in exchange for their giving us a deal on the cost of the printing. Did she have the ad? How would she like to add it to the magazine? I could put in the InDesign file and export the PDFs again. I have the PDFs here (I exported as single pages and as printing pairs for a saddle-stitch A3) maybe could can insert the ad in Acrobat?

After some confusion it was established that:
1. She didn't know that the press needed an ad.
2. The press does not have stock ads on hand and she would have to make one.
3. She had no idea what printing pairs were.
4. She only has Acrobat Reader, so she cannot edit the PDF anyway.

It was determined that I would have to come back the next day to get the ad, insert it into the InDesign file and then export again.

I was also asked about the number of copies I wanted. I explained that the reverend had been talking with their manager about the printing costs. I had been told that they had settled on $9 tala a magazine (which was down from the $24 tala they originally quoted) and that we had $3,800 tala to spend. So as many as that money can get us. Everyone looked at me like I was a crazy person. Even the guy the reverend had been talking to mumbled something under his breath about it being $25 tala per magazine. While the lady printed a copy of the magazine out of the printer so I could see what it would look like, this guy disappeared, I think to talk about the price.

Speaking of the printer. So the entire job is going to be printed on what amounts to a nice laser printer. It is a big laser printer, don't get me wrong, but not the sort of thing I imagine that jobs of more than 300 copies of a 64-page magazine are printed one. But what do I know. 

At first the lady tried to print my printing pairs on the A3, but the fourth page got stuck in the printer and it involved two people and some implements to eventually free it. When she switched over to printing the single pages on A4, I asked her to print the entire thing in BW (even the cover which we were getting in color) because I had noticed something odd. When she had printed it the first time, she didn't change any settings. So when the pages came out of the printer, the cover came out in color and all the inside pages, which are black and white, were coming out in four-color black. Talk about a waste of ink. The whole reasons we made the inside pages BW was because it should be cheaper to print BW pages. This was starting to explain to me why the Methodist Printing Press's quote for printing in color and BW were the same. When they print in BW, they are printing in four-color black.

After the pages came out in BW, I showed her the difference between the four-color page and the straight black page. I told her that I would export the magazine as two files. The color cover and the BW inside pages. That way she could print the cover in color and the BW pages in only black. Save the press some ink. I also noticed that the ink went on super heavy and that all the pictures in the magazine were illegibly dark, so I told her I would retone all the images to be lighter, since I was confident this was not something that could be handled on the press's end.

Meanwhile, the man had returned to tell me that the press was not going to print our magazine for only $9 tala each (it was still charging the $24 tala or $25 tala, that was never made clear) and that it would print as many as it could at that price for our $3,800 and then make a gift of some more to the school. They said they had talked to the principal about it. Whatever, I cannot deal with this money thing anymore. It makes my head want to explode. When I wonder why we are printing in BW when they are charging us the color price anyway, I cry a little on the inside.

So by the end of the day on Monday, instead of being done with the magazine, I had more work to do.

I spent Monday night retoning all the pictures.

Tuesday Cale and I went into the office for our COS physicals. It was pretty straight forward, though the doctor did ask me if I was sick, if I had a sore throat or anything. I said no. She declared I had a cold because I had a slight fever and swollen lymph nodes. Go into the doctor's feeling perfectly well for a physical, come out with a cold. Who knew?

Next I made the trek back to the printing press where I discovered that the ad was not ready. Instead the lady scanned in the press's logo (which appears to have been hand drawn with marker) and gave it to me on my flash to make an ad for them. Do you have words that you want in the ad? Oh, no? I can just say whatever I want? How helpful. 

I went outside and made a list of the products listed on their sign. Then Cale and I went to CSL, I whipped together an ad, exported the magazine and went back to the press. I gave the lady the two PDF files. The guy in the room asked when we needed it by. I said that Prize Giving was the 26th and the principal wanted it earlier than that, say the week before? Once again everyone looked at me incredulously. We'll try, the guy said. Rather than question what that meant or argue the point. I decided that I was just going to leave it alone. If they don't print it in time, that is not my fault.

I am not declaring victory until the magazine is actually printed. However, I am washing my hands of it now. It is at the printers. I am going to give my jar of money to the principal and ask him to have it deposited. Then he can sort out with the press what is happening with payment and delivery of the magazine.

— Sara


annette said...

wow, the patience you must have to deal with things like this - just reading it made me kind of dizzy....

i must admit, it is rather humorous....

Barb Carusillo said...

Okay, as far as bad days go, you have me beat. I thought I had the world's worst day, since I spent 4 hours of my day off at one job, trying to figure out their new computer documentation system on my own time to prepare me to work this weekend, then another 4 hours at my other job on my own time orienting my current student and giving him an in-service so he will have a clue how to treat some of the patients because there is not time in my normal work day. The latter went well, the former (you know me and computers) went miserably. I was pondering what other kind of work I can do if they boot me out because I can't figure out their bass ackwards, convoluted system, and feeling sorry for myself, till I read your entry. Maybe things aren't as bad as they could be!!

Anonymous said...

So this day was truly a lesson in 1. self control and patience
2. tolerance and perserverence
3. hope in humanity

Otherwise, I'd have run away from all that mess and gave them the just never mind sign!

Still the number 19 is sad too, we are running out of Samoan day posts.

You've done so much in such little time and shared it all with us.

Fa'afetai tele - Sara and Cale

Anonymous said...

Ralph waldo Emerson has this to say to teachers:
Finish each day and be done with it. You have done what you could; some blunders and absurdities have crept in; firget them as soon as you can. Tomorrow is a new day;

We have this pinned up in our faculty staffroom it really helps when you encounter the one hundredth stop and take a moment to breathe because everything is just too absurd to be true right now moment every teacher goes through. Sara you are an inspiration...

Red said...

Gosh, what an ordeal!

I hope things turn around for you.