Here’s what you don’t do.
You don’t google instructions for turning a PDF into something editable. You don’t think, My first freelance editing client will think I’m such a badass!! and do this while eating post-coital Doritos and watching Classic Albums: Cream’s Disraeli Gears on Netflix (not the best ep, fwiw).
You don’t follow those instructions so closely that you ask a program you’ve never used before – the ominously named Automator – to perform a “workflow” that will convert a PDF to an editable RTF and dump it on your desktop. You especially don’t follow these vague missives so closely that you neglect to use your noodle and narrow the scope of drives and folders that this program will mine for PDFs from THE ENTIRE COMPUTER to a reasonable, single folder, perhaps titled “My first paying editing gig that I do not want to fuck up.”
You do not click “run workflow” and then do a slow-mo Nnnnnnnoooooooooo as you realize your mistake but by then, it will not be too late. This program will not attempt to birth 60,000 RTFs with titles like _CompressionSys14% and _writedata-l-5$ onto your desktop. Your computer won’t seize.
What you do is, you back everything up. And I did do that: I use Sugarsync for automatic, instant backup/syncing and really like it, except I didn’t notice that I hit my uploading limit and some of the subfolders of my main folders didn’t make it, and that means I lost some writing and work that was very precious to me. Work that was going to send Mama Nervosa readers into spasms of ecstatic hilarity this summer as I unveiled a humorous memoir project based on failed relationships past and present. Oh, it was going to be so good, you guys. My writing workshop – the one where Jen and I met – loved this work.
There’s a slim chance a hard copy is floating around somewhere in my office files. I have a tiny ray of hope. If I can find that one hard copy, then I will gird my loins to recreate the remaining funny stuff I wrote post-workshop, and I will sit for five hours with the wayback machine again to find and C&P my public Diaryland diary (this is before they were called blogs, y’all) from 1999-2000, and then I will share it all with you.
But I don’t know if it will be as fresh and funny. I’m scared. I’m scared that work is gone forever. (I didn’t even mention the brilliant first few pages of my novel, a novel I had sorta set aside, but those pages! They were so good.)
I picked a terrible weekend to do something incredibly stupid to my beloved laptop. Not only do I have my first paid editing gig and an overdue book review to write (sorry, Lula Belle), but we chose to take the plunge and move Mama Nervosa to a self-hosted wordpress thingydoodle. People keep swearing It’s so great to have the freedom! The freedom! But I’m sitting here going, OK, how do I get those neat share buttons back? How do we find all our followers and herd them towards the new site, new feed, etc? We had such awesome momentum when we hit the transfer button, but those stats and followers – 15k views, 50 followers – have vanished into thin air and between that and being minus some seriously important and high quality work, I feel like we are back to square one.
Anyone else remember this AWESOME PBS show?? I loved it!
I guess my whole life is square one in these first weeks post-grad school. And while things are moving and happening – I feel cautiously optimistic at my chances of getting an interview for a job I applied to two weeks ago (the listing closed yesterday, cross fingers), and I’m getting leads on writing/editing jobs – I also feel adrift. I’m still receiving updates from a University I no longer attend and thinking, Gee, my parking sticker expired and I will never renew it. Gee, I won’t be around for this new ID card transition thing. Most of my days are spent at home with two intense and bored children: we’re all hurting as we feel our universe shrink down around us. We can’t freewheel all over Eastern Iowa because we are trying to adjust to a much smaller budget. I’m grumpy; they’re grumpy.
Robin, incensed at the injustice of ponytail asymmetry.
My husband and I have had some glittering and wonderful conversations about grad school quitting (more on that to come), but our chat is increasingly dominated by domestic concerns (we oughta get on fixing that bathtub drain, we oughta make plans to paint the garage) because that’s my world right now. Is this it? I ask as if I’m an interviewee in Feminine Mystique.
Other shifts are occurring on the home front. My 2.5 year old decided to spontaneously potty train, and has been doing great (except for poops. sigh.). I love life without diapers but we have been using them at night and I just realized that we are completely out and I guess we’ll just wing it and see how it goes? Oh, to be free of Pull-Ups!
The girls finally met local friends – two sets of siblings just around the corner. They live just far enough away that the kids can’t hop over there on their own, so they keep begging us to go over there after dinner, and it’s kind of awkward inviting ourselves over all the time. We neither want to impose, nor do we want to assume that their parents want to keep an eye on our kids. More on this later.
Robin started preschool yesterday. She loved it so purely and instantly that I am terrified there won’t be an opening in the fall (it’s a small, in-home program). So in about a month I will have to decide if we pursue other options or forget about it (I don’t know if Robin will stand for a year without school – she really, really loves the challenge and change in routine). These are the things I can do without.
Just standing here in my new crocs writing at my old, back-from-the-dead laptop counting down the minutes until my husband gets home (another grownup!) makes me feel so tired. But. The girls are playing together, independently, upstairs. I read a few fantastic books (see below) this weekend. And it’s JUST the beginning: the sky’s the limit, right? I’m just in yet another holding pattern, yet another liminal and vague space that’s opened up because I quit school and changed everything. But so far those spaces have yielded almost nothing but positives, so I have to trust that things are going to play out just fine. Even if it does mean rewriting a few essays.