I read a little piece on Facebook today, 47 things you didn’t know that ruined your life. I only remember one, so I’ll save it for the end.
It reminded me of a township learning experience I survived, and can now apply to being a modern grandmother in charge of two of them. Several years ago the township put up a website. It wasn’t the format I wanted or by the webmaster I preferred, but it’s a nice little thing and I have grown fond of it.
We have most of the books of record of the township, back to its founding in 1811. The oldest books are entirely handwritten in bound volumes, and were professionally scanned to upload. In 1935 the township had a typewriter, and books of record of minutes became typewritten documents that I could access one at a time and scan to upload.
So began my self imposed project of scanning seventy odd years of minutes for our website. I did this back in 2010, and the scanner I had treated the documents as photos. I used another program to save them to a file and another program to convert them to pdf’s, to upload. Until some Word version came along and let me make pdf’s of Word files, all the uploaded minutes are watermarked “created by pdffactory,” a free program I was too cheap to purchase the real version of.
I finished the project and thought no more of it until one missing book of minutes turned up recently and needed scanned and uploaded. In the interim, all programs, processes and equipment I knew were swapped out several times over. Try as I might, I could not figure out how to turn several pages into a pdf document, short of buying (and learning!) the Adobe program.
One day I noticed that all email correspondence with attachments, from our attorney, were in pdf format. “How do you do that, Ed,” I immediately wanted to know. Damned if he knew; he put the document in the scanner to be scanned to email and it came out in pdf. Magic.
A very short period of trial and error and I could scan a document to an email I would never send; open the document from the email and save it to a file. Bonanza! I scanned and uploaded the old minute book, and to celebrate, saved township documents that seemed to be misplaced often to flash drives. I had a moment of small triumph when Cuyahoga Falls couldn’t find an original of the now twelve year old JEDD agreement and they needed to see how House Bill xyz will affect our tax agreement. “Let me send you that. What email address should I use?”
Now Emily has begun applying for scholarships, and we are in the murky place my dad bitterly called “looking down the length of my pocketbook.” For the first application, due November 3rd, I had to provide my 2012 and 2013 1099 only and 2014 complete tax package. Don’t tell the IRS, but I already sent my 2012 tax return to the great god of shredding, so I turned to my long suffering accountant, George. It all came back, lickity split.
I saved 2012 and 13 to a file, and stared at 2014 in dismay. Page after page, one at a time, exactly as George sent to the great cloud. I tried putting them in a folder and attaching that, electronically. Of course it doesn’t work that way. Eventually I printed all the pages for an attempt at pdf-ing them today on our home printer/scanner. Jan and I sat down to the job after lunch—the scanner answers to her computer and I have no idea where she stashes its programs.
The first attempt obviously failed; the scanner sent all the papers straight through in a very disgusted “get these things out of my tray” fashion. I gathered them up, thinking where I could go to email them to me. “Wait, wait,” Jan said. “I hit the cancel button on that job, not start.”
The second time the papers went through exactly as scanned documents do, and the email program fired up and there was my attached document, awaiting only my instructions on the recipient—me. I hit send and went down to my computer to open it up and save my final document. It wasn’t there. Back to the other computer. I had overlooked Outlook’s picky little moment of needing the send/receive command on its site, too. Damn programs.
I have attached and sent the last bit of info required of me for this scholarship. Emily is still working on her part. If all is not there by November 3rd, won’t be my fault.
So, the 47 things I didn’t know that ruined my life and I only recall one of: the number on the toaster dial is not the degree of goodness you’re toasting to, it’s the minutes—a mini timer.