Wednesday, June 04, 2014

Hal -- The Device Formerly Known As Printer

Breathe, Kelly, breathe.

Inhale, exhale.

I think of myself as a realist, but sometimes I am the master of denial. I white-wash all manner of events, especially big events like pregnancy, childbirth, nursing.  I remember all the good about pregnancy. I overlook the exhaustion, the breathlessness, the waddling.  (Except for the nausea thing -- which I recall in technicolor detail).

I look at my friends' tiny babies and ooh and aah and remember those tiny, fuzzy heads and sweet cheeks and gurgly coos. And then Ainsley was dealing with her micro-bout of Croup (much less nerve-wracking than John's uber-bout). I sat on the edge of the bed at about 3:00 a.m. and kept repeating Advil, Advil, Advil and then I'd nod off and shake myself awake and mutter Advil, Advil, Advil. I no longer function in the dead of night. My nighttime parenting is limited to saying, "Come on in, Ainsley. Try not to kick Daddy."

So I was meandering through the grocery store picking up snacks for tonight's swim meet and thinking about how last year's meets were about the most exhausting thing ever and wondering why that was so and chuckling over me of a year ago and oh! how she does go on about things and what was the big deal anyway?

And I came home to tackle item # 1 on a long list of Things To Do Before a Swim Meet. This step was simple one: Print the heat sheets.

I may be a bit forgetful. I may be the master of denial. But, believe me, Printer, my old nemesis, is not.

Printer -- for purposes of this post, we'll just call him Hal -- remembers all too well how important the heat sheets are and how easy, how entertaining, oh, how fun, fun, fun, it is to gum up the whole works.

I've said it before it, and I'll say it again: These things should be easy. Oh, yes, they should. But where's the fun in that? Thirty-three pages and a few choice words later, I have heat sheets in hand. Our browser has a function that invites you to print selected pages. I'm pretty sure Printer, I mean Hal, dabbles in HTML in his spare time and coded these very instructions. Pages 1, 3, 5, and 7 printed so very nicely, oh so very nicely.

And then they printed again.

And again.

And again.

Hal, it seems, doesn't do even numbered pages.

Furthermore, Hal doesn't understand basic English commands: Cancel, Stop, Exit, Escape, Can't You See I Just Pulled Your Plug, Print the Bleeding Even-numbered Pages Before I Donate You to the Kindergarten For Take Apart. 

At one point Hal emitted a grinding noise reminiscent of death throes and then flashed an unreadable message on the badly lighted screen. The flashlight, naturally, was hiding in John and Ainsley's fort down the hall.

But it's all over, and I'm now breathing. Inhale, exhale. I'm sure we have a paper bag around here somewhere.

Thirty-three pages, one massive paper jam, the intervention of a smug -- oh, so very smug -- adolescent techno-wiz, and I have my heat sheets in hand. (And 25 spare sets of pages 1, 3, 5, and 7).

What I don't have in hand is John's bathing suit. While the heat sheets are important, John's bathing suit is critical.

And the time of departure is rapidly approaching. A friend called last night to ask if we really, truly, absolutely needed to be on site at 4:30 for a meet that starts at 6:00. No, no I told her. I'll be there at 5:00. But at this morning's practice I learned that the 4:30 arrival time is not, in fact, an urban legend, and since I'm sort of, kind of in charge of the girls ages six and under, I might need to arrive a few minutes before that.

Maybe we should have spent the night.

It's going to be fine.


Inhale, exhale.

1 comment:

Kris said...

Eventually you'll have this down to a science. Now that my youngest is 9, I can do it with my eyes closed. 18 years of swim team will do that to you. Although I will admit that the first meet always throws me for a loop and I have to get back into the groove. And you can get a new printer pretty cheaply. I'm thinking it's time.... :)