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Thursday, September 03, 2009

The Great Time Sink

The subheading for this could be How I End Up Behind Schedule. I've been working on a proposal for my agent on a paranormal idea and I promised I'd have it to her early next week. I knew where I was and knew how much more I had left to write. After that I'd need to revise, send it to my writing buddies for feedback, and revise again. Completely doable.

And then came the great time sink.

It started innocently enough. Friday night I received my Snow Leopard upgrade for my iMac. This is my desktop unit and it has my printer and scanner hooked up to it. It had taken some work, but I'd managed to set everything up so I could print from my laptop through the wireless network. This is foreshadowing. You might already be guessing where this story is headed.

Also on Friday night, I went looking for pictures of my heroine's house and I actually found it quickly. Sometimes I can spend hours and hours, days and days looking for the right place, but this one was like the second or third I checked out from the Realty site. Perfect! I even got to bed at a decent hour.

I slept in Saturday morning, had coffee, read email, and since I was still a little groggy, I thought I'd take 15 or 20 minutes and try to find a house plan for my heroine's townhome. I'd come across a lot of pictures that night before, but that didn't help me figure out the relationship between the rooms and I needed that. Since the place I'd found was up on so many sites, I figured one of them would have a layout of the rooms posted somewhere. A few minutes and I'd have my plans and be able to finish the first draft of the proposal chapters. Famous last words.

None of the Realty sites had plans for the townhouse, but I did find the name of the builder and the year that subdivision was erected. They surely must have the plans on their site, especially since it's a big, multi-state player in the home-building market.

But no. The project was completed and I couldn't find any archives of the older projects on their site. I checked other townhomes they were currently building in Florida, hoping they were using the same plans, but if they were, I didn't find it.

I'm on a mission now. I head to the Way Back Machine, AKA the web archives where sites are archived for historical purposes. I found the builder's site. I chose the right date in 2007 when the units were going up. The links worked in the Way Back Machine, but I hit problem one. The plans were in Flash and it wouldn't pull up in Firefox. Despair hit. Don't tell me the WBM doesn't transfer Flash inserts correctly. After a few attempts at reloading, it finally occurred to me to try IE. Bingo! I have my house plans.

Now another problem hits. I can't save the Flash images of the two floors. There's a print button, though, and I press it. Again and again. Nothing prints. I check the printer. Everything looks fine. I print from the iMac without a problem. Hmm. Back to the laptop. Still won't print.

I begin checking settings both on the iMac and on the laptop. It must be a problem with the networking, but everything looks normal. It had to be the upgrade to Snow Leopard that changed something, but I don't know what. After messing around with this for about an hour, I decide that's enough time. I'll fix it later and just print from the desktop. Safari and Firefox won't pull up the Flash file at the Way Back Machine and I don't have IE on the Mac. I enter Parallels where I run XP.

Finally, after reloading the printer drivers, I get a print out of the two floors of the townhouse--and then my scanner won't work. I surrendered then. Of course, by this time, the damage was done. It was after 2pm and I was frazzled from all those hours spent troubleshooting and trying to print.

Stuff like this happens to me all the time. You think by now I'd realize there's no such thing as a quick foray, that everything will snowball and lead to a time sink, but I don't learn. This put me a day behind on my mental schedule, and to get back on track, I had to work late every night this week. I managed to get my proposal chapters out to my writing buddies on the day I wanted to do that by, so I'm back on track. Goal now is to do another revision run over this weekend with their comments and have this to my agent on Tuesday. Just remind me to not do any fast research runs online.