Print Queue Drama Saved the World Last Night

Saturday night was a long one for me.

In preparation for a monthly sporting event for about 80 people, my task was to print the score sheets for the match.  Since I have been doing this every month for some time, I’ve tried different methods of getting the participant data pre-printed on the score sheet.  I like to make things as easy as possible at check-in without everyone having to write down info they’ve already given us!!!

This month, I decided to try something a little different.

I didn’t like the way the software printed the score sheets, and I wanted more information to be printed on them.  So, I tweaked the format of the form and added more info.  Everything would print at one time.

It was simple enough in theory.  Things were all set to go.  I just had to wait until late in the evening to get the final report, export the participant data onto the score sheet, and print.  Easy.

And so it was, I procrastinated.  About an hour before I wanted to go to bed, I settled down to do this last step.  Had a few layout issues to content with, but otherwise it was no big deal…. merged the document…. every thing looked great.

Sent a sample page to the printer for final review…..

Nothing.

What is going on?

I tried sending other pages.  Nothing again.

I tried canceling print jobs listed in the queue.  They wouldn’t die, and they wouldn’t print.  UGH!

At this time, I contacted my 24-hour IT department: my husband.

He tinkered in hidden places on my computer and managed to clear and reset everything.  Afterward, I would be able to print okay for a little while, and then the whole process would start all over.  It was very maddening.

To further complicate things, apparently I need a new toner cartridge in my laser printer.  That lovely orange light started flashing about halfway through the ordeal.  Panic attack anyone?

Hubby ended up finishing them on his laser printer.  Thank goodness for home offices!

Whew.  Finally.  All done.  No stress.  Time for bed.  I can function on 3 hours of sleep, right?

I set my alarm for 6am.  This would allow time to become sufficiently caffeinated, showered and presentable enough to leave at 7:15am.

But I had trouble falling asleep.  I was so wired from all the drama.  My head kept agonizing over the stupid print queue dysfunction.

So I drifted into a bizzare dream.  It consisted of things that I don’t remember now, but it mainly involved the urgent need to push a button to continue a print job whenever an alarm would sound.  It was kinda like the TV show Lost – having to push a button to reset a timer and thus prevent a calamity.

At 7am, I woke up to my alarm, only to realize that I had been pushing the snooze button every 10 minutes…. for the last hour.  OMG!  I have to leave in 15 minutes!!!!

Good thing I had everything ready to go!!  I managed to get the score sheets to the match and was only a few minutes late.  And so began a very discombobulated kind of day.  Just strange all around.

But at least I saved the world.

 

 

 

 

 

A Mother’s Love

(Edited and re-posted)

On Mother’s Day, many of my friends will post status updates on Facebook about how wonderful their mother is….how supportive……how loving….how accepting….  They’ll post about how a mother’s love is forever and unconditional.

There is joy for my friends that they were able to experience a mother’s love, but sometimes people talking about their wonderful mothers causes a twinge of pain while I grieve my loss.

I sit here thinking about that while looking at an elaborate cross-stitch gift I made for my mother when I was about 15 years old. I had spent many months working on this piece for framing, and I have a picture of when I gave it to my mom at Christmas.  It said:

A Mother Holds Her Children’s Hands For Awhile…
Their Hearts Forever.

I believed it at the time.  I did not judge my mother for the mistakes she made in life because I believed she did the best she could as a teen mom who had endured a lot of tragedy and abuse in her own life.

You know… don’t judge someone unless you’ve walked a mile in their shoes, and stuff like that.

But as I got older, I started discovering that much of what she had told me when I was a kid was either a lie, stretched truth, or emotional manipulation.  Funny how things that were “best for me” conveniently ended up being best for her, too.

She had manipulated my father out of my life, complete with taking scissors to all my baby photos and cutting him out of them.  I never knew him as I was growing up.  I never knew that he was a war hero, having lost both legs to a land mine explosion in Vietnam.  I never knew my father’s large family and how they missed me.

My mother led me to believe my father didn’t want me.  She would nurture her deception by saying, “What kind of man gives up his own child?”  As I got older, it tormented me that I couldn’t remember what he looked like, except for the wheelchair.  Any questions I asked about him would be greeted with rolled eyes or a tongue lashing or be made to feel guilty for thinking about him.

When I was 18, she “allowed” me to reconnect with my father.  I visited him a few times and met my grandparents and many other relatives.  I discovered a huge, loving family that wanted to embrace me,  but I had no idea who these people were or what their names were.  I just felt like an outsider.

After a summer visit with my father, when I got home, my mother and step-dad nearly insisted that I have no more contact with my father.  It was almost as if they had said, “Okay, you’ve met him, now go back to pretending he doesn’t exist.”

Well, that just seemed foolish to me.

So a few weeks later, I told my mother I was going to the mall with a friend, but instead, my friend dropped me off at the airport.  There, I got on a plane and flew across the country to live with my father.

My mother chose to take my relationship with my father as a personal betrayal.  She didn’t talk to me for months, including over Christmas.  She cut me out of her life just like she had done with my father.

At that time, my emotional vulnerability set things in motion for me getting ensnared in an abusive relationship.  My mother had disowned me, and I didn’t feel like I fit in with my father.  Where else could I turn?

Eventually things improved with my father, but they never got better with my mother.  At one point, I had moved back to my childhood home to live with my step-dad and go back to college.  One day, she had left a bag for me.  Inside were childhood keepsakes, old drawings, school report cards, holiday cards… and even my baby teeth….along with the cross-stitch gift and other things I’d made for my mother through the years.

She had taken anything that reminded her of me and discarded it like trash.  Another time, she gave me an umpteen page diatribe about how I was a horrible person and outlined a litany of transgressions of how I had wronged her over the years.

Imagine that.  She ripped my father from my life and kept him away from me even when she knew I was longing for him, but she can’t forgive me for getting on a plane and for stating in court that she was unable of unconditional love.

Yeh, I’m the bad guy.  WTF ever.  She’s the one who has three grandchildren who don’t even know who she is.  How fucked up is that?

Anyway, now that I am a mother myself, I look at my children and feel so many things and understand a FOREVER kind of love, one that I’ve never experienced before.  Mainly, I know that it’s not my children’s responsibility to make me happy; they are free to pursue their own goals, and I want to support them.  It’s very important to not repeat my family legacy of  ignorance, abuse, manipulation, and isolation.

And if any of my kids ever traverse across the continent to get away from me, you can bet that I will be on the very next plane to put my arms around them and say,

“Hey, we need to talk, but whatever you do, wherever you go, I will always love you, forever.”

———————————————————–

If you liked this post, you also might like: Rot in Prision You Perv which continues on this topic.

 

The Flute Story

It’s no secret that I’ve had a troubled life.  The first period of my life was marked with abandonment, abuse, guilt and repression when I was too young to realize others could have helped me if only I would have spoken up.  Then, those experiences setup the second period of my life to be marked with manipulative relationships and a series of really bad decisions.

Now, things have calmed down, and the period in which I find myself now is bittersweet; happiness and fulfillment with life as a mother to three beautiful children yet discontentment and dis-empowerment with life as a wife to a man who is way more clever and calculating than me.  Sometimes I feel blessed beyond imagination, and other days I feel stupid and insignificant.

During the dark times in my life, I have often struggled with my spiritual faith.

My upbringing was immersed in pentecostal church services and an expectation to continue the evangelical ideologies in which I was raised.  When I was 18, I spent a year at a Bible college in Dallas, Texas because that’s what my parents wanted me to do, and life was easier if they were happy.

While there, I met a boy named Scott, and we became (platonic) friends.  Scott wanted to visit with his family, so he invited me to spend a weekend at his family’s house in Houston.  His father was a minister for a local congregation so of course we attended the Sunday service while there.  It was a day that has forever had an influence on me and kept me hanging on when I’ve felt like giving up.

Scott’s father was preaching and talking about how God desires to “give good things to them that ask Him.” [Matthew 7:11]  He explained that the scripture probably wasn’t talking about winning the lottery or flashy cars or a hilltop mansion.  Instead, he compared it to when you take the kids shopping and end up buying them a small treat like a bag of candy or a small trinket.  He then asked everyone to think of something small and attainable that would have significant personal meaning.

I didn’t have to think for long.

Ever since fifth grade, I had always wanted a flute.  At the public school I was attending at that time, fifth grade was the time the school offered entry-level music lessons.  For months prior to fifth grade, I had talked about playing the flute.  However, when the time came to complete the paperwork in fifth grade, my mother worked her emotionally manipulative tactics on me.

I wanted to play the flute.  She wanted me to play the violin.  After berating the flute and extolling the violin, after three days, I gave in and consented to playing the violin.  Well, as you can imagine, since my heart was not committed to playing the violin, I quickly lost interest in practicing.  Eventually I dropped out of lessons altogether.

To add insult to injury, for the next ten years, whenever I would talk about interest in music lessons for flute, I would be reminded about how I’d never stuck with the violin.  I did eventually teach myself to play a little guitar, but my parents were never going to “waste their money” on real music lessons on any instrument because I had been such a failure in fifth grade with the violin.

So, as I was sitting there in that church service contemplating a real, attainable gift that God could bless my life with, all I could think about was: A Flute.

In that moment, Scott’s father started asking a couple people to share what they were asking God for.  Then he came over to me and asked what gift God could give to me, and I said, “A flute.”

A hush fell over the entire congregation.  I wondered if I had asked for something inappropriate.  The fact was that Scott’s father, the minister was speechless.

It turns out that several months prior, a beloved church member had moved away and had donated a flute to the church.  This flute had been sitting in the minister’s office and they’d had one roadblock after another trying to find a home for it!

Also, ironically enough, the church member who had donated the flute happened to be visiting friends in town and was in attendance at the service that night.

So many different things fell into place and came together that night.  I’m often struck at how fortuitous it was that I was there that night and that the flute donator was there and that they even had a flute.  What if I had asked for something else?

At the end of the evening, the church generously gave me the flute.  The lady who donated the flute told me her story about how it had helped her through rough times in her life and had a similar life story to my own.

That was over 20 years ago, but I still have that flute.  It’s traversed cross country with me and back again.  It has stayed with me through every move.  When people ask me why I have faith that there is a God despite the hardships and tragedies in life, I just look at my flute.

It gives me hope, and that’s why I try to stay strong.