The school where I work spent the past year doing a self study in preparation for our accreditation evaluation that is scheduled for the end of this month. People have been earnest about the work, and consequently there are hundreds of pages of standards and descriptions and narrative, and all manner of supporting binders, documents, exhibits. Each of the sections has been written by a different author, each using a format that makes sense to her or him.
A free lancer was hired over the summer to take all of the reports prepared by dozens of different people and attempt to get them all into one "voice" and to get them into a common format. She did the first part and somehow managed not to do the second part. And has now gone out of town. This was discovered by the self-study team leader on Tuesday of this week. The chair of the visiting committee is coming on Friday -- yes, of this week -- for a preliminary visit. Two complete binders are needed for him. Our team leader was stunned to discover the condition of the documents, especially when she looked at the calendar.
I see that once again, reader, you are way ahead.
I spent all of yesterday, from about ten o'clock until four o'clock formatting and began again this morning at 6:45, finally completing the last report at 3:30 this afternoon. Someone else has the task of printing the documents and setting up the binders.
So I'm tired.
And I'm also a bit cranky. I never like having to work under pressure to get a project of any kind done at the last minute. But I'm realistic enough to know that sometimes that happens. And I've tried to step up with good grace to rescue this disaster of a project, for the sake of the school and also for the team leader, who's always been one of my favorite people at school.
My rant and present crankiness are not about the task. Despite the pressure, there was a certain amount of exhilaration in hastening toward the deadline.
My disgruntlement is with Word.
Like practically everyone, I've learned Word by using it, not by taking a class. And over the years I've picked up pretty much of what I need, and beyond that, I know who knows some of the things I don't know. So I've managed. But this summer a new version came out and the tech guys put it on my computer, and I've not thoroughly learned my limited way around it.
On this project, I established a format and tried to take all these different files in all these different formats by all these different authors and standardize. It worked up to a point. And then, appropos of absolutely nothing, Word would refuse to do what I wanted it to do. Once it arbitrarily italicized a 3 and would not back down. And don't get me started on the alignment of lists. No amount of persuasion on my part could convince Word to do the same thing all of the time. The arbitrariness of the variations was astonishing. And frustrating.
Eventually, for the most stubborn situations, I came up with a system where I opened a new document and would copy from the big project and paste onto the new sheet and format it there and then copy and paste it back where it belonged. So in the end I won. Up to a point.
But I still could picture Word sitting there just smirking at me.