Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Since starting middle school, #1 son has been assigned an inordinate amount of homework. Much of it is “projects,” which can be any definition the teacher chooses to give. Sometimes a “photo album” type report, sometimes more or less creative, but just any kind of project. Of course, the child can NOT keep track of the assignments OR their due dates. He’s making me crazy.

This week he had THREE projects due. I don’t know WHAT his teachers are thinking. I finally gave up nagging and helped him create a flow sheet that shows what projects have been assigned, their due dates, what he must do for each, what IS done, and what needs to be done, along with when he plans to do what. This helped a lot this weekend when he was trying to wrap up all three (and we’re going to make a new form for him to enter ALL projects on going forward).

My fabulous son stayed focused and worked hard for three whole days (one was due Monday, two Tuesday). He didn’t get to do a single fun thing, but he got his work done. I’m really proud of him.

So when he needed photo documentation of one of his projects, I didn’t hesitate to support that. It’s a Gang Resistance Education And Training (GREAT) course, and he had chosen to beautify the neighborhood by planting pansies. He took a picture before and after. Now, in order to turn that assignment in, we had to print the pictures.

And so the saga begins. First, I have refilled the color cartridge in my inkjet but it just does NOT want to function properly. We have reinstalled and rebooted and finally the black will print but the color doesn’t look right. So I had DH buy a new cartridge Saturday, in order to be prepared to print. Tested it and it’s working. One hurdle cleared.

Next we need to upload the photos. And I admit, I waited until late yesterday to look for the cable. Could not find it. Everybody started looking; no luck. Haven’t uploaded since we moved, so it’s sure to be somewhere, but WHEN it will turn up is anybody’s guess.

OK, Plan B. I need to pick up a couple of things at Stuff-Mart (also knows as the Evil Empire, or Wal-Mart). I’ll take the camera and print off the pictures at the kiosk. No biggie.

So I finish my shift and head out at about 8:45 p.m. Does anyone else see the problem here? The kiosks close at 8 p.m. and you cannot get one-hour photos this late. Getting a little bit nutso. I have promised the child I will do everything in my power to get this done tonight so his projects go in properly. Can’t give up this easily.

Regrouping, Plan C. The electronics department is swamped. Everyone is doing Christmas shopping (what’s the matter with them? There’s another 10 days until Christmas, and I need to print this project NOW!). I finally get someone’s attention and there is no help for the photo lab. I can’t get someone to turn on the kiosk just long enough to print my 4 pix.

Next plan - are we on D now? While I have the clerk’s attention, I ask if they sell the cables to upload pictures at home. There is ONE available. It is supposed to be a “universal jack.” I hold faint hope it will help. They point me over an aisle and I find it. It has multiple jacks that plug into the cable, and one of them is marked Kodak. It even looks like it will fit. It’s 15 dollars, but I have to have a jack, and I have to have it NOW. Fine.

Try getting it off the wall. The stupid thing is locked down! And the stupid department is swamped! There are 3 or 4 people ahead of me. So I make sure one knows ALL I NEED are KEYS, PLEASE! And commence waiting. People are waiting obscene lengths of time just to check out!

Finally my clerk is available. He liberates the keys from the manager and gets my peg unlocked, so I can pull down my purchase. Hallelujah! I ask him, somewhat desperate, if I have to pay for the item in Electronics. No! Woohoo! Next hurdle!

Off I go to make sure I have something to cook tomorrow for dinner, something to put the Christmas fudge that I give to my many family members in (gift tins), and Oreos. Try getting through this kind of ordeal without Oreos? I don’t think so.

You would think the hard part was over. No. Because I have not uploaded pictures in FOUR MONTHS, there are over 200 on the camera. That is not a type-o, it really is over TWO HUNDRED PICTURES.

Home after 10. Turn on the computer. While waiting for it to boot, turn on the camera and plug in the jack. It fits! Something is going right! Woohoo! One more hurdle cleared.

Then I plug the thing into the CPU and wait for it to upload. And wait. And wait.

You really have to be patient with Kodak software. Sometimes it takes its time, but it does the job. After half an hour, I get an error message and have to start over. When this happens you should always reboot the computer. So I did. I waited even longer to be sure that it had completely booted and I wasn’t interrupting its thoughts. Plugged everything BACK in (in the proper order), and wait.

This time it uploaded 60% of the pictures before I got an error message. None of the project pictures are in this group. But they’re in the computer successfully and we can try to get the rest on now. Reboot everything again. It seems Gabe had taken some videos at this point in the queue of pictures waiting to be uploaded and that likely caused the error.

Finally. Everything is uploaded. It’s 11:30. This is just ridiculous. But one more hurdle successfully cleared. Only I’m getting tired now.

So I start looking through the pictures, deleting duplicates and unfocused ones. It’s what you do when you upload. I didn’t get crazy, but I did need to look at them all. Find the four pictures he needs. Drag them to the task box, and get the print menu up. Choose to print them all on one page, 3-1/2 x 5 or so, and send.

Error message. Do you think I’m a little bit SICK of error messages?

Try again. I make sure to select the printer that’s actually present, not the “fax” or whatever it calls the nonexistent printer. Another error message.

Make sure I’ve turned off and disconnected the camera. Reboot the computer AGAIN. Wait for it to boot completely before I try to do anything. Open Kodak EasyShare (EASY my ASS!) and put the four pictures in the task box again. Send them to print.

Guess what? After midnight, I’ve got the damn things printed, and my son will be able to turn in his homework. HIS homework? Seems like I’ve done an awful lot of work to get HIS homework ready!

Can’t wait for the term papers to start. Can I just quit now? No wonder I have dreams about being in high school again - I’m sure doing the hard parts now!


Kim said...

OMG that reminds me of when I was doing Jade's science fair thing. NIGHTMARE! Which is why I will no longer even look at a computer unless it has a SD card jack. So much easier to pop your card in and download from there.

Anonymous said...

so now that those two hundred pictures are on the computer, can we see some of them?

Alana said...

oy.. and I thought 2nd grade was going to kil me..

Amber said...

I gave up on "easy"share long ago. SD card slots are the most wonderful addition to computers EVER! You can get USB adaptors now that you just pop your SD card into and plug straight into the USB slot. It's like a thumb drive, my dad got one cause his new work laptop didn't have the SD slot and he was just going to buy a new cable but the guy at the store talked him into the USB drive adaptor thing. Coolest invention ever if you ask me. Definately worth looking into.