Friday, March 2, 2007

Mr. COI strikes again

Whew, busy week. I've been working like a dog on that four-author book, but there's no way it's going to be published in time to hit the sales cycle for fall college classes. The authors have been dragging their collective feet and turning chapters in late AND in rough shape, and permissions for software they'd planned to include on the book's DVD are turning into a nightmare. Even with open-source software, they have to get the software creator's permission to distribute it on a CD or DVD. Have they done that? Don't be silly. So Kid Manager and I have been trying to track down that information.

To make matters worse, Mr. Conflict of Interest (the author who can't be bothered to show up for conference calls) said he was dropping off the project because he was having surgery for "an old war injury." FINE WITH ME! For a few blessed weeks, I didn't have to deal with him or his sloppy work. However, when author seconds of his chapters were due, suddenly he was back on the project and claimed he'd have the first chapter done by last Friday. Keep in mind he's had that chapter with my edits and reviewer feedback since December 20, OK? That will be important later.

Naturally, I assumed he wouldn't finish by the date he gave, but when Friday came and went with no chapter, I started e-mailing to ask for updates. Finally, on Tuesday, he e-mailed the chapter files because he said he couldn't access the FTP site to post them. I opened the files and discovered, to my dismay, that not only had all my edits--10 hours worth of work--and the reviewer feedback disappeared, but the chapter didn't even have the original changes for his author first draft! I did some checking and realized he'd gone to the FTP site and downloaded the previous edition's chapter, and submitted that version. So he did NOTHING for his author second pass, and he lied about not being able to use the FTP site. I was livid, I tell you. I wrote a terse e-mail to him, stating what he'd done, and copied all his co-authors, Kid Manager, and the acquisitions editor (the big cheese, in other words). Do not fuck with me, Mr. COI. His co-author tried to apologize for him, saying Mr. COI couldn't get to the FTP site to download my edited version, but I told him that excuse didn't wash. Mr. COI had been notified on December 20 that the chapter was ready and had plenty of time to try to download the files, and I'd specifically told him I'd be happy to e-mail the files to him if he had trouble with the FTP site. Take that, you putz. Gah! Do these people think I'm stupid?

OK, enough about work. I think I mentioned Daniel's Brain Game team was done for the year, but he joined the science AND social studies academic teams, which also have quiz matches with other schools. The kid went for three years refusing to participate in extracurricular activities, except for occasional French Club meetings, and suddenly, he's signing up right and left for activities. I think the Little Red-Haired Girl is on the science team, and I'm sure she's a partial motivation. I'm delighted he's having fun and getting involved in something with a social component, though.

For the past few weeks, he and a few other seniors who have been taking French the past four years have been going to local elementary schools and teaching French to third graders. I thought Daniel might not have the patience to teach young kids, but he loved it. He even asked me for ideas on lesson plans! I'm still useful! Whooo! The last day of teaching, he came home looking exhausted and said he'd learned a valuable lesson. "What's that?" I asked. "Never, EVER, give candy to third graders," he said grimly. He and his partner decided to take in some candy for the last day as prizes for a game they'd devised, and apparently the kids were bouncing off the walls in a frenzy of candy greed and sugar rushes by the end of the lesson. Heh.

Kevin's art class went well last Saturday. Not as many students as he'd hoped for, but the five who showed up had a great time and asked when he'd be teaching another class. He met with the art center's director, who asked him to teach at least one class a month, preferably two. His next class will be on making art dolls, loosely based on the faux voodoo dolls we made as a craft project at our last Halloween party. Mayberry's on the cusp of the Bible Belt, so Kevin's promotional materials for the class have to include a disclaimer that the art center doesn't endorse voodoo, and the dolls aren't meant to be used for actual voodoo practices. Because that's SO likely to happen, you know. Without the disclaimer, who knows what people might try to do with these potent symbols of evil!

Kevin made a big deal of saying he wanted me to attend this next class, too. He's been making an effort to take the iniative more on finding things for us to do together, bless his heart. We had a little talk about some of his recent behavior, but I didn't accuse him of having irritable male syndrome or anything. I figured that would put him on the defensive. I are so smart sometimes! One decision we came to is that we need to spend more time together doing things we both enjoy, and art and crafty pursuits are definitely interests we have in common.

Sometimes it seems as though we go for weeks in which our conversations consist mostly of details about picking up milk and stamps, figuring out what to make for dinner, discussing whether shampooing the couch will get rid of the smell from Holly throwing up on it, and other fascinating topics. I guess other couples fall into similar ruts, but with an impending empty nest, I don't want to become one of those couple who go out to dinner and have nothing to say to each other. That prospect terrifies me. My theory is that spending more time together to remind us of what we saw in each other when we were falling in love might help both our irritable moods. And if it doesn't work, I can always make a voodoo doll of Kevin to make him behave. Mwah-ha-ha-ha-ha!