Thursday, July 12, 2007

Hello from printer-land

At the moment, I'm existing in this semi-haze of being awake and not being awake...

You see, I'm printing my damn wedding invitations. Which would normally not be a huge deal, as I only have to print up 35 or so, and I had the design done about two days ago. But you see, the printer apparently doesn't want me to get married, since it chose today, of all days, to start printing crookedly. Not by much, mind you, but it was off by a millimeter and it was noticeable to the naked eye.

This drove me crazy.

How could I, the closet perfectionist, send out wedding invitations that were most definitely crooked? Seriously, the thought horrified me.

So I argued with the printer, which did nothing. I then had an inane online chat with the HP people in India, which I impolitely exited out of, when it became apparent that the technician had no comprehension of either my problem or the English language. Finally, Chris dragged me out to dinner at Chili's, as I was close to destroying the printer with my rage. =)

We returned; we followed all the realignment instructions that HP provided online. Chris delicately cleaned all three paper rollers and we let them dry. And then, the moment of truth...

...the damn thing was printing straight again.

And thus, that brings you to where I am now, which is manually hand-feeding each invitation into the printer (it is partially disassembled, so I can do this), and then waiting for the ink to dry on each one. After this, response cards, which thank the lord, are going to be very easy to print. Then, RSVP envelopes. Then, addressing the actual envelopes. Have I mentioned that I really don't think I have enough stamps?

The last two steps in the procedure are to pick up the direction cards from the wedding location tomorrow, in order to include them in the invitations, and then off to the post office, to weigh the whole kit and caboodle, and buy stamps for the outer envelopes.

Do you wonder that people charge a lot of money for this?

It's not so much that it's difficult, although figuring out a nice design and font (I found a lovely one online) and layout of the wording took quite a bit of time and thought. It's more that it's tedious and time-consuming. But it saves money.... I shall keep repeating this mantra. =)

So, what is everyone else up to?


Conduit said...

Part of my business is print (we're a partnership - I do the websites, the other guy does the print). The first thing to know about print is how inexact a science it is. Designs have to allow for inaccuracies in registration (there's a technical term for you!) with bleeds and so on. Basically, paper is a difficult medium to deal with. It ripples, it bends, it gets stuck, it tears, it generally annoys the hell out you.

The other thing to know about print, and thank you for highlighting it, is how much time goes into it. When we get clients moaning about prices we have to remind them how long it takes to design, print, cut, fold and staple 100 booklets. They only think of the material costs, not the hours of a person's life they're paying for.

Thankfully, I don't have to do that stuff. I just listen to my business partner (who is a devout Christian) cuss like a sailor when another sheet of paper gets chewed by our big Xerox machine.

Oh, and congratulations. :)

Patrick McNamara said...

Dust tends to cause a lot of problems with printers, though I once fixed a printer that was acting up because a paperclip had fallen into the works. Once the paperclip was removed it worked fine.

Printers are designed for certain types of paper and can be a problem if you deviate from that. Most printers have some sort of self-cleaning feature, though that mainly clears out the ink jets and isn't perfect.

Jennifer said...

I've always said -- dating back to the most insanely designed dot-matrix beasties -- that printers are from hell. Congrats on defeating the crookedy demon.

Karen Duvall said...

I'm a graphic designer and I know all about what you're going through, Jenny. Printers are a pain. I commend you for your perseverance.

What am I up to? Eagerly closing in on the finale of my urban fantasy novel, or as I prefer to call it, my paranormal adventure novel. I'm creating a new genre. Ha! 8^) I have two published books, a paranormal mystery manuscript on submission with The Poisoned Pen press (it's been there for one year and counting) and then this book, my favorite. I'm looking for an agent.

I'll be attending the Pacific Northwest Writers Conference July 26-29 and have two agent pitch appointments. I'd originally planned on attending the Willamette Writers conference in August, but PNW looks lots better, plus Willamette actually charges attendees for pitch appointments on top of a very hefty registration fee. That's just sick and wrong. I know you'll be at Willamette, Jenny, and I'm sorry I'll miss you. Have a fun time in Portland! (I live in Bend, Oregon)


Chumplet said...

Don't forget to save a couple and put them in the archives with your wedding mementos.

Tori said...

What am I up to?

Trying to graduate so I can dive gleefully into my first university course (European history, distance ed). And editing my book. And figuring out someone's birthday plans. :) Summer is great.

Actually, I've been meaning to thank you for writing such an informative blog that also shows that you are HUMAN. It's a side we don't often see in an agent's blog. I look forward to querying you when my WIP is done, and, in the meanwhile, I'll keep reading. Take care!

Anonymous said...

I handwrote mine on notecards. I got married before the advent of commonplace home computers. I only had to write like 20..

Demon Hunter said...

I was just invited to a wedding and was told that I was going to be in it on August 6. (Yes! This year!) The girl is slack, slack, slack. She has always done everything at the last minute, so I am not surprised. She just got engaged about a month or two ago, so it's rushed as well...ah, the fun!

Lee Ann Ward said...

I used to be co-owner of a printing business about 10 years ago. Jenny just reminded my why I got out of the printing thing altogether... ;)> Can't say that I miss it one little bit!

What am I up to? Chapter 4 on my newest YA. Woo-hoo!

Good luck in "Printer-Land", Jenny, but it sounds like you've got it licked, and without chunking the bloody printer out of the nearest window. You're a better woman than me...I cheated and subbed my own wedding invitations to a wholesaler (and that's when I owned my printing business. Yikes!).

kathie said...

Jeeze, Jenny, that doesn't sound like the fun part of wedding planning. I know what you mean about eye-balling something--if you can pick up the misalignment up with the naked eye, you know everyone else will see it. Hope you've finished the job by now.