August 3, 2006

What if?

by Chris Feeney

What if timing wasnít everything? Well, I would have to attest that scheduling can alleviate a certain amount of stress from our lives. But for those of us that lack proper time management skills, we will always have our issues. Mine, or should I say, my most recent debacle has been the publication of the fair results, or should I say the failure to publish said special section.

Generally we have this beloved feature done by August. Generally the fair was held in July. But this year it was held in June. Okay, so you math majors out there are saying, well if it was earlier in the year, then the results should have been in sooner rather than later. You would think that.

But, timing is everything. In the midst of this publishing endeavor, yours truly, in my infinite wisdom, also decided to take on the task of remodeling the office. The slight overhaul turned into a full-blown makeover that necessitated a move to temporary housing for the newspaper. The move itself accounted for some of the delay.

Then there was the concept of working two jobs at once. While attempting to get a newspaper out every seven days over the past five weeks, this editor was also trying his hand at carpentry, painting and wiring. While this process was quite enlightening (I learned Iím no good at any of those jobs), it proved taxing on my limited amount of time. Itís never good to rob minutes from your real job to work at a second career that offers no paycheck.

I canít complain about the process, as I did enjoy doing the work, and I love the finished product. It boils down to that timing thing again.

You would think as a newspaperman, I would be used to that pesky deadline by now. While after a decade or more in the industry, I can handle meeting the press time, I was finding it much more difficult to meet the schedules of the various contractors, the repairmen that came to fix everything that I worked on and most importantly the end of the month.

The cheapskate that I am, I did not want to take on another monthís rent at the temporary office, so I established July 31st as final move date.

Boy was that bad timing. Iíll preface this by telling you what you already know, that July 31st was a Monday. Mondayís are bad days at the newspaper, topped in dreadfulness only by Tuesday Ė deadline day. These days are bad enough on a normal week. But this genius not only scheduled the fair section for this week, but did so knowing that I would be moving back into our new office, the one that still has several tasks that need to be done in order for the space to be most efficiently utilized. Thatís a flowery way of saying, we are all sitting around our desks amidst mounds of boxes and heaps of clutter that we are currently too busy to address.

Oh yeah, did I mention that I was sick all last week with some form of throat ailment that had me running a temperature and unable to swallow any food without an immediate liquid chaser.

Iím running out of space, so Iíll save the rest of my sob-inducing excuses for next time I keep you waiting. I hope you enjoy the fair section, the new entrance to the Memphis Democrat office and the return of What if? Maybe now that I got all of this stuff done, I can get my timing down and return to writing a weekly editorial.

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