RSS

Category Archives: Parenting

I think Tesla may have been involved in the manufacture of my glass bowls

Ever have one of those days where you break some glassware, and as a result trap your kids in a room that they can’t leave until you sweep up all the glass because they aren’t wearing shoes and when you ask where their shoes are, of course they don’t know, because why would they and you have to sequester the dogs because they never wear shoes and you can’t have them hurting themselves when they come to investigate the source of that loud crashing sound and oh yeah, said dogs chewed up your only dustpan at some point in the past so it doesn’t work well and while you’re looking for the vacuum cleaner the kids suddenly really need to go to the bathroom but they are at that age and size where there is no way on this green Earth you can carry them over the danger zone and then, as the icing on the cake, just as you vacuum up the last remnants of the broken glassware you knock over another one and it crashes to the floor and shatters into a million pieces in a million directions, covering the area you just picked up then swept then vacuumed and all the while the dogs are howling because they want to be let loose and probably need to go to the bathroom too and oh, did I mention that you’re really tired and had been planning to go to bed right after putting away the glassware you’d taken out of the dishwasher but in the process bumped some other glassware causing it to break?

Yeah, me neither.

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on 24 November 2019 in Angst, Life, Parenting

 

Tags: , , , , , ,

Scheduling Success? Over My Dead Body (Seriously, Your Plan Will Kill Me)

It’s a new day, and I’m going to make some changes.

OK, more accurately, it’s two months in from the new day specifically known as New Year’s Day, and I’ve been thinking about all the changes I should have made then to ensure a successful new year by now.

Here are the goals:

  • Stop being so tired all the time
  • Get back into writing
  • Exercise the doggos with regular walks so the backyard doesn’t look like a poorly planned out but nonetheless enthusiastic reenactment of World War I trench warfare
  • Spend more quality time with the kiddos and Missus before they grow up/old and hate me

Note: goals not necessarily in order of priority.

So I chugged down a few (iced!) espressos and turned the ol’ noodle loose on the problem of how to make my dreams come true.

Here’s what’s gonna happen:

Every night, kiddos in bed by 8, me by 8:30.

Get my minimum eight hours sleep in, wake at 4:30am. Shower, breakfast, and the like.

5am: Write for two hours.

7am: Scream at kiddos to wake up and get ready for school. Leave for work, dumping aftermath of screaming on the Missus.

5pm: Leave from work.

6pm: Arrive home.

6:30pm: Dinner. Missus, strangely enough, still annoyed about the morning scream despite the passage of nearly twelve hours. Dinner is cold and moderately poisoned.

7:00pm: Still apologizing to Missus, trying to smooth things over with now-terrified-of-me kiddos.

7:30pm: Dogs, picking up on the others’ feelings, may be turning on me. Take them for a walk in attempt to win them back over / tire them out so they can’t dig up the yard tomorrow.

Note to self: Walk in the front yard, not the back. Too many trip hazards in the backyard due to last two months of not properly exercising the muddy mutts.

8:00pm: Kiddos in bed, each clutching an improvised weapon as they are concerned I will snap in the middle of the night.

Repeat daily.

By following this simple formula, I will not only be refreshed, productive, able to mow the lawn without taking my life in my hands, and a better father/husband, but I will also set a shining example for my family, friends, and you, dear readers, on how to succeed.

It’s a good plan. Too bad it’s also a load of crap.

Even if I cajole the kiddos into their beds by 8, they won’t be quiet, let alone asleep, by 8:30. The whining at the announcement of bedtime alone has triggered multiple complaints from the neighbors and two, yes two! welfare checks by the police.

On top of that, I’m a night person, so even if I was in bed by 8:30, no way I’m asleep before 11.

And sure as shooting I ain’t getting up at 4:30 (at least, not 4:30 in the AM). Oh, I might wake up for a moment, but then I’m rolling over and going back to sleep. Not to mention the beating the Missus might inflict on me when my alarm wakes her at 4:30.

That’s not the least of the problems with this ‘brilliant’ scheme. I wish I could plan regularly scheduled quality family time, but that’s not how it works. People have bad days, freak out, need to be hugged / restrained, all unscheduled.

And that’s just me!

The rest of the family (and those bloody, digging dogs) will need me for indeterminate periods at random times as well plus help with homework and listening patiently to the terrible things that happened at school and the horrible things the kiddos did when they got home from school not to mention the most minute details about how the latest Minecraft mini-game works and why it’s hilarious kill me now the kiddos alone can go off for hours on video games and [INSERT YOUR DEITY HERE] help me if I’m not paying attention and can’t answer a spot check question failure to do so triggering another hours long lecture about the importance of listening to your kids. Ugh.

So really, I don’t just not have a plan for a successful new year, I can’t possibly come up with one.

Instead, I have a plan to survive the new year:

Do the best I can. Be there for my family. Squeeze in fun and writing and relaxation where I can. Nap in the car at lunch if need be.

And, most importantly, drink a lot of coffee.

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on 3 March 2019 in Angst, Life, Parenting

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Can an 8-Bit Computer Run On Love? Or Is It Just A Desperate Bid For Attention?

Sure it looks cool and then you try to play Crysis on it

I try to show them I love them, but the love is on tape and takes forever to load…

Yesterday evening, the kiddos, most likely in a desperate attempt to get some attention from me, and having a vague understanding of my weird interests, entered my room and demanded I show them a computer restoration video.

Yes, demanded. Little foot stomping, little fist shaking demanded.

It turns out I had just noticed a 3-part Commodore 64C restoration series put out by YouTuber RetroManCave. Each episode was on the order or 20 minutes long, and much to my amazement, the kiddos not only stuck it out, but were genuinely interested.

You should have heard the excitement in their voices after the first video ended and I mentioned there were four more episodes.

And their annoyance when I later had to confess I was wrong and there were only three episodes.

I was tickled pink and moderately alarmed at the same time by their interest in such an arcane subject. But since I got to watch some “cool” videos and they were content to watch with me, it seemed prudent to refrain from rocking the boat about such an unlikely and convenient overlap in interests.

After all, it’s only going to be a few more years before the most I can get out of them is, “Whatever, Dad.” [bedroom door slam]

So imagine my shock this morning when they marched into my bedroom at 8:45am and woke me with loud demands that we buy a Commodore 64 to restore.

Yes, 8:45am. Don’t judge me! I like to sleep in on the weekends… I never get to anymore, but I sure would like to.

More specifically, my crack-o’-dawn awakening demon spawn wanted a C64 that we could retrobrite. They really, really want to retrobrite something.

For those of you not in the know, this is a process where you soak yellowed plastics in a mix of water and hydrogen peroxide for hours and hours in order to remove the yellowing. It’s not that far removed from watching paint peel and/or dry. And my kids wanted it. Bad.

I guess there are worse chemicals for them to crave and/or dabble with.

So bleary-eyed and in a mild state of shock, I started going through eBay listings with the kiddos, followed by a check of the types of TVs and monitors we had in the house to see if any had composite inputs (a couple do).

We didn’t bid on anything. The sheer volume of listings demonstrated, I explained to the kiddos, that there were plenty of the machines on the market and we could take our time to do proper research first.

They wilted. Visibly. And audibly.

Yes, when my kids wilt, they are not subtle or quiet about it. They sent the dogs scattering for cover at the furthest points of the house. Mirrors cracked. Wine glasses shattered. A filling shook loose from my tooth.

But I’m a firm, disciplined parent. I did not give in.

Did I waver? Hell, yes.

But did I give in?

No. I already told you that. Pay attention!

Instead, I partially caved and offered to let them help me “restore” my “vintage” Athlon 3200+ tower computer which has been sitting in my own man cave collecting dust.

Don’t think I’m unaware that some of you do view an Athlon 3200+ system as vintage. Screw you, Millennial scum!

Now there was no retrobriting because I don’t normally stock the necessary chemicals for such an undertaking. I have more than enough lye to dissolve a dead body, but peroxide? I love my hair the color it is.

But despite an inability to retrobrite (and admittedly, there was some need for it), there was still plenty of room for improvement when it came to this computer’s appearance, and the kiddos happily threw themselves into the project.

Well, up to a certain point.

First we took the disassembled casing and hosed all the parts off in the backyard. Both kids were up for that.

Then we used GooGone to remove sticker and tape residue. Still had two volunteers on board for that, though at this point my discipline with regards to photo documenting the process lagged considerably.

Then the off-brand Windex spraying and wipe-down commenced. At this point, we were down to one adult and one kiddo.

But give that one kiddo credit – he stuck with it through the Magic Eraser stage (he is now a born again convert to Magic Eraser). I didn’t lose him until the re-assembly stage started.

It was fun, the kids were really engaged with me and the project (for the most part), and when I put everything back together, the computer still worked. So yay!

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on 11 June 2018 in Life, Parenting

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

It’s my childhood all over again

Exciting news here on the family front! I’m pleased to announce a new addition to the family!

Yes, that’s right, the Missus and I are grandparents!

Now I can see you there, scratching your heads, thinking “One of those little scamps is a father?” and asking aloud, “Hold on just a moment there, fellas, aren’t his kids pre-adolescents?”

To which I respond, “Never underestimate the power of technology!”

That’s right. While there are couples out there occasionally making the news due to their attempts to conceive and carry a baby post-menopause, our family has used the miracles of modern science to not just buck the trend, but reverse it!

So it is with great pride that I present to you Rocky, our grandstone and newest addition to the family!

In a pinch, you can use your grandchild to beat back home intruders.

When the kiddo asked if he could keep him, I stared into those big, sad eyes and couldn’t say no.

It's not abuse! He doesn't need a blanket! He's a rock! A rock with eyes, dammit! Eyes that bore into your soul.

If I rotate the bed 180 degrees, I can pretend the eyes are closed and get some sleep myself.

Yes, with the latest in super glue and googly eye technology, my son was able to conceive (of) and create a pet rock.

I tried wood glue first, with disasterous results. Rocky came down with a bad case of termites.

Despite the abundance of eyes, and no visible mouths present, when I look at this I think “SCREAM!”

He has his father’s eyes. Literally. We bought them at the craft store. Whole bag, $1.99.

But not just any pet rock. As my son said once the glue was dry enough for him to carry Rocky around:

“If I’m his dad, that makes you (to the Missus) his grandmother and you (to me) his grandfather!”

I have to say, the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. Look at those chiseled good looks. He’s got a face that should be carved into a cliff face.

To be honest, neither the Missus nor I are sure we’re ready to be grandparents. I always assumed I had at least another ten years before that became a possibility, let alone a reality. And here we are, still struggling with the responsibilities of being parents: helping with homework, wiping noses, comforting and bandaging, teaching them how to fence.

And now add to that the need to teach them (well, just the one, really) how to be a good parent.

A good single parent. Yikes, how did we screw up raising them to the point that he’s a single dad?

Should the sex talk have come earlier? Would it have done any good given that the sex talk was not going to include anything about pet rocks?

I can feel the panic setting in. What have we done?! How can they be parents already, with so much still to learn?

How can we be grandparents, with so much still to teach?

While do I feel a sudden burning need for Visine?

I only have eyes for you. Seriously. The bag of googly eyes have been designated as spare parts for you, Rocky.

On the other hand, I have the cutest, most adorable, most perfect grandchild ever. I could stare at him for hours (just as he can, and does, stare at me for hours).

Strangely, the sleepless nights have not fallen on the single dad, but instead, somehow, the Missus and I have gotten screwed, yet again, on that aspect of having a newborn in the family.

And don’t get the Missus started on the breastfeeding!

 

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on 18 September 2017 in Life, Parenting

 

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Best Pet at Home

Being as I’m so precise when it comes to homework, I’ve been trying to find ways to make homework time more fun and less drudgery-ish for the kiddos.

So when one kiddo started getting writing assignments, I decided to sit and write with him. And not just my own thing. Oh no. We read the directions together and we follow them together.

That’s correct. I’m doing my kiddo’s homework assignment as well.

First, the instructions introduce the topic and then call for the student to state their opinion clearly. Secondly, the writer must justify that opinion with reasons. Finally, we are also reminded (admonished?) that we must include an introduction and a conclusion, all while using linking words, whatever those are.

The first time we did this was a bit rough, because I made him re-write his composition due to poor planning and profound illegibility issues. I made him re-do the assignment on a fresh piece of paper, my thinking being he’d re-write it, get his thoughts in order, and then transfer the effort neatly onto the homework sheet. Make him write it enough times and maybe, just maybe, he’d be incentivized to do it right the first time.

(Ha!)

My son is a bit lazy, and as we all know, lazy is the father of ingenuity and invention. He decided we should just tape the paper with the writing onto the homework sheet and forgo an additional round of writing.

The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. In fact, it’s resting against the trunk, putting off a lot of body heat and making me uncomfortably warm. Which is to say, I’m lazy too, and not wanting to endure the nuclear hissy fit of wailing and gnashing of teeth that would ensue if I refused, I rolled with his suggestion.

And once done, we read our creations to each other, followed, of course, by a standing ovation (from the dog, who looked a little confused to be standing on its hind legs while I forced its front legs together and apart over and over all the while bellowing, “Bravo! Bravo!”).

No nasty note from the teacher was sent home, so we’ve decided that our approach is OK. Or at least acceptable.

(Though this is the same kiddo who forgets to bring homework, report cards, library books, backpacks, his sibling home from school on a regular basis, so I might be setting myself up for a truly horrific parent/teacher conference in the near future.)

The dog, however, may be sending a different message, as it now hides from us whenever a backpack crosses its line of vision.

Tonight’s session started on the fresh piece of paper. The kiddo entirely skipped the part where he artfully applied vaguely letter-shaped scribbles to the homework sheet. Instead he demanded a clean piece of lined paper and wrote about the Best Pet at Home. And added a drawing of his preferred pet at the bottom for extra credit.

First of all, turtles are eseay to watch.

In my opinion we should have a turtle.

Since I’m not willing to make my child suffer something I am not willing to suffer myself, I cranked out a short paragraph of my own. So here, for your reading pleasure, is my virtuoso effort to describe the best pet at home.

I did not include a picture with mine. I did enlarge the font to more accurately portray my use of large letters to make my treatise look longer. Old school habits die-hard…

Snails are fascinating creatures and well worth consideration as a family pet. First of all, their spiral shells are an excellent hypnosis aid (handy if you have rowdy kids). Secondly, they are very slow, so if they run away, they won’t get far before you find them. Finally, they don’t eat much and so are inexpensive to keep. In conclusion, snails are the perfect pet for a family of limited resources.

Suck it, Herman Melville. Whales make terrible pets, you idiot!

 

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on 8 March 2017 in Art!, Life, Parenting, Writing

 

Tags: , , , , , , ,

You Don’t Have To Be Precise

“You know you don’t have to be precise, Dad.”

My kids say this to me at least four times a week. Reproachfully. The guaranteed times are every evening after they finish their homework (Monday – Thursday nights) and are forced to endure my returning it to them with the mistakes highlighted.

They don’t like this, as they’d prefer that once the homework is done, it’s done.

Actually, they’d prefer not to do the homework at all, but as I constantly remind them, life isn’t fair.

Often the return of this flawed homework is accompanied by much wailing and gnashing of teeth.

They get pretty upset too.

I’m not helped in my push for “getting it right” when one kiddo defiantly informs me that his teacher has said “It doesn’t have to be precise.” This attribution to the teacher may be true, but that doesn’t sway me.

So homework takes about four times as long as it needs, and becomes a dreadful anticipation every evening after dinner.

At first, because they don’t want to do it. Then, once they are doing it, they are stunningly inefficient about it, interrupting each other, stopping to do a song and/or dance, or claiming such a state of dehydration that if they don’t get something to drink (preferably with chocolate in it), they will die. Literally die.

Then, once it’s done and handed to me, Stage 2 begins. Errors are found and pointed out, sheets of paper handed back, and at this point the stomping begins. Angry stomps that, because they are so young and low mass, are almost comical in their lack of resonance and inspiration of dread.

But laughing is a mistake, because then you get the glares. The angry, I-swallowed-a-black-hole-and-now-my-face-is-screwing-up-in-a-rictus-of-indignation-and-unspeakable-pain glares.

Laughing now is a mistake too, no matter how tempting. For they have been dealt a terrible injustice that they are powerless to fight.

Show your work?

Answer correctly?

What poppycock!

But this weekend, one of the kiddos asked me a question while we were driving, and after I answered, he said, “You don’t have to be precise, Dad.”

Apparently I’d gone into too much detail. A failing I am prone to, I do admit. If I can give a long answer or a short answer to any question, I invariably choose the overly detailed response.

But it was strange hearing this admonition on a non-homework night, which got me to thinking.

Do I, in actual fact, have to be precise? (Probably not)

Indeed, is it possible I am too precise? (Yes)

Why am I precise? (Excellent question!)

And I had a sudden, obvious epiphany.

You see, in real life, I earn my paycheck by being an engineer. A metrology engineer.

What’s a metrology engineer?

I measure things. Most of the time, very small things. VERY small things.

(Cue genitalia jokes)

Very small things that have nothing to do with biology.

And it dawned on me, as I was driving, that my job requires me to be precise. It’s sort of the definition of what I do.

I’d often wondered how I had fallen into this particular day job. I’d studied Engineering in school, but if you’d told me, even as late as my senior year in college, that I’d grow up to be a metrology engineer, I would have said, “A what?”

And then sucker-punched you for insulting me.

(As a nerdy engineer-type, the only fighting I do is dirty since in a fair, you-know-it’s-coming fight, it’s far too easy to stop it from coming and then beat the pulp out of me. I prefer my pulp stay where it belongs – inside me.)

Heck, I was 2+ years into my career before the focus narrowed on metrology. Prior to that, it was a lot of stuff which happened to include some metrology.

But then, suddenly, I was the Metrology Engineer. And now, many, many years later, I still am.

And so the epiphany I had was that maybe, just maybe, I didn’t fall into metrology by accident.

Maybe, being a ‘precise’ person by nature, I moved into it deliberately without realizing it.

Which means I was doomed destined for this career all along. That who we are truly does define us, even when we don’t know it.

And that is why I now fervently hope neither of my kids is douchy. Cause given what I think I just figured out, that would be bad.

 
1 Comment

Posted by on 17 January 2017 in Life, Parenting

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

Finding Publisher – A simple guide to getting (your kid) published, even if you really shouldn’t

As an amazingly successful published author, I am recognized as an expert on the subject and often asked how one should go about getting published.

By my kids.

Everyone else? They just tend to roll their eyes when I talk about getting published.

If they even notice I’m talking.

But, in case someone out there is looking for advice on how to get published, here is my simple guide.

How simple, those of you with short attention spans ask worriedly?

Simple enough for a pre-tweener.

As proof for the above statement, I am using my pre-tweener kiddo’s experience following my sage advice to illustrate my approach.

Step 1: Write a book. I can’t help you with this one, except to say form words with letters and sentences with words and paragraphs with sentences. The more pleasant and easier on the eyes the paragraphs, the better.

Don’t forget the spaces between the words and sentences (but NOT between the letters!).

Fortunately, Step 1 turns out to be the easiest part of the process.

Those fat blue drops? Tears of joy I managed to get this project completed to the kiddo's satisfaction.

A surprisingly large number of best-sellers start out as staple-bound, hand-drawn paper books

It smells fine, so these contents must be brilliant! Whew!

Flipping open a homemade book is like slicing the author’s brain in half and seeing the either brilliant or gangrenous contents within.

Step 2: Write a query letter. This involves doing market research so you can argue convince the publisher you’ve selected to print your book that people will actually buy it. I know, this sounds like something the publisher should be doing, but apparently they are lazy.

Don't worry about spelling errors in your query letter. Publishers know you're too busy focusing on the book to waste a lot of time on the query letter.

While the penmanship is not great, this *is* the preferred stationary of editors and publishers everywhere. Also, plaintive requests to print your book on the outside of the envelope always helps improve the odds.

As a bonus, you can falsify your data and the lazy publisher won’t bother to check.

If dealing with a small child, you will most likely be asked what to put in the query letter. Ah, the innocence of youth, asking that age-old question as if there’s an answer. I simply told my spawn to say why someone would want to read their book. A translation of his letter (pictured above) appears in the Details section if you click on it. I think he put it exactly how the rest of us authors wish we could put it.

Now I know, you’re thinking, “Why bother with a query? My book is amaze-balls and I had to buy a home security system just to ensure the manuscript wasn’t stolen after I wrote it. Why not just send the publisher the only copy of my book and be done with it?”

Good question. And for the most part, you’re absolutely correct. But there are two points you overlooked: publishers are lazy (see above) AND they have terrible office security systems. But the sheer awesomeness implied by your query letter will excite the publisher out of their apathetic state and give them time to upgrade (or install) a suitable security system in their office.

Or they might ask you to send the manuscript directly to a bank for safe-keeping in a vault.

This is the true purpose of the otherwise tedious query letter – to learn the appropriate secure address to send your manuscript to.

Step 3: Wait for the offer letter. Don’t worry, you’ll get an enthusiastic and generous response almost immediately. Books are in high demand, and publishers can’t wait to crank out more. As an author, you’re a valuable asset in high demand! Prepare to be on Easy Street (near the intersection of Unbelievably Effin’ Wealthy Lane), living the high life! You probably won’t even have time to run to the nearest corner convenience store to get a slushy. That’s how fast the turnaround time will be!

Publishers are sh*t-eating mo-fos who deserve to die the most outlandish, B horror movie way possible, caption notwithstanding.

You will never receive a form letter from a publisher. Even in the unlikely case of a rejection, they always hand-craft the nicest, most details rejections, nudging you into the right direction should you wish to make some edits and try again. The publisher’s response is always the highlight of my submission process.

Step 4: Upon receiving a request back from the publisher to see your full manuscript, send it. Then sit back and wait for the proof copy to show up on your doorstep, along with the check for an advance so large it dwarfs the GDP of third-world countries like Sweden and Belgium.

It only took ten hours of sweat equity and ~$12 on my part to make a beautiful book that filled my kiddo with the sort of joy one won't experience again until their second marriage.

Not only is the print quality on this CreateSpace proof better than the original, but it’s also slightly larger. And at this age, the kiddo approves of larger.

You haven't experienced true joy until you've seen your kiddo flipping the pages of his/her own published book.

This binding is less prone to rusting and looks WAY better than the stapled version. And the paper feels more solid too. Less likely to dissolve in water.

And wa-la! You are done. You are now a bona fide published author with all the associated bragging rights that come with that.

Yes, you can corner coworkers, guests at parties, Nanowrimo participants in coffee shops, even complete strangers on the street, and sing the praises of your book and your writing prowess, all in the name of encouraging them to buy a copy of your book.

Step 5 (optional): You can also do as the kiddos below did, and flush with pride and confidence, start your next book.

When I say predators, I'm speaking metaphorically. Except when it comes to that dog that keeps eating their homework. I hate that dog.

And here we have two young authors in their native habitat, writing away while their parents watch over them, keeping an eye out for predators that might eat them or tattoo artists who might give them age-inappropriate tattoos.

Environmental destruction aside, this did keep the kiddos quiet for a couple of hours. Two blissful, screaming and punching and crying free hours. (And the kiddos were quiet too.)

Excited kids without a clue as to how the process really works are book-generating machines. There will not be enough trees in the forest to keep up with their paper needs. Thanks for destroying the environment, you jerks. Personally, though, I blame the parents.

FOOTNOTE:

Yes, the kiddo did come to me asking to have his book published, and yes, I did make him write a query letter. I wanted to properly prepare him for the horrid, thankless reality of being a writer.

However, I fear I may have undermined that message with my ‘response’ to the query letter and making a physical copy of the book for him (via CreateSpace).

What do you think? Did I do the kiddo wrong? Keep in mind that said kiddo was jumping, dancing, and running around the house with pure joy when that proof copy found its way into the kiddo’s hands.

For any parents out there thinking this might be fun to do for their kids, here’s the process I followed:

1) Wait for kiddo to write the book and then come to you, demanding it be sent out to a publisher to be printed. This will most likely happen in the middle of reading said kiddo a book s/he likes. In this case, it was Yobgorgle by Daniel Pinkwater.

(Interesting aside: it was another Pinkwater book, one of the Blue Moose series, that put the idea of getting a book published in said kiddo’s head. I think Pinkwater owes me, big time.)

2) Pretend to mail the book to a publisher. If you have qualms about this, but encourage belief in Santa or the Tooth Fairy, then lose the qualms.

3) Spend those precious few spare moments when you aren’t working, the kiddo(s) aren’t around, and the spouse isn’t on the computer to painstakingly disassemble kiddo’s book, scan each page, and then import into a word processing document.

4) Realize you should have downloaded the CreateSpace template for the book (and cover) BEFORE you imported the scanned pages into your document.

5) Realize that the scan resolution you used (600dpi) is way to frickin’ high to generate a manageable word processing document (unless you have a terabyte of RAM and an OS that can address all of it).

6) Resize the images down to something manageable.

7) Export your kiddo’s book to PDF format if using CreateSpace. This is a CreateSpace requirement. Modern versions of both Word and LibreOffice have an Export to PDF option.

7) Discover that your kiddo’s six page book isn’t long enough for the 24 page minimum required by CreateSpace. Get creative. I separated pictures from text, put them on opposite pages. I also wrote crazy author, illustrator, and editor bios, and manufactured some ‘deleted’ scenes.

8) Upload your book to CreateSpace. Wait an hour for the upload because you didn’t downsize the images enough. Then realize you need a proper cover with something to go on the back of the book. Wait for the panic attack to subside and slap something together. Unless your kiddo is in high school, they aren’t going to care that much about the back of the book.

If they are in high school, put something jaded and ironic on the back.

Oh yeah, and download the cover template BEFORE creating the cover. You will need your favorite PDF-reading image editor. I use Gimp 2, but Photoshop probably works as well. You will be using multiple layers, with the cover template as the bottom-most layer. Ultimately, nothing from the template should be visible in the final image.

Save two versions of the cover – one in the native format that preserves all the layers, and one that is a flattened PDF.

If your image editor won’t let you save/export as a PDF, save as a normal image and then open that image with something that does allow such an export. I use the free program Irfanview.

9) Get an email back from CreateSpace within 24 hours stating that your manuscript and/or cover has formatting problems. Don’t open this email when your kiddo(s) are around. Wait until they are somewhere they can’t hear you swearing. Then do your best to understand what the cryptically described issues are and fix them. Then upload everything again.

If you didn’t save a layer-preserving version of your cover, this is the point where you decide the whole thing is pointless and the kiddo(s) should be sold off for medical experimentation. Why? Because you’ll have to start the cover from scratch.

10) Step 9 will most likely happen several times before success is yours. Once it is, order the proof copy. CreateSpace allows you to preview the book online as well – do that first to make sure everything looks right. I spend about $4.50 for the 24-page book and about $6.50 on the cheapest shipping rate. Despite the predicted delivery date, I received the proof copy in three days. Apparently no one sends mail any more, so the post office has nothing better to do than rush the few packages they do get to my house.

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on 5 June 2016 in NaNoWriMo, Parenting, Writing

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

 
%d bloggers like this: