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Doilies, Bagel Blankets and Princess Lace

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Doilies, Bagel Blankets and Princess Lace. That has been my life over the past couple of weeks. Sometimes web design can be glamorous. As designers we have the ability to create great-looking sites, to watch our sites win awards and to really push the boundaries of good design. We sometimes have people pat us on the back and congratulate us for a good site. It can be quite gratifying. But then there are other times when we spend endless hours doing the boring but necessary behind-the-scenes drudgery. You can probably guess which of those has been my focus this week.

Last week I created a database that will house almost 1000 items. This week I have been adding those items to the database…one-by-one. I am the master at avoiding work (as evidenced by my marks in college), but I have found no way to get around the inescapable fact that these items can only be added one at a time – one at a time multiplied by almost one thousand. There is nothing glamorous about this. It is some of the most boring work I have ever had to do. The rough sequence of my work goes something like this:

Right-click, Save as, Enter, Control-C, Alt-Tab, Control-V, Control-C, Control-V, Alt-Tab, Control-C, Alt-Tab, Control-V, Enter.

I’ve been doing that for four days straight. The complete process takes about one and a half minutes per item, but then there is always extra work between items or groups of items. This catalog is setup in such a way that it has categories and then endless levels of subcategories, often with only one item in each subcategory. I can literally feel my brain cells dying as I do this work. They are so bored they are just giving up on life altogether.

Now this might not be so bad if I was adding exciting and interesting products to a database. If these items were Christian books or CDs or some other items that interested me, it might not be so bad. But alas, they are not. They are doilies, bagel blankets, hot dog wrappers, coasters, tableclothes, placemats and napkins. Lots of napkins. Frankly I am amazed at just how many different types of napkin are available to the consumer these days. And if the hundreds of available styes are not enough, you can always have your own custom made for a reasonable surcharge. And placemats! Who knew there were so many placemats in the world. Honestly, many of these products make me distinctly uncomfortable. They have names like Moonlight Moonbright, Gilded Pears and Rose Blossom. They are causing me to get just a little bit too much in touch with my feminine side. Next thing you know I’ll be hosting an interior decor show on TLC called Reformed Eye For The Arminian Guy. “Your Thanksgiving Dinner is just predestined to have Gilded Pear napkins with a Rose Blossom centerpiece!”

Of course, despite all of my complaints I am thankful to have the work and know that any work, even if it is the type of work that could as easily be done by barely-trained mentally-challenged monkeys, is significantly better than no work at all. However, I’m not sure if I should be gratified or terrified that my client hinted that when this project is complete there is another whole product line she may want moved to a similar database. Apparently this product line is even bigger. That means another one thousand or more repetitions of:

Right-click, Save as, Enter, Control-C, Alt-Tab, Control-V, Control-C, Control-V, Alt-Tab, Control-C, Alt-Tab, Control-V, Enter.

You know, this wouldn’t even be so bad if I didn’t suffer from carpal tunnel syndrome. Actually, I went to a specialist a while back and she told me I don’t actually have full-blown carpal tunnel but rather have some ligament damage in my arms that is caused by repetitive motion. She was able to determine this by hooking me up to some evil contraption that looked like it would have been at home in an Iraqi Olympic Village torture chamber. Having placed diodes and monitors all up and down my arms she proceeded to repeatedly shock me with it. I thought she was just having fun at my expense, but she assured me that by simultaneously shocking me and monitoring my nerves she could determine if I had carpal tunnel. Lo and behold I do not. I guess I should have had her tell this to my arms as they seem to be quite convinced that they do.

In all seriousness, I am truly thankful to have work. It has been nearly three years since I got laid off one time too many and decided to begin my own company, figuring that at least that way if I had to get laid off again I could give myself a fair severance package. You can read the story here if you care to hear about how I came to be self-employed. In those three years God has taken awfully good care of us and I give Him thanks for whatever kind of work he brings my way…even when it involves Rose Blossoms and Pretty Petals.

Right-click, Save as, Enter, Control-C, Alt-Tab, Control-V, Control-C, Control-V, Alt-Tab, Control-C, Alt-Tab, Control-V, Enter.

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