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      Monday, February 07, 2022

06:54 AM - 02/07/2022

The topic: Where does the time go?


It's kind of hard to quantify or categorize the time sucks in my life. One of them is my Epson R1900 printer. If it worked as it was supposed to, there'd be no problem. But there have been modifications made. This is my second R1900.

I'm pretty sure the printhead blew out on my first one back in July, 2020. I was printing out pictures of Ike on large format photo paper and all of a sudden, there was a definite blue tinge to the photos.  (Time out, Wendy is demanding attention.  Okay, she's done.) Over a month trying to fix the problem and nothing worked. I ordered all sorts of nozzle cleaners, thinking it was just a clogged nozzle and money out the window, it wasn't.  I tried different settings on the computer but the colors just never came out right again.

I ended up getting another R1900 on eBay. I had also ordered replacement ink tanks from a seller on Ali Baba. The company here in the US told me they were no longer available here. Great. So, I got them from China. It took a couple of months before we got around to getting the replacement printer set up. Physical modifications had to be made so that I could run the continuous ink system. For the ribbons that carry the ink to fit and holes in the case for the waste ink container. Without a waste ink system, the ink just builds up in the pad in the bottom of the printer and will eventually kill the printer. I also switched out the waste ink container with a milk carton. Brian drilled holes in the top of the cap, one for the tubing, one for air.

Now, with our office setup and where my printer is, something happens with the ink tanks that isn't pleasant. The sun will hit them just right and heat up the ink. And it will actually start to flow and the tanks end up empty.  All ink is now mixed in the waste container.  It's a hassle to fix, I have to refill the containers and use a syringe to pull the air out of the little cartridges in the printer and have the ink flow back in to them.  It hasn't happened that often because I had paper with foil on it blocking the sun's rays.  When I changed out the printers, I neglected to redo the block and just used a large piece of paper. Obviously, that's not going to work. Taking care of this problem is really not my most fun thing in the world to do. Last weekend, I refilled the tanks. Saturday morning, they were completely empty.

Which brings me to where the time goes. The project for the morning, a calendar for Brian, nothing fancy, had to be put off until I got this taken care of.

The milk carton was half full of old ink. I emptied it. I refilled the tanks. I pulled the ink through the ribbons into the cartridges. I printed out the sheets of nozzle checks, to make sure the ink was flowing freely. It was not. Clean cycles. Nozzle checks. Clean cycles. Nozzle checks.  It took a few hours until the printer was once again ready to print. Thank goodness.

Now, this calendar I print out is a yearly calendar with just the weeks. I made this because people who ordered months ago would like to know how far along their order it. Brian quotes a certain amount of weeks when they place their order, but life happens and the time to the manufacture of their product gets longer. After seeing him trying to count weeks with just a wall calendar, pulling up the pages to go to the next month, I came up with this. It's a plugin for Word and Excel, by the name of WinCalendar. It's been a big help to him. I print it out on 13" x 19" cardstock paper. This is an important detail for the remainder of this story about lost time.

Last week, Brian mentioned needing a calendar that had more than just eighty weeks on it. Otherwise, I'd be making a new calendar as he closed out a month. I figured I'd make a calendar with maybe about a hundred and fifty weeks. I'd use two pages and tape them together. Sounds like a plan, right?  And it would have been if I hadn't made one stupid mistake.

I had the calendar up in Microsoft Word. I had all of the holidays listed out, having unbolded the names from the default settings. I had the margins set to super thin, trying to take advantage of the paper size. They were wrong. Every frigging time I reset the margins and printed out the calendar, Saturday was cut off. It was so frustrating! I spent way too much time trying to get this thing formatted properly.  I did make a mental note at one point about the printer. I was sure it printed 13" paper, no wider. For some reason, I had to move the guide to the right about an inch. So, gee, maybe I've been thinking about this all wrong all these years, that maybe this printer actually prints 14" wide. I wondered if I could find paper that size. (Do you see where I'm going with this?)

I got a tape measure out and measured the current working calendar that was hanging on the wall. Yeah, 13" x 19". I couldn't for the life of me figure out where I was going wrong. I was getting close to serious frustration tears.

Then, hours after I started, I held one of the pages that I'd been printing that day up the the calendar on the wall.

Not the same size.

The paper I was trying to print out a 13" x 19" graphic, was only 12" x 18".

Yeah, I swore. I swore a lot.

I checked my paper stash and got the right sized paper. The first print was light, I had to do another head cleaning (after the nozzle check) and the next calendar was perfect.  This time I made two calendars, with one month overlapping. I cut out part of the bottom part, taped it over the top and now there is a one hundred- and forty-two-week calendar hanging on the wall. The little strip hanging over the edge is a piece of the too light calendar that I've numbered from 0 - 50. Now all Brian will have to do to see how far out an order is from the time it was placed was put the 0 on the date the order was placed and go to the current date on the long calendar and match up with the number on the strip. A whole lot easier than counting each week.

Something that should have taken less than an hour took the entire morning. This is where the time goes. I'm always thankful for the projects that don't have issues. 

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lisaviolet is sixty something, married with no kids, takes care of lots of cats, likes taking photographs, loves Southern California weather and spends altogether too much time avoiding her responsibilities.

In her spare time, she makes pretty things to sell in her store.

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