Was it fate or coincidence?
On a recent morning – Tuesday, March 29 to be exact – I was getting ready for work and saw my ‘Stuck in the Upside Down’ shirt that alludes to the popular ‘Stranger Things’ show. Yes, I am a fan and am looking forward to Season 4, scheduled to arrive at the end of May.
It was a shirt I hadn’t worn in some time and since Tuesday is deadline day for both Oakdale and Riverbank after we complete Escalon on Mondays, sometimes it definitely feels as though I am in the upside down, not knowing which way is up.
And as fate or coincidence would have it, this particular Tuesday saw a power line just down the street from our office in Oakdale choose to snap at a very inopportune time. Just as I was really getting into gear for the day, our busiest of the week.
Then the upside down intervened and the power was out. No phone. No computer. No coffee maker. And on Tuesdays, that’s vital. The coffee maker, I mean. Also, with no power there’s no internet.
So, with the office in quiet solitude, we locked up, put a note on the door and headed home. The good news is I wasn’t totally cut off from the outside world. My home computer can connect to my work email, I have access to what we call our ‘servers’ that allow the layout/design people in Manteca and I to send pages back and forth, etc.
The only problem this time was that my work computer had prompted me a couple of days before to change my password, as it recommends every few months. I had done that, but my computer at home apparently didn’t know it. Therefore, it would not allow me to connect to the servers with my old password because I had changed it at work and it wouldn’t let me use that new one with my home computer because it said it was already in use.
Since I am virtually helpless with computers, I quickly got on the phone with our company computer expert and – long story short – he helped me get the home computer issue resolved.
However, since the power was out at the office, there was a disconnect and I couldn’t bring up the ‘Editorial’ drive where I normally send things to from my home computer so it is there at work when I get to the office.
Are you following all this?
Instead, I ended up having to write some stories, download some photos and other stories sent in by the reporters, proofread them, then use my personal email to send them to my work email.
It was a time consuming work around.
The power company had given us an estimate of 11:30 a.m. to be back in business; they were going to call and let us know. When none of us had heard by about 1:15 p.m., I headed back to the office to see what might be going on down the street in terms of power line repair.
There were no work trucks anywhere around and, as I drove by our office, a light was on in the front.
I parked and was able to confirm with a resident in the area that the power had been restored within the last five minutes or so.
Which got me starting my busiest work day at about 1:30 p.m. Yes, I got some things done at home but the roundabout way of doing it just kind of jumbled me up, truly putting me in the upside down. And, to make matters worse, though the internet and phones came back, the outage had messed with our server and even though I could see everything Manteca folks were sending my way, they could not see a thing that I dropped in to the ‘Centralized Data’ server for them; no stories, no photos, no page layouts … zip.
We reassessed and used a drop box – again, a little more cumbersome but it ultimately got the job done, though well past the normal deadline.
I don’t think I’ll wear that shirt again for quite a while … it hopefully won’t wreak havoc if it’s just hanging in my closet.
Marg Jackson is editor of The Oakdale Leader, The Escalon Times and The Riverbank News. She may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 209-847-3021.