What my printer ate for dinner

By Jessica Albon

Printers are my life-long enemy (desktop printers). When I’d have a school deadline and tried to print a paper the night before, the printer would start spewing error messages and  blinking red lights. (Fortunately, my brother is the “Printer Whisperer” and could always be counted on to rescue me in the morning.)

Nowadays, this means that the gorgeous laser Xerox that cost a pretty penny sits in my office waiting for a visit from my brother (who now lives on the opposite coast) because after three years of persnickety behavior, it decided to make things official and stop working last December. Right in the middle of  a big printing job.

Ordinarily, I don’t print much at the office–it’s easier to just send it out, especially given my track record. But, every so often, I get an idea for a project that leaves me babysitting the printer one sheet at a time. Like the current project (a typewritten letter that requires by-hand personalization because when you scan in a typewritten document, you have an image which is tricky to mail merge).

So, when my desktop HP decided to start spitting out gray text instead of black (new cartridge, before you ask), my first thought was that I clearly should have planned better and had a backup of one sort or another.

But then I realized that that’s not what hardware chaos means (at least not in my life). It means I’m playing a lot bigger than before, have stepped up my game (and may need to purchase some new equipment) and the ensuing jumble is having its way with the printers in my life.

So, after sitting quietly for a few minutes (it was that or throw the printer out the window), I remembered that the scanner/printer combo has fresh ink and does a really lovely job with text. And I’m back in business.

Earlier this week, Dave Navarro wrote about how life isn’t supposed to be easy (sadly, he doesn’t post his newsletters online, so that’s a link to the site where you can subscribe to get next week’s issue). We think because we’re grown ups and we’ve learned a lot that if we properly prepare, if it’s what we’re meant to be doing, it’ll flow easily from start to finish. And that was exactly what I thought when the printer was uncooperative–if I’d planned better this wouldn’t have happened… oh woe is me! But then I realized: growth is hard. Some days, really, really hard. Being bigger than you were before, doing things differently, stepping out in a new way: Hard.

And, sometimes that means your printer’s going to eat your project for dinner. 😉