By Mike Wilcox
If it could go wrong it did last week. At the top of the list was the Allegan server. The 20-plus-year-old piece of archaic equipment which services three weekly newspapers, of which I am publisher, decided its time was over. It went kaput and because of its age there is no replacement.
That meant circulation, invoicing and bookkeeping done by that system now must be done essentially by hand. Of course it crashed at the end of the month when invoicing and bookkeeping take place.
It wasn’t in that office this past weekend, as key employees and I worked overtime to figure out how to do tasks that had been automated for dozens of years.
On a personal note, I received a frantic call from my wife about one of her greatest fears: a snake in the pool. I was in Michigan and she was in Alabama, so there wasn’t much I could do to help her.
I suggested she call our pool guy. She did and five hours later the snake was fished out. She and our three dogs would not venture out of the house during that time with a killer snake nearby.
Wait, there’s more. My lifeline for bookkeeping and staying in touch with newspapers I’m affiliated with is LogMeIn. It allows me to access everything from my mainframe computer in Clare.
As I was pacing back and forth over the server being down, LogMeIn decided it was not going to work. I lost several hours of work because I couldn’t access anything through LogMeIn. Finally we got it back up the next day.
My son and I were staying at my Allegan apartment while all these problems were going on. The weather in Michigan had finally broken and it was 90 degrees and sunny. The apartment was just as hot because our air conditioning decided not to work.
There we were in a one-bedroom apartment with windows nailed shut, trying to sleep in 85-degree heat. Sleepless nights on top of malfunctioning technology made for a crabby boss.
At the same time the air conditioning in my car also was nonexistent. When it came time to make the 2½-hour trip from Clare to Allegan, my son and I decided we would create our own cool air by putting down the convertible top.
It worked except when we went to put it up after our arrival. Then it wouldn’t cooperate. The ragtop was stuck in the down position.
We decided to leave it that way overnight, hoping clearer heads would prevail in the morning. That’s what happened, as my son googled the problem and lickity-split, the top went up.
In the midst of it all I got a call from one of the newspaper’s editors declaring he was missing emails for a good 18-hours. Apparently Google was messing up, and he was seeking help on what to do.
This had happened to me at my Alabama location a month ago, and it had been quite a mess. Miraculously, my emails came back a couple days later — and his did too. I felt bad because I was inundated with bigger problems and told the editor he needed to deal with it on his own.
I won’t go in to the myriad of problems I was having with renters. I had vowed a long time ago I would no longer rent anything, but here I was listening to this complaint and that, all the while wondering when I was going to get paid.
While all this is going on a key sales representative told me she was quitting without notice.
For a guy who has been trying to cut back on his work schedule and enjoy life more, I am now doing just the opposite. I so look forward to the Fourth of July weekend. Maybe then I can take a break.