Missing a Deadline



While traveling away from home, deadlines are left behind not packed in the suitcase. If only I could have avoided the electronic age of mishaps while in Las Vegas this past week.

Murphy’s Law:

“Anything that can go wrong will do wrong.”

Okay, it wasn’t that bad. The house could have burned down or been robbed. My cats could have been slain in the street by a speeding car.

Instead, the electronic age crucified my cozy bubble of retreat with three nails.

Nail One: Un-synced Data

About halfway to the airport, I realized this first one. I had not synced my iPad files with my computer.

Not a big deal, right? Sure, as long as I didn’t make any changes to existing documents on my iPad while on vacation. If I did, the software would notice and give me some crazy error message.

Is it perfectly fine to make changes on the computer but not the iPad? Actually, if you make changes to either of them without re-syncing the devices, Mr. Error Message flashes the red exclamation point.

Did I need any other excuse not to work on my writing projects while on vacation? I’m pretty sure you can surmise the answer.

Nail Two: Lost Files

Imagine sitting by the pool, warm sunshine kisses your skin and a desert wind ruffles your hair. Even with sunglasses on, you’re squinting against the brightness. After all, you may as well be a mole; the sun hasn’t made much of an appearance for six weeks or more.

“I’ll check my email before I settle in to read that Brandon Sanderson novel,” you think. Your index finger taps the mail icon and you begin the process of deleting emails.

A mail from the agent you submitted a query and five pages to surprises you. Yes, you paid good money for a critique, but the agent has six more days before their self-imposed deadline.

A quick scan of the mail is not enough. Clouds settle over the sun and a tight fist clenches your stomach. You read it again – hoping it doesn’t say what your brain understood during the speed glance.

She didn’t get the pages. Perhaps they were lost in cyberspace. Could you please resend them?

I would love to. Small problem: I’m a thousand miles away from my computer and those saved files. I took care of all that before I left. Blood pressure rises. Pounding begins behind the squinting eyes.

Thankfully, I sent this using my gmail account and the outgoing mail is automatically saved. With the help of my husband (since some features refuse to work on my iPad, don’t ask me why), I find the previously sent mail, copy and paste it into the reply.

Crisis diverted. (In unrelated news, my credit card was also on hold until I logged in and authorized my recent shopping trip. The fraud department is watching my back again.)

Nail Three: Missed Payments a.k.a. What’s My Password?

At least I was just chilling in the hotel room when I checked my email for the final bad news alert. No need to jinx the poolside, you know?

This message was syrupy and chipper. My gag reflex kicked in before I could stop it. “We know things come up and your payment slipped your mind.”

Sallie Mae. She’s such a Pollyanna.

Yes ma’am, I thought about scheduling my student loan payment several times. At my age, my brain equates that to completing the task. Apparently, I still don’t have those telekinetic skills I requested.

I try to log in. I don’t even know my user name and therefore can’t request my password. The handy cheat sheet containing this information my brain locks away in an inaccessible location? At home.

Not helpful. I guess Sallie will wait a few more days for the missed payment.

All these electronic shortcuts to make life easier added two cups of stress to my four days of rest and relaxation. Isn’t there something wrong with this picture?

Have you had any similar events in your life? What sort of unexpected news stalked you on vacation?

What do you think? Add to the discussion here.