By now, I hope you’ve seen our Effingham Living magazine. I’ve been involved in some fairly labor intensive projects before — some that turned out good, some that turned out great and some that simply just turned out.
This is the first time we’ve tried something like this, and we wanted to do something different, something better, than what has been done before. We also managed to pack in about six weeks’ worth of work in about six days.
Due to circumstances beyond our control, we had to summon some help from the bullpen. We had to beg, plead and borrow from our corporate tech department. Normally, they’re the ones who keep our computers running. Thankfully, one of them was also a very skilled designer, someone I had worked with before in my days in Hinesville.
Melissa — Mel to those who know her — and I had done our share of such special projects before together, from football tabs to Newcomers Guides to welcome home sections for the 3rd Infantry Division. But neither one of us knew nothin’ about birthin’ no magazine.
So some late nights ensued as she put together the bits and pieces. As the deadline drew near, our publisher, Karen Tanksley, and our big boss, Joe McGlamery, our regional vice president, were right there, too. Now, ordinarily, having your bosses around, always at the elbow, is an uncomfortable feeling.
But Mr. Joe bought lunch — again and again and again. I’ve also known him and worked for him for most of the last 20 years anyway.
To finish the magazine, it became not a sprint nor a marathon but more of a sprint of a marathon. We spent 40-plus hours straight at the office, mostly right there at the table and the makeshift area where Mel was putting on the finishing touches.
In the midst of this, I had to go to a county commission meeting. I wanted to at least be present for the first part, when the commissioners met with the local legislative delegation.
Being at work during a 40-hour stretch means a lot of things, especially not being able to — change clothes, take a shower, brush your teeth, wash your hair, etc. OK, granted, washing my hair — as you can see from my mugshot — does not take very long. A bottle of shampoo can last me a good long time.
But when your hair, even as little as is on my head, feels like the sound a bottle of Sprite makes when it’s first opened, you want to get to the Head and Shoulders pronto.
While in that commissioners-lawmakers meeting, I fought off the overwhelming urge to close my eyes and take a nap, and it had nothing to do with listening to politicians talk, either. As I jotted my notes, I thought to myself, “You know, people look at my notes and handwriting and wonder how I can understand my handwriting. Right now, I can’t even understand it, and I’m the one writing these notes.”
Let me put it to you this way — those guys from the show “NUMB3RS” couldn’t decipher my notes. But I can. And I was writing stuff down and wondering just what in the world I was writing down and praying I could make sense out of it when I got back to the office.
Meanwhile, we had a steady diet of Cokes and other drinks, which for me were cherry limeades. By the time for dinner on the final night of working on the magazine, and Mr. Joe was offering to buy again, I was so full on Cokes and cherry limeades I turned away a free meal. Trust me, that never, ever happens, and no self-respecting journalist ever declines free eats. But for this one time, I did.
Anyway, the magazine is out, and if you like it, it’s all because of Mel and her skills, if there’s something wrong, blame me. But we hope you enjoy it and now our challenge is to do even better next time around.
I just hope it doesn’t take putting one week into one day to do it.