Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Cleaning Up

I can’t believe it’s been so long since I’ve posted, but it’s simply a reflection of how ridiculously busy I’ve been at work and home. So here are a few of my thoughts over the past (eek!) two weeks.

Not what I expected: I flew for the first time post-diabetes last week. I have flown since Sept. 11, but not much compared to how much I used to fly. I asked my fellow diabetic mommies what I needed to be prepared for in terms of going through security with needles, took out plenty of breastmilk from the freezer, and tried to think of anything that would fall into Murphy’s Law.

I made it through security on the way out with no issues. I was happy to not have had to explain why I was carrying syringes with me. On the way home, though, as I stuck the breastpump through the security x-ray, the man looking at the monitor said: “Ma’am is this a C4 pack?” I swear he said C4. And I thought, but of course, because I always travel with explosives. I think the mere mention of the word “breast” set this poor old man off because he quickly sent me on my way.

The Lesson: I’ve never tested well. Especially not standardized tests. I will grudgingly admit to earning a 720 combined on my SATs and a 19 and a 21 on the ACTs. Despite those terribly awful scores, I was a very good student; my GPA climbed each semester in high school and college. However, as I mentioned, I’ve never tested well.

We made this point very, very clear to all of the college counselors we met with. My high school counselor got a special call from Butler University telling me I had made it in thanks to my written essay, and I’m sure in part to our persuasiveness and explanation of poor testing skills.

So, several weeks ago, after sending a mass mailing to publishers in Missouri looking for freelance copy editing and proofreading work, I got a bite. I was thrilled! I was to go to an FTP site and take, you guessed it, a proofreading test. I really thought nothing of it. I was certain I would ace it. I was so certain, in fact, that it was quite a blow to my ego when I barely got 83% on the test. I could have kicked myself. If I averaged 83% at my job as a copy editor and proofreader, there’s no way I would still be employed here. But these tests are designed to make you fail. They’re designed to find out where your weakness is. Mine is taking tests.

I took a shot in the dark and asked the company to give me a second chance, going so far as to tell them to send me their toughest, nastiest challenge just so I could prove to them that I was better than a B-. After several agonizing days, the answer was no. That, coupled with spelling “editor” wrong on my address labels for that entire mailing, sent me a clear message: No. 1, stress is really no good for me; and No. 2, even the best of us makes mistakes, so I must pay better attention even when I think something’s a cinch.


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