Sunday, February 24, 2008

Another loooong day

(End of the brochure saga - see yesterday's post for the first part)

I leave the house at 8:30 foolishly thinking that it would only take me 30 minutes to get to the printer. At 9, I'm not even halfway there. Turning on the radio, we learn that they decided to fix a portion of the highway. We make a detour and arrive at the printer at 10 am.

The person in charge explains that someone arrived at 9:30 am with a rush job for the printing of 300 pages of a 2-page flyer. Thinking it was me, they accepted the job. I can't blame them, their conversation went:

Printer guy: Were you the one who called last night?

Client: I'm not sure, my boss just sent me here to day and instructed me to tell you that I need the brochures tonight.

Printer guy: How many copies do you need?

Client: 300.

Printer guy: And your boss' name is?

Client: Happy.

Her boss' name is Happy. It does sound like Abie! Before I faint, he explains that they still can print my brochures. But it will take more time as I'll have to be queued after Happy's printing job. Joey, the printer guy, promises to call me when the job is done.

Since their office is now 1.5 hours away from home, I go to the nearby mall to shop. Luckily, I have a gift certificate that allows me to purchase turtleneck sweaters for my Tokyo trip. To breathe color in an otherwise boring lawyer's stiff suit - I get 3 solid color ones in red, purple and teal. I walk around and see an back overcoat at 70% off, I grab one as well. I convince myself that seeing the coat was a heavenly sign - you really don't see much winter clothing in a country where the weather never drops below 18 degrees Celsius.

For lunch, I order a sandwich and potato salad combo and gobble it up while I eat. A former officemate sees me and we chat. I mention going to Tokyo and she suggests that I buy some thick stockings. Since stockings were cheap, I head to the nearby department store to get some. As I walk towards the ladies accessories section, I notice some luggages on sale. I fall in love with a blue polycarbonate hand-carry that only costs $15. It was the only remaining stock so I lug it around the store.

The brochures aren't ready at 3:30 PM so I call up G and ask her to meet me at the designers' place at 4:30 PM. I realize that I left her shoes at home so I call home and ask my mother-in-law to bring it. Mama's excited to see the gown, too (she's paying for it!)

The gown is beautiful! It still needed some adjustments, though. Mama leaves G and I at the shop to wait for the gown. They give us a perfect-fitting gown at 5:30 PM. At the same time, the printer calls to tell me that the brochures will be ready at 7:30 PM. I decide to go to the grocery. I finish at 7 PM and arrive at the printers by 8 PM. Only 199 copies of the brochure were there! They find out that there are still 111 copies left with the other cutter (They had to split the jobs because one supplier cannot cut and fold all 300 copies in an hour.) I read a book while they fetch the rest of the brochures from the cutters.

Finally, at 9 PM, which is literally, at the end of my day, I see all 300 copies of the brochures printed, cut and folded. I was so happy to see them that I just wanted to use several copies to wallpaper my office workspace!

It takes me 45 minutes to get home (traffic has lessened as it was already late.) I forget about the brochures as soon as I put them in my suitcase. Now, it's time to pack for Tokyo!

Saturday, February 23, 2008

One long day - first post of the Brochure Saga

I finally got my Japan visa, and I got it in the afternoon of the last working day before my flight! I was so worried about it yesterday that I catch myself literally holding my breath every so often.

And when I saw that everything was in order (my name, gender, passport details, among other things), I was finally able to breathe properly. As I walked back to my work area, I think of how I'll fit my laptop and my camera on in my hand carry.

Two minutes later, I check my email and hyperventilate. The chairman of our practice group wants 300 copies of our Asia-Pacific brochure by Wednesday morning next week. The brochure doesn't even exist! It consists of a flyer and a contact card. I email both to our Manila-based global marketing department and beg them into completing the request in an hour. In the meantime, I communicate with Mr. Chairman trough email:

Me: I'm having the brochure formatted but even if we finish the formatting today, I doubt if we have time to print the brochures and ship them to Tokyo in time - the Hong Kong and Manila printers require 3 working days, the ones from Sydney require 2

Mr. Chairman: find one in Tokyo.

At 5 PM Tokyo time on a freaking Friday! I email the marketing department at our Hong Kong office and they efficiently email me the contact details of their printer. The Tokyo printer does not reply to my email nor answer my call. I decide to print in Manila.

I send out a desperate email to all my e-groups. While waiting for a reply, I give large printing companies a ring. They're either too busy to take the job or they charge an exhorbitant amount and insist on being paid in cash or through company check. At 6 PM, I talk to our auditor, explain my situation and ask for a company check. I take 2 check signatories hostage while the auditor starts the process of releasing the check. One of the signatories insists on leaving early (she has a karaoke party to attend) and gives me cash instead (I love her!). I call up one of the printers and email the printable pdf file. They apologize and say that the cost is actually double than what they originally quoted. Half of my hair falls out. I hear choking sounds and realize that I'm making them.

I dream of strangling the marketing person in charge of Asia-Pacific. Producing brochures is her job. Except that she said she was busy and said no. The chairman accepted her "no" (and not mine) because she looks like a doll with her big charming eyes. I have efficient-looking chinky eyes.

At this point, I feel like I'm the employee in the Devil-wears-Prada without the perks (no free clothes and glam parties!)

I start calling printers I haven't heard of, plus the suggestions I get from my e-groups. A fellow photo-hobbyist who used to work for a printer kindly explains that it is not possible to find a "rush" offset printer, as color separation alone would take at least a day and I needed my brochures overnight. Digital printers can do the job but would charge an arm, a leg and maybe a whole head. He gives contact details for a digital printer. I call and almost cry when they agree to print my brochures. Unfortunately, their fee is a little higher than the cash that was given me.

I pack my stuff and start to leave the office at 8:30 PM. As I lock my drawer, my eyes fall on the yellow pages and I notice an ad saying that they print on demand. With my bag on my left hand, I dial their number with my right hand. They can do the job at a lower price as long as I bring a CD of the pdf file to their office at 9AM. On a Saturday morning.

I travel an hour to get home where hubby feeds me roasted duck and rice (he normally doesn't do this but he knows I was having a crappy day.) I want orange juice with vodka but we're out of orange juice (I remember that I was supposed to pass by the grocery before going home!) I go to bed instead, but jump out a few minutes later because I want to take a photo! I go back to bed a few minutes later and demand a hug. I fall asleep as soon as hubby wraps his arms around me.

6 hours later, I'm up and I'm preparing to go to the printer at 8:30 AM. (Of course, I have to post my photo first.) I am now feeling better but I am still worried about the printing of my brochures.

[to be continued - see next post!]

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Shoe Shopping

It's prom season in the Philippines!

With my last-minute business trip to Tokyo, I had to rush G into fitting her gown and buying her accessories. She'll be attending her prom on the day that I arrive! We were lucky that she was able to have her fitting last Wednesday, so all we have to get her ready was to buy her shoes and bag.

I picked her up from school and after 2 hours of shopping, we found a gorgeous pair that's both sexy and comfie!

Of course, I wasn't able to resist buying a pair of low-heeled knee-high leather boots. I justified the purchase by saying that a person living in a tropical county couldn't possibly survive in Tokyo's 3 degree weather without warm shoes.

(For my new blogmates, G is my husband's 16-year old daughter)

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

My Daily Dose

Heidi of DesignerDigitals started a photo journal where she challenged herself to post a daily photo on her blog for 30 days, and she's inviting everyone to join her! Since I promised myself that I wouldn't let the money I spent on my camera and lenses go to waste, I have decided to join her challenge.

A photo a day. 30 days.

Wish me luck!

Tuesday, February 12, 2008


Our office recently leased a floor at Net Cube and they needed photos to decorate the walls. I submitted several and they picked 2 of them! These 2 pictures now occupy half of an office wall! Woohoo!

I'm going to take pictures of our office wall later. In the meantime, here are the pictures that they chose:

Shanghai kid - I just found the little boy so cute I had to take a picture

Venice at dusk - taken using my point and shoot! I'm a bit surprised that this was chosen though, I find it a bit too dark.