It's OVER (sob)!
My love affair with the Commerce Bank Penny Arcade machine, that is. It sounded so good on paper, and my first experience with it WAS good, hearing the clickety-clack of the coins rattling down efficiently, and getting the receipt and then paper money.
Today I went back with more coins. Someone was at the machine I used yesterday, so I went to the other one, near the door. This was instantly less comfortable as hot, humid air coming through the open door from outside interfered with the refreshing, cool air conditioning. I started pouring in the coins, estimated the total at $17, and continued throwing in coins. The machine repeatedly asked if I wanted to continue, and I was pressing MORE and GO multiple times. In the middle of this, it asked for my estimate again, and I didn't have a good feeling. When I finished and pressed END, it told me I hadn't put in any coins! Uh-oh.
I told the manager who got a teller who opened the machine (immediately removing all intrigue and mystery) and fiddled with large plastic bags and other innards. She finally got it to clickety-clack, though I can't be sure if it counted all my coins or just some of them and have no way of proving it didn't. The total was only $7.68. Admittedly there were a lot of pennies, from the "Ellen Joan from Jeffrey" bank.
Hot and disgruntled by then, I had to wait on a longish line to get the cash. Seeing a teller become free, I went up, only to be told she wasn't open. Not what I needed. When it eventually was my turn, I asked if I could have the receipt and the teller said no! Apparently that's not their policy, though I would have liked to have the breakdown by denomination.
My heart broken by the unreliable Penny Arcade and unaccommodating teller, I proceeded to the Times. Just for spite, the printer I use for the Sunday puzzles (which go on 11 x 17 paper) printed the page on small paper and therefore cut off a lot of the grid. Although I'm not very techie, I managed to get it right by changing the page setup, but am not sure why the paper was correct every other time and not this one. The second Sunday is a Split Decisions, and the diagram wasn't there at all; luckily that's a problem for the computer guy.
Then I noticed the date on the puzzle was 5/8/05, when it should have been 9/11 (a troublesome date in itself). Was it an old file? Will was at the tennis match, so I couldn't ask him. I called another tester using the number on the Rolodex and it was nonworking! I don't always remember puzzles so before I did this one possibly for the second time, I went to cruciverb-L to see what the 5/8 puzzle was. The archives only go through the end of April. I was about to look on the NYT forum for 5/8 discussion, or check Barry H's archive when Will called. Whew! He just used a template with an old date. And the number of the other tester was correct, only with a changed area code (you'd think the phone company recording would say so).
I had thought only the Sunday was ready today, and I'd have to return tomorrow for the dailies, but my luck was turning around, and with Will back home the dailies were soon sent. The rest of the work went without incident, unless you count an incredibly slow 13:44 on the Saturday as incident (the time does include proofreading each definition carefully, but still... and if the spoiler police think saying I took a long time is a spoiler, GET OVER IT!).
Adding to the basic malaise, I also was mildly aware that taping started today on my ex-show (according to the fan boards, not from any inside info). Even though I adore what I'm doing and don't miss the work itself (really, not one bit!), this dredged up those left out, unappreciated feelings from before.
At home after this not-so-wonderful day, I watched Katrina coverage and felt so petty. My life is pretty good by any perspective, and totally fantastic compared to what these people are going through.
I went to the Red Cross site and contributed 4 times what I had earned for proofreading the puzzles this afternoon. Doing for others, getting out of yourself. Those things work wonders.