Thursday, December 13, 2007


I admit that I suffer from obsessive compulsive behavior in some ways. Under control, but still it is there. That's one reason why I persist in appointing myself the company cookbook wrangler.

Speaking of which, early this morning I finally printed off the GOOD copy from which all other copies were to be made. In the past, I have been ultra compulsive and handled the process from start to finish, but I knew this year that I did not have it in me to manage the project without help. So I recruited a helper to do the copying and assist in the binding. She, in turn, recruited a bit more help, so there were several hands in the process.

While they copied, I pre-punched holes in the front and back covers and the clear plastic front overlay cover. I assembled one complete copy so that I could evaluate how well all the different papers and covers went together. The plastic cover was a bit larger than a standard 8-1/2 x 11-inch sheet, so I adjusted the punches to allow the plastic cover to overhang evenly all around. The inner title page, always printed on some kind of seasonal specialty paper, turned out to be slightly smaller than a standard page and I had to re-adjust the punch so that the title sheet was centered against the card stock inner cover. (What can I say? I'm good.)

By the time I had punched 100 back covers, 100 inner front covers, 100 decorative title pages and 100 plastic overlays on the old manual punch/binding machine, the first of the cookbooks were being delivered, pre-punched by my helpers on the newer, electric binding machine. I assembled the first official copy and found myself in an obsessive compulsive quandry. The electric punch was set at a slightly different position from the manual punch I had used for the covers and so the inner pages of the cookbook were not binding squarely to the covers. They were about 1/16th of an inch off and they had already punched about 15 sets.

For possibly the first time in my life, I gave myself a mental shake and said to myself "screw it". Probably nobody but me will ever be aware of this slight flaw. These folks are always very appreciative of my efforts, which gives them a comb-bound cookbook with recipes that have been reworked so as to be understandable to even the least experienced of the group, standardized formatting of measurements and full of decorative graphics. They would have been happy to get a stapled at the corner batch of un-adorned recipes with no editing at all. Of course they've been spoiled at this point, since I'm obsessive compulsive about this project, but I don't think anyone is going to go "eww, the pages aren't square".

With this happy decision made, we managed to get half of the required books bound today. I have lost my primary helper to a vacation day tomorrow, but I hope to get the vast majority of the remaining books done and possibly even delivered before the end of the work day on Friday.

I counted up today and my rough estimate is that I've spent somewhere between 60 and 72 hours on this project. This is my Christmas contribution to my co-workers. I think they are going to be pleased with the result.

Aside from the slightly off-set pages, I am. I'll get over it.


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