space cadet

September 5, 2008

I started this post with the title “dumb blonde” but then decided that might be offensive to some. Space cadet gets the same message across, right? I’m using the expressions to describe my mental state since returning to work. I don’t know what I was thinking when I thought going back to work after almost six months, and having one new baby in the house, would all go smoothly. The hardest part of all this is I have a limited amount of hours each day to finish my work so that I’m still doing full time reporting, getting the kids fed, bathed, and off to bed, not to mention interacting with them and doing the bonding parent-child thing. Then there is the cooking for all of us, dishes, laundry, and at some point, general cleaning. And then it would probably be healthy for me to have a moment to myself, perhaps in the form of a shower or brushing my teeth or hair.

So as a result of being pulled in so many directions, I have been making “space cadet” (dumb blonde sounds so much better) mistakes at my work. I called something in a story recently “Annual Yearly Progress” (it was Adequate Yearly Progress…my take of it doesn’t even make sense) I called “Pachucos” “Pochacos” (that’s not even a word) and have done my usual day switching, saying it is Wednesday when it’s really Tuesday, that type of thing.

Luckily my errors have been noted and corrected on our Web site… but the thousands of copies that go out to people every day? Ouch for me.

I haven’t made mistakes like these since I was first starting to report, several years ago. I’ve grown so proud of getting my facts straight that it destroys me to make such slips. One of my most memorable mistakes from years past was typing “nymph nodes” instead of “lymph nodes” in a story. Our copy editors and editors missed it too. It wasn’t until some reader wrote a letter to the editor thanking me for the chuckle.

But it wasn’t really funny. It sucked for me. Here’s another good one from the past. I referred to something in a story as a quarter mile, when it was actually a square mile. For some reason square made me think of four, and I translated that to “quarter.” It made a big difference in what I was saying.

It’s really tough to be a reporter. The printed word makes it that much tougher. Once all the “send” buttons have been pushed there’s really no going back. It’s set in ink “for the record,” forever, until someone lines a cage somewhere with it. Or makes paper boats like Diego and I did the other day with our days paper. That’s why I’m starting to love the Internet that much more every day. Although it is a great feeling when a story runs error free, to know that you’ve informed the public the best you can.

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One Response to “space cadet”

  1. sara said

    good luck. i don’t know how you can do it – and being a mama is so hard in itself. My best to you and your kids.

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