I used to be organized. Then my father did us a favor and bought us a digital camera.
See, I had a system. I’d take pictures, drop off the film someday, and when they came back, I’d label the back with who was in the picture, when and where it was taken. Then I’d put the photos in an album and mail off the duplicates.
After the arrival of Kiddo#2, my father gave us this awesome digital camera (and it is — it’s a little workhorse; the only time it’s failed on me was the time of the Ghost Photo incident) and you don’t need to develop those pictures. You just put them on your computer and print them at your leisure.
You see the problem there, right?
Actually, the problem is twofold. The first is I have no strictly leisure time. I fill it with “important” things like writing weblog entries and surfing Ehell. But the second, which you can’t possibly know, is our color printer. It’s a near occasion of sin for me. Every time I use it for photos, I end up saying things that would make an entire New York City subway car gasp in shock. When God sees me getting ready to print in color, He gets out His divine tally sheet, sighs, and sharpens three pencils.
You know in Office Space, when the guy says “Why does it say ‘paper jam’ when there is no paper jam?” That’s my color printer’s younger cousin. They went to school together.
At that point in time, we also had dial-up, so online photo services actually took longer for us than dropping off a film canister. Or growing an evergreen tree, to be honest.
There’s also the higher expectations of digital photos: you’re only supposed to print the good ones, but I had no way of looking at them all in batches and figuring out which were the good ones. It took hours. Correcting things like redeye and cropping took even longer.
During this time, I was still using the film camera sometimes, and those photos needed to be interleaved with the digitals. I’d hold onto the duplicates and not mail them away.
Consequently, the photos backlogged on me. Then Kiddo#3 arrived, and after three months, I couldn’t keep up. There were unprinted photos on my hard drive, unsorted printed photos, and a box of duplicates as big as a shoebox.
I felt like garbage. Everyone else has beautiful scrapbooks for their kids, and I had a couple of CDs. Every time I thought about the photos, my next thought was, “I should just die and get it over with.”
(This weblog says “sarcasm served up daily,” but I’m not being sarcastic. I really felt like I was failing my kids by not having organized albums like my mom does.)
Then one day, inspiration struck. I’m pretty sure it was my guardian angel. And this is what the inspiration said:
If you feel so bad because you haven’t printed photos, why don’t you print them?
It’s hard to argue with that kind of logic. Plus, timing is everything: right around then, Wendy sent me a link to photos of her house, and they were on yahoo photos. It looked easy to navigate. Everything fell into place. This is how God takes pity on fools, drunks, the United States of America, and me.
Within a few days, I had a yahoo photos account. I abandoned any idea of correcting bad photos. With DSL, uploading went like lightning. Then I’d do a slideshow of photos and note the ones I didn’t want. I’d hit “select all” and then unselect the bad ones. Then push a button, and two weeks later, voila. I decided to print twenty a week so I’d be done in six months.
It worked so well that I did them by the hundreds. Yahoo photos was squealing with glee, at least until they shut down. After that, Shutterfly squealed with glee, rubbing its hands together (I’m imagining an actual fly here, doing that thing with its front feet) and blissfully selling me prepaid plans that I blew through in a matter of days. (My record is two days for two hundred photos.) It took only two months to clear the backlog.
They’re all in albums now.
I fell off the wagon last August, but in the last week, I’ve caught up. 150 photos are on their way right now. (If you’re related to me, you may be getting some.)
I’m taking more photos now that I know they’ll be printed.
I love my photo albums. Printing pictures is a way of loving myself.
Er, does anyone want a box of several hundred duplicate photos from 2001 to 2005?