I do your presentation props — PowerPoint slides and templates
I was looking forward to celebrating Winter Solstice this year. As with all years it is enjoyable to know that our precious few hours of daylight will gradually start to lengthen over the next months. It is important for me to get those rays of sunshine bouncing off my head because my job entails working in front of three huge monitors, day in day out.
I work as a presentation specialist. Both designing and building PowerPoint templates, as well as inserting and formatting a client’s content. Now, over the past few decades, I’ve learned that it “should” take a few weeks of work to fine tune a presentation. Subject matter – supporting documents – template design and build – populating this new look – testing the whole show – then a bit of practice on the part of the speaker, just to get comfortable with the topic and flow of the slide deck. In theory. Except for the Friday bulldozer jobs.
Destination Friday afternoon!
Fridays are especially difficult, as some clients like to drop bomb my inbox at the end of the day. Usually with an impossible deadline. I surmise that they have procrastinated for so long on preparing their presentation, that they are totally freaking out. I picture them driving a bulldozer up a slope, and pushing all their presentation material to the edge of a cliff. But stopping just before the edge. All their blips and blurbs, low res photos and Excel spreadsheets, fall from the sky, as I look up to a nice easy Friday evening. No such luck Babe. It, has landed on your desk. Splat!
Sometimes I bend with the wind, sometimes I break. I agreed to help a longtime client and friend, in rescuing an impossible deadline for a client of a client. I suspect no one had a poll long enough to assist. It was going to be one of those bulldozer jobs. The client of the client of the client said they would give me the template and content on Wednesday, for a Friday presentation. Well, some content came in, in bits and pieces, and with an uncertain creative direction. The content was still coming in on Thursday morning. Unfortunately, Mother Nature had other ideas.
Record Breaking Storm in BC
The power flickered on and off a few times. I sent the latest version of the presentation, probably 90% done, just before the power went out for good around noon. I have good instincts. Usually.
The wind blew for seven hours, first from the east then it shifted from the west. Never in my life have I experienced anything like these winds, and I used to hunt the big ones as a windsurfing enthusiast. That day, tree trunks two feet wide were swaying back and forth, bending so far that they uprooted themselves. Massive branches curving 180 degrees and snapping off. Boughs falling everywhere. Not one square foot of the property was free of littering remnants of the storm. They locally recorded 128 kilometers an hour at its peak. 144 km/hr in Tofino, two hours away from here. Not much rain, more of a mist, a twirling mist. And the sound?
Total silence at one point, followed by a crescendo to the most horrific howl that’s ever come to my ears. And then the wind came again. Ferocious. Unrelenting. Not scary, just imposing. Gulp.
We lost three 100 foot pine trees, that nicely rearranged the cross pieces on the grape arbour. One fir tree, over 100 feet as well, fell across the driveway, preventing any possible escape from the property. And one cedar tree split right up the middle, in half, like a slice with a sabre. No broken windows, none on the building affected, only a few dented eavetroughs from the massive falling limbs. Storm was pretty much over by seven that night. It took me a while to get a generator installed and plugged-in. Still, I was not strong enough to pull the rip cord to get it started. After a 13 wait for the ferry, hubby got back home, pulled the cord once, and just like a loosened pickle jar lid (by me), the generator got started. It was midnight by then.
All this, a bit too late to help the client of the client of the client. Moral of the story? You already know it.
We spent a nice quiet Winter Solstice the next day, starting the cleanup outside. Chainsaws buzzing everywhere in the neighbourhood. Hydro trucks unable to go anywhere without first clearing the trees across the roads.
It took five days to get the power back. On December 25th we were back on the grid. Thanking our BCHydro dudes and dudettes, with gifts of cookies, chocolates and home made schnapps.
Dummy me, I’m writing this on a Friday afternoon. And guess what showed-up in my email?