KOK Edit: Your favorite copyeditor since 1984(SM)
KOK Edit: your favorite copyeditor since 1984(SM) KOK Edit: your favorite copyeditor since 1984(SM) Katharine O'Moore Klopf

Friday, March 20, 2009

Which Is More Important: Editing Courses or Editing Experience?

Hey, editing professionals and editor wannabees:

If you subscribe to the Copyediting‑L (CE‑L) e-mail list, have you been following the "certification" thread there yesterday (March 19) and today? If not, I highly recommend that you go read all of the posts, especially if you've ever been on the fence about whether to spend money on classes, conferences, or certification preparation. I've even recommended the series of posts to my mentees.

If you are already subscribed, you can read all of the posts in the thread by going to the CE‑L archives and doing a search. On that page, click the "Search Archives" link. On the page that you're taken to, type in the word certification in the "Subject Contains" box, and then type in "19 Mar 2009" (without the quotes) in the "Since" box. Click the "Search" button. That'll take you to a list of all the posts in the topic. To read a post, click on the hyperlinked numbers in the "Item #" column entry for that post.

Helen S's, Kim R's, and Amy E's posts are especially good. In fact, I liked Helen's so much that I obtained her permission to quote it (with minor modifications) atop the "Education and Certification" page of the Copyeditors' Knowledge Base within my web site.

If you aren't yet a CE‑L subscriber, here's how to become one:

  • Create an e-mail to listserv@listserv.indiana.edu.

  • Leave the subject blank.

  • In the message area, type this message: subscribe copyediting‑l Firstname Lastname, where ‑l is a hyphen plus the lowercase letter L, not a hyphen plus the numeral 1.

  • Firstname is your first name.

  • Lastname is your last name.

  • Delete any signature information. This is optional, but leaving the signature will cause the server to generate a somewhat perplexing error message.

Brain Celebration!

Happy Friday, all. Here's my final, wonderful update on this topic:

Ed was told by his neurologist this morning that he will need neither brain surgery nor annual brain MRI scans for monitoring purposes!

His colloid brain cyst does not even have any blood vessels feeding it, so it cannot possibly grow, the neurologist said. He added that the cyst was very likely present before Ed was even born, and it has just lain dormant all these years. The neurologist said that it is extremely unlikely that the cyst will ever cause any symptoms in Ed; it's just a tiny bit of luggage he'll carry for the rest of his life (may it be very, very long).

Thanks so much for listening. Today's news is a huge load off my mind. Sometimes having a little bit of medical knowledge, as we medical copyeditors do, can cause much unnecessary stress. And having friends, online and offline, who care has lessened that stress.

O frabjous day! Callooh! Callay!

Monday, March 09, 2009

Screwing Mortgage-Holders in Secret

Our mortgage-holder has finally put up an online form through which people in financial distress can apply to get their monthly payments reduced. After you fill it out, you're supposed to get a call from the company to move the process along. My original e-mail requesting just such a call, which preceded the advent of the company's online form, never resulted in our getting a call.

Today we filled out the form after having gathered all of the necessary financial details. After I very wisely created a PDF of our completed application, I clicked the Submit button. The inept or not-very-thorough webmaster didn't set things up so that users get an acknowledgment of their submission, à la Webmastering 101, so who knows if anyone got our application through that form. All I got was a blank page. So I called the phone number listed on the application form, waited through several menus to get to a human, and got a fax number after explaining the problem and despite being assured that if I had indeed clicked the web site's Submit button, my form had been received. Yeah, uh-uh. I faxed over our application. We'll see how fast they move, considering that a large percentage of Americans are going through the same process.

Meanwhile, when I called, I had to input the last four digits of my Social Security number to identify myself. A recorded voice came on to tell me the amount of unpaid principle left on the mortgage, how much in property taxes we paid through our mortgage payments in 2008, and how much our most recent payment was and when it was made. It also mentioned that our mortgage is a Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac mortgage, so we will be eligible for help. Fine, but ... ack! Ours isn't a subprime mortgage, and no one with our mortgage-holder had ever informed us that our mortgage was now held at least in part by the very mortgage organizations that have helped cause the economy to fail. I got that info only incidentally, because the mortgage-holder decided to include it as part of the update info given by its recorded voice.

So much cr*p is done to the American consumer in secret. How can we, as a giant group of citizens, ever hope to get at the truth of what goes on with the companies we do business with?!

Friday, March 06, 2009

"Houston, We Found the Brain"

Well, Ed's done with his brain scans for now and is headed off to work for the evening. On his way there, he'll stop back by the neurologist's office for a copy of his scans on CD. How cool will that be for us to be able to see his brain on my computer screen?

He'll have to wait for a phone call from the neurologist to learn about any significant findings regarding his colloid brain cyst.

For now, Ed says, he's just happy that the scans did indeed show that he does have a brain. I'm just happy that it wasn't obscured by all those millions of thoughts that ADHD makes constantly and randomly bounce off the inside of his head. ;-)

Thursday, March 05, 2009

"If I Only Had a Brain"

Finally, Ed has gotten a neurology referral.

He'll undergo a full set of brain magnetic resonance imaging scans tomorrow morning (March 6) to get copious baseline data on his colloid brain cyst. I'm sure that we won't hear about the results immediately, but at least our HMO picked a specialist 5 minutes down the road from us—small miracle!—instead of at the other end of the county.

Now I have "If I Only Had a Brain" stuck in my head.

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

If You Can't Afford Your Mortgage Anymore ...

I'm going to tell you a bit of my financial story not to garner pity but in case you also are having problems making your mortgage payments in this shriveled economy.

I'm sure that some will think that this is TMI, but I've found that when you keep quiet about absolutely everything, nobody gets information that might help them. Plus, silence about life difficulties gives them an unnecessary stigma. If this story bothers you, please just move along to the next blog rather than post nasty comments. I want people to know that being knocked for a loop by the awful economy despite having been financially responsible does not make one a "bad" person.

My husband, Ed, was laid off after 14 years on the job in October 2007. He then started his own cabinetmaking business, taking out two business loans in the process, and had a very healthy income for just over a year. Then the bottom fell out of the U.S. economy and his income pretty much disappeared. I make a very good income as a freelance editor, but editing isn't as lucrative as many other professions. What I earn can't support four people, a mortgage, two business loans, health insurance policy premiums, plus the basic expenses of life in the middle class. (Both of our old vehicles have long since been paid for.) Ed has been working part time for a grocery-delivery service and getting a few small cabinetmaking gigs here and there. Put all of that together, and we're now scraping the bottom of our financial barrel. Yesterday, we closed one of Ed's two IRAs—I have one also—so that we can make our currently due mortgage payment and pay other bills. We're not yet delinquent on our mortgage, but we will be after we use up the other two IRAs.

I just now sent an e-mail to our mortgage-holder telling them that Ed and I want to apply for a "Home Affordable Modification under the new financial stability federal legislation" so that we can keep affording our mortgage.

I asked that they call us tomorrow so that we have time to gather all of the necessary documents (past tax forms, profit-and-loss statements from our two businesses, info on Ed's business loans, etc.) ready. If things work out right, the mortgage-holder, which is required by law to participate because it received federal bailout funds, will likely lengthen the payment period of our mortgage by several years so as to decrease our monthly payments. Lenders are just getting their federal info packets on this program today, March 4.

If you know anybody in the United States having similar problems because of decreased income, let them know that the earlier they take action, the more help there is available. The further behind they get financially, the fewer their options will be, and the longer they wait to take action, the fewer the available assistance funds there will be, so they can't let fear or shame immobilize them. Send them here.

The site may respond a little slowly because so many people are trying to access it. Anyone wanting mortgage assistance of various kinds should use the short questionnaire(s) accessed through the "find out if you are eligible" link on that page. Your answers to the questions will result in your being directed to the correct page for the type of assistance that you are eligible for. For more general information, go to the web site of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. Be aware, though, that that site is also getting swamped as everyone remotely eligible for assistance goes there to look for it.

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