Best Laid Plans

Over the weekend I made thank you cards for the good Samaritans that pulled me out of the snow last week, baked two loaves of zucchini bread, wrapped them and tied them with ribbon. When it was time to go to dog class Monday night, I put everything in a tote bag and took it along.  Neither of my Samaritans was there.  One is on vacation in Mexico, the other under the weather and skipping class.  I left one loaf for the other staff to enjoy and YA has already polished off quite a bit of the second loaf!

When have you had best laid plans go awry?

18 thoughts on “Best Laid Plans”

    1. We had a similar problem about a week and a half ago. Email looked like it was working, internally stuff was coming and going. Externally stuff was going but nothing was coming in. And you wouldn’t think that one little thing would make such a big difference, but if you don’t know how clients and suppliers are answering emails or if they are sending you questions, you’re kind of hosed.

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  1. I recall when we returned to Winona in 1983, after grad school in Muncie IN – where I had taken several dance/folk dance classes – I decided to start up a beginners class at what was then St. Theresa’s College. After much prep work, getting all the music taped, putting posters around campus, etc., I was finally ready for the first session. One person showed up. We muddled through, and he may have brought someone else for the second evening, but we gave it up pretty quickly – it’s just not as much fun with only a couple of people.

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  2. last time my plans went awry was yesterday
    went to court to some guy who wanted to kick my ass and after spending time and money awake until 4 am i delivered the paperwork to the bad guys lawyer and hung out for 2 hours till my time was due at the courthouse after asking my lawyer what and when i should do . i got there i looked at the board to make sure the judge i had to see was in the court room i thought she was in and discovered they had changed my court time to 1 hour before i got there
    i went in and told the person at the desk and got to listen to 1 1/2 of a real interesting trial where a cop was sueing the police dept for being passed over for promotion because he objected to an old established cop offering gay porn in the locker room and at department get together s
    they told me at their break my deal was done they had awarded the bad guy his motion and i should call and work out the details with him

    not a horrible outcome as we was going to get awarded his motion anyway but what a messed up deal after all the effort

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  3. Unless it’s something that happened recently, plans—or rather expectations—gone awry don’t stick in my memory. That’s just what you get sometimes with expectations.

    Back in the early 2000s, my main source of income was designing and producing books for publication. These were primarily about home maintenance or repair, with lots of photos and charts and sidebars with tips and they ranged from 144 to 256 pages. I worked with a writer and a photographer and essentially created the overall structure of the text based on a speculative table of contents, then filled out the book with that content as it became available to me, making any necessary adjustments where the actual content didn’t match the expected stuff.

    Just a few years prior, books like that would have entailed a team of workers, not only the designer but typesetters and paste-up people to physically assemble all the parts. The advent of desktop computers had done away with the need for external typesetters and separate cut-and-paste assembly of the parts, but most publishers still were of the mindset that a complex book required a team. Teams mean a lot of redundancy and time spent in meetings assuring that all the details are communicated. The production cost for books like that often exceeded $100K, and that’s before printing cost.

    Because I was taking the basic components and turning them around as a set of files ready for the printer, and because I was working at home with minimal overhead, I could charge substantially less and still make a very comfortable income. Of course, that would only work if the clients were satisfied with the product. At the height of my book production, I was producing books for at least five different publishers including Meredith Publishing in Des Moines (the Better Homes & Gardens people). As soon as I finished one book, another would be ready for me to start. Everybody was happy. I expected that I would finish out my working career that way. In earlier generations, that might have been a reasonable expectation. I only had about ten years to go and things didn’t usually change that fast…

    But about that time the economy slumped, causing all the publishers to pull back their production at the same time. Instead of generating new content they combed through the archives of material they already owned to patch together compilations, and for those they tended to use employees they had on staff rather than freelancers. The effect was that most of my business vanished almost overnight. Lucky for me, my overhead was inconsequential. A lot of design businesses with office space and staff salaries went belly up at that time, pulled under by their overhead.

    By the time the economy had recovered enough for publishers to resume new production, a lot of it had shifted to DVDs and online content, neither of which requires the same up-front commitment. That likely would have happened even without the recession, but I might have been able to keep going for a few more years at least.

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      1. Not to mention film and photo processing. Music, too, has undergone a major transition because of technology both as far as production and distribution is concerned. I’m sure there are lots of other examples of whole industries that either have already disappeared, or are in the process of major transformations because of evolution of technology.

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  4. I have to confess that most of my plans, if they are anything that can charitably be described as “best laid”, tend to go awry when I procrastinate or linger too long over coffee in the morning. The best way to fail is to just not get started.

    Did a google search to find the origin of the saying about best laid plans. Turned up this poem, and I don’t think I’ve seen it in its entirety before….

    To A Mouse, On Turning Her Up In Her Nest With The Plough

    Wee, sleekit, cow’rin, tim’rous beastie,
    O, what a panic’s in thy breastie!
    Thou need na start awa sae hasty,
    Wi’ bickering brattle!
    I wad be laith to rin an’ chase thee,
    Wi’ murd’ring pattle!

    I’m truly sorry man’s dominion,
    Has broken nature’s social union,
    An’ justifies that ill opinion,
    Which makes thee startle
    At me, thy poor, earth-born companion,
    An’ fellow-mortal!

    I doubt na, whiles, but thou may thieve;
    What then? poor beastie, thou maun live!
    A daimen icker in a thrave
    ‘S a sma’ request;
    I’ll get a blessin wi’ the lave,
    An’ never miss’t!

    Thy wee bit housie, too, in ruin!
    It’s silly wa’s the win’s are strewin!
    An’ naething, now, to big a new ane,
    O’ foggage green!
    An’ bleak December’s winds ensuin,
    Baith snell an’ keen!

    Thou saw the fields laid bare an’ waste,
    An’ weary winter comin fast,
    An’ cozie here, beneath the blast,
    Thou thought to dwell-
    Till crash! the cruel coulter past
    Out thro’ thy cell.

    That wee bit heap o’ leaves an’ stibble,
    Has cost thee mony a weary nibble!
    Now thou’s turn’d out, for a’ thy trouble,
    But house or hald,
    To thole the winter’s sleety dribble,
    An’ cranreuch cauld!

    But, Mousie, thou art no thy lane,
    In proving foresight may be vain;
    The best-laid schemes o’ mice an ‘men
    Gang aft agley,
    An’lea’e us nought but grief an’ pain,
    For promis’d joy!

    Still thou art blest, compar’d wi’ me
    The present only toucheth thee:
    But, Och! I backward cast my e’e.
    On prospects drear!
    An’ forward, tho’ I canna see,
    I guess an’ fear!

    – Robert Burns

    Liked by 4 people

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