Spreadsheet queen (not bedsheet queen)

I spent my WHOLE DAY tearing apart the most confusing spreadsheet on earth and putting it back together.

DISCLAIMER: This spreadsheet was NOT created by anyone in my organization and I will not say where it came from. But it was my job to analyze the information in it and I KEPT GETTING LOST!!!

Like. If there were five (for example) related items, they were jammed into a single cell, carefully numbered 1., 2., 3., 4., 5. With blank lines between them BUT IN THE SAME CELL. Every time I tried to scroll up or down to the previous or next cell, I totally lost track of where I was and what I was trying to do. PEOPLE it’s a SPREADSHEET! Put each one of your five (or whatever) related items on a separate row and either repeat the information that relates them in every row or put it at the top and remove the borders for that information. I do NOT recommend a whole lot of cell merging. That has its place but makes sorting impossible. This is all not to mention the extraneous rows and columns that did not add any value to the spreadsheet in general. Noise vs. signal ratio? Off the charts. It’s okay. It’s all cleaned up now.

The first spreadsheet app I encountered was called Visicalc. I was totally enamoured. I can balance my checkbook with this! Well, not really. We were running Viscalc on an Apple II+ and for many reasons, checkbook balancing on it was not viable. That came later when Visicalc morphed into Excel and we got a MacPlus or whatever it was. I moved my checkbook onto it and as I took on non-profit org treasuries one after another, I dragged all of those books onto the computer too.

I gained some notoriety in the spreadsheet business when I took over the treasury for a large middle school. I have a habit of collecting as much “data” as I can so when I took the papers and checks from registration, I had a huge spreadsheet with everything including things like people’s exes, etc. Looking back, this was probably not “legal” although most of that stuff was in the school directory but… Nowadays I would be much more careful about collecting that kind of info but I’m also guessing the schools may now have different processes than some PTO Lady entering stuff off paper forms into her own computer.

The funniest thing was once at a PTO meeting, my then walking buddy Vic called me a Spreadsheet Queen. Another mom said that at least I wasn’t a Bedsheet Queen. Actually given all of the gazillion times I have washed bedsheets in my life I suppose I am also a Bedsheet Queen.

Those folks got along with this nerd well enough that they asked me if I wanted to “take” over the high school PTO with them when our kids got there. Alas, my answer had to be that I would but only if my child did not “get into Community” (alternative “open” high school and her choice although I certainly supported it). She did (whew!) and I eventually snagged THAT treasury but I think about those old middle school mom friends fondly.

One Response to “Spreadsheet queen (not bedsheet queen)”

  1. Margaret Says:

    Alison works a lot with spreadsheets and I hear constant muttering from her that doesn’t sound positive. I stay out of it, being a retired lady! 😉