to go: 185.47 [YTD:
the *It Never
Pays To Be Smug* Department:
David and I sat in bed on
Wednesday night, all smug and jammied and pleased with ourselves, and
wrote the final check to cover the final payment on the "new"
it!" we crowed,
once the check was written and signed and
ceremoniously stuffed into the CompUSA envelope. "Our computer is 100%
we high-fived each
other in goony self-congratulatory
triumph. One more tiny victory in the endless war against debt.
of course we turned
around, the very next day, and killed our 100%-paid-for computer
still don't know what
happened. We got home from work last night, and everything seemed to be
running just fine, I swear to god. While David cooked dinner, I sat
down to take a quick spin around the Internet. Nothing out of the
ordinary in my mailbox: a little bit of 'Grilla back-and-forth, a
couple of notifies, some iffy-looking stuff that I deleted without
opening. (Like I'm going to open an e-card from someone named
"DrunkenLady@aol.com.") No McAfee pop-up alerts, no virus
alarms or sirens or barking Dobermans ... nothing to indicate any
system difficulties at all, as a matter of fact. I took a peek at
David's message board, read Bev and "The Bleat," made a few edits
on a *FootNotes* entry I'd written at work during lunch, formatted a
graphic to go with the entry. At that point I noticed that things were
running a little slower than usual, but even that didn't seem all that
unusual: with our medieval dial-up connection, the Internet often bogs
down on us during peak usage hours. The usual fix for this is to
reboot, so I obediently shut down all of my open programs and hit
next thing I knew, I
looking at a DOS screen ... and a disk failure message.
knew right away that
Very Bad. I don't know a lot about computers -- about the mechanics of
them, I mean, or about what goes on under the hood while I'm busy
ordering bicycle jerseys and writing fan mail to Jeff Probst -- but I
knew right away that this was a catastrophic malfunction.
even, than when the KLEZ virus shut us down a couple of months ago.
David knew it too. He squinted and muttered and tinkered and slid
various boot-up disks and emergency system repair CD's in and out of
the PC for most of the evening, all to no avail, and eventually he just
looked at me wearily and said "We're screwed."
hard drive has
been wiped out ... along with everything on it.
seen David this
maybe two or three times, in all of the years I've known him. Of
course, with David, "upset" translates as a clenched jaw and
uncharacteristic silence for half an hour. But it's still
devastating to witness. And he had every right to be upset. I lost a
couple of years' worth of archived e-mails in the crash last night,
plus yesterday's *FootNotes* entry (no great loss) and some recent
digital photos of The World's Cutest Nephew, which I stoopidly forgot
to back up on CD. Everything else I've got safely mirrored
thank god. But David has lost everything.
than a years' worth of artwork and writing and music and various
creative projects, into which he'd poured hours and hours of heart and
thought and effort ... gone, *poof,* just like that. Lately his passion
has been digitizing old cassettes to CD -- mostly radio broadcasts from
the 70's and 80's -- everybody from George Thorogood to Richard
Thompson to Randy Newman. It was a project that filled him with joy and
kept him busy for days on end. Now all of those massive,
meticulously-edited audio files are gone forever because we never got
around to buying that ZIP drive we were always talking about.
am beyond heartsick,
thinking about it.
don't know when we're
to be able to get the computer fixed. It might be a while. We stoopidly
allowed the warranty to lapse last summer -- We
need to keep paying this, do we?
-- and with the holidays
bearing down on us like the revenge of Montezuma we can't afford the
luxury of sending it in for repair right now. I've just plunked down a
big bunch of money for Christmas airfare for the two of us; David had
to have some work done on our elderly Subaru; neither one of us expects
to win the lottery this weekend. And no, this is not a plea
Please don't send money. Antacids, Far Side cartoons, Fast Lane Tea, if
you've got 'em ... but no money. When I get home tonight I'm going to
attempt to jury-rig our ancient laptop to the Internet and see if we're
able to at least check e-mail and upload files. If so, fine: there will
be the occasional subpar *FootNotes* entry or mileage update or whiney
message to the notify list all about why I haven't written in ten days.
(In other words: business as usual.)
not, we're going to
to consider ourselves unplugged for a while. (And either way, of
course, this does nothing to help David recover his trashed computer
good news -- if
any good news to be had here, and I'm really having to stretch to find
it, believe me -- is that unplugged probably isn't fatal. Unplugged
doesn't even really hurt all that much, as long as you've got somebody
to be unplugged with. If something like this had happened,
say, when I
was living alone in the Tree House and the computer was all I had for
company/entertainment/emotional support, I would
probably be leaping out of that third-story window, right about now.
The situation sucks, no doubt about it -- we're both going to go
withdrawal in the next few days --
but I'm sure we'll find ways to keep ourselves busy and entertained
until the computer is back up and running. David called me
here at the
office a few minutes ago, and he's already beginning to sound like his
normal, practical, ridiculously chipper self.
going to have a
great weekend," he said flatly, when I cautiously asked him 'how he was
he's right: we'll
probably be fine. We've got books to read
and phone calls to make and last night's "Survivor: Thailand episode"
on tape, still to watch. We've got a Tot coming to visit next weekend,
and a buttload of housecleaning and shopping to do this weekend in
preparation. We've got Yahtzee. We've got conversation. And of
course we've still got 185 miles' worth of elephant to eat,
starting first thing tomorrow morning.
knows? Maybe a
involuntary unpluggedness will actually turn out to be a good thing.
a great weekend,
everybody. I'll be back when I'm back.
memory of marcella degrasse