|Our New Machine|
Next to go – the great computer. I came back into my office the same day the washing machine died, only to find my laptop had done the same thing. I thought something was a little out of the ordinary when I came into the office and the log-on screen was staring at me. But, having had this happen many times in the past, I didn't think anything about it and promptly hit the 'Start Windows Normally' selection and watched it begin to reboot.
It was just about to the log-on screen when the laptop screen went blank. I mean totally. I sat there for a minute or so waiting for the next screen to show up. Nothing. So, still not convinced, I re-booted and hoped for the best. Wrong. Same thing.
Well, that wasn't what I was hoping for. This meant that the laptop was going to BluePC downtown for them to take a look-see and see what they could find and hopefully repair it. They promised it would be ready to pick up the next day.
The following morning, Dianna and I strolled nonchalantly into BluePC where my laptop lay waiting for us – working as if nothing was wrong. He said he did open up the machine and found some cat hair inside (no surprise there), but other than that, nothing. As he reassembled it, it began working perfectly. In fact, he had two other laptops in the same evening with exactly the same problem. Mine was the first he'd worked on that day, and he had high hopes they would be as easy to repair.
After expecting to pay somewhere around $200 BZD or so, I got a very pleasant surprise when he told me the bill was just $30.00 BZD as he had “basically done nothing other than clean cat hair out of it.”
So, now we had a new washing machine and a rejuvenated (well, in my mind, anyway) laptop.
Is that the end of the troubles? It's easy to convince yourself that that's the case. And, so you head down life's twisty, winding path blissfully unaware of what it has in store. In short, no, it wasn't the end - by a long shot.
The very next afternoon, Dianna was preparing supper. Baking a couple of potatoes in a Pyrex bowl and some other things. In one of those times where you basically take your brain and put it on a shelf (no, it wasn't me for once) and rely on some other faculty than common sense, Dianna charged headlong into her own exciting adventure.
She thought the potatoes were taking a bit long to bake, so she thought she'd add some water to the pan with the idea that the steam generated would hasten their cooking.
She had a measuring cup full of warm water. As soon as that water made contact with the Pyrex in the oven – B O O M !. Glass shards and chunks instantly all over the the oven. Luckily, not a one made contact with Dianna. After turning off the oven, Dianna was trying to collect her nerves when I came upstairs after having spent about and hour or so relaxing in the pool.
I thought she was acting a little funny, when she told me she'd had a little accident in the kitchen. I went in and took a peek. She'd left the oven door open to help cool everything down. I don't think there was a half-inch of the oven that didn't have a piece of glass sitting on it. Almost looked like when the rear window in your car breaks – tons of little bits of glass. Only these bits were really jagged and sharp, sharp, sharp. It looked to me to be miraculous that she wasn't covered with glass as well.
I said to her that it sounded like it would be a good idea to go out for dinner, to which she readily agreed. We went to the Wood House for some spicy chicken and egg rolls. That and a couple of Belikin helped calm her nerves after a really spectacular adventure.
I used my ShopVac this morning to clean up most of the pieces, all except the really tiny bits that Dianna then cleaned up with soap and water.
Now we're just about to lunch time the following day and nothing has happened. After this run of stuff breaking, falling apart, stopping, etc., etc., I'm not sure I'm ready to actually relax yet, but I might just take time to, carefully, get into the pool this afternoon and have a Belikin or two. We'll see.
The very next morning (close enough anyway), we had a minor cell phone emergency. I couldn't find my cell phone. Dianna went looking all over the house, I went and looked in the pool house, in the Isuzu, downstairs in my workshop, in the laundry room, where I'd spent quite a bit of time recently, and even strolled around the yard, out to the trash bin, and to the gate, no luck anywhere.
|Whose Is Whose?|
I went to take a shower and Dianna had a stroke of inspiration. She told me that she thought, "I wonder why we're getting busy signal or this recording?" Then she thought, "I wonder if I've got the wrong phone?" Then she began really rooting around to find the missing phone.
As luck would have it, there was a phone in her purse. Hmmm. So we took that phone and called my number just to make sure everything was working. Sure enough, my phone rang as it should. That was why we got the recording - it was trying to call itself and couldn't get there. Problem solved.
Just about the time that we were getting the washing machine and telephone episodes wrapped up, our Intertubes connection went squirrely. All of a sudden, no service. In it's place was a form from our satellite ISP wanting us to fill this questionnaire thing out to keep our 'complimentary' service. Complimentary? My ass. This complimentary service consumes the better part of $100.00 US each month. If that's complimentary I'll eat my hat.
After the form was the only thing we could see for better than a day, I called Computer Ranch, over in Spanish Lookout. They're our supplier of satellite dishes and modems for the Intertubes. So, it was only natural that I contact them to find out what was happening.
I talked to Abe at the Ranch and he said the problem apparently involves about 26 modems that Computer Ranch services, ours being one of them. Apparently the satellite service provider says that these modems are defective or something. Abe said he's working with the provider to replace the modems and he's 'hopeful' to have that all taken care of in a few days.
Well, we're into it for over a week now, so I'll be calling Abe on Monday morning to find out the latest. Last time I talked to him, I asked if we should fill out the form and send it back to the provider. "Don't do that," he said. "Let us take care of it." Ok, fine. In the meantime, most of the day, everyday, we're without our beloved Intertubes.
I fail to see the connection between what Abe has described as a technical malfunction or similar problem and what the provider is saying is 'complimentary.' I'd like to get this resolved as soon as possible.
This is the reason posts lately have been sporadic at best. Interestingly, our email service has continued uninterrupted. With the exception that any email with embedded images, doesn't download the images when the provider is blocking the Tubes. They must have some sort of HTML blocker in place. It's also called a pain in the ass.
That's continuing as we speak. But is it in isolation? Oh, no. Not by a long shot. During this mess, my international health insurance became due. So, every time I tried to go online to pay, guess what? I couldn't get there from here, so to speak.
A couple of issues here. One - the Intertubes being screwed up the way that they are presents a problem, and Two - the insurance provider's website always screws with the password. Dianna's policy renews a month before mine does. Her's goes without a hitch. Then when my policy is to be renewed, I enter my policy number and password and [GONG] no go. I have to call them each year and have them reset the password so I can take care of my policy. I have explained to them each year what the problem is. About all I ever get is an "Uh-huh" from some drone call taker. Thank God their claim service is much better than that, according to a couple folks I know who have had significant claims through the insurance.
Being a pragmatic sort of guy once in a while, I thought, well, I'll just call it in and renew over the phone and bypass the annual problem. No, sorry. The last drone I talked to said it was company policy that they don't do renewals over the phone. What??? I've never heard of something so ridiculous. After voicing my disbelief to the drone, I terminated the call. What the hell am I going to do now to renew my policy?
Again, inspiration struck. Why, I just go over to Bruce and Colleen's house, since they have a different Intertube provider and log on to they're system and complete the process online. Which is exactly what I did.
Of course, I had to get through the foul-up with the password. So, I still had to call the insurer to get my password reset (that's another thing - they provide the password... How archaic and quaint. Anyway, I spoke with some other drone, who reset the password and sent me the email with the new one in it.
After retrieving my email, I was able to go in to the website and complete the renewal. I'm looking forward to next year. I'm sure it will be much better.