Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Two Weeks of #TechHell ~ #techfail #amwriting #needhelp

My old laptop was my favorite color,
red, but this was clearly a problem
I wrote recently about how I was lucky enough to take ten days off in mid-July for a family vacation that involved four states plus the District of Columbia in ten days.  Not super relaxing.  Before we left, my well-loved but slightly ancient laptop began crashing regularly.  Add to that a screen that was physically broken off the hinges (which would have proved quite inconvenient while traveling) and a battery that wouldn't hold a charge for even five was time to bite the bullet and buy a new one.

This fortune was in my cookie at
a very challenging time for me

I didn't want to. And not just because of the expense.  My loyal laptop has been with me since around 2010.  I've written four novels on it.  There is a fortune from a Chinese restaurant taped to the keyboard stating "Real courage is moving forward when the outcome is uncertain"...something I drew strength from as I began the process of a lengthy revise and resubmit to the publisher that would eventually contract my debut novel SILVER LAKE.  That laptop and I have been through a lot together.  But my old faithful friend was clearly on its last flickering legs.

Miraculously, the new laptop arrived before we left.  Which was excellent, because I knew I had to prepare my last three-hour presentation for the fiction class I teach for the local college.  It's a pain to set up a new computer, in my opinion anyway, but I set about personalizing it, transferring files, saving favorite sites and passwords, etc.

Every chance I got during vacation, I worked on my slide show.  I had to have it done by the Monday prior to class for printing.  I managed to finish, powered back up that night to send it in...and discovered the keyboard of my new laptop no longer worked.  Well, the left side, specifically.  And I could not actually log in without letters from the left side.  Cut to me, having a panic attack.  Not pretty.  There were tears.

Thankfully, I realized this new-fangled laptop has a touch screen in addition to the physical keyboard.  I was able to log in and send my presentation--and quickly save it to a thumb drive. But I sure couldn't do any real work with a touch screen.  After numerous calls to tech support lasting well into several nights, the company finally sent a repair person to my house to replace the keyboard.  "B" is still quirky, but I'm back in business anyway (a lot of "B"s in that sentence...sigh).

Then I made the mistake of moving our internet modem/router at the request of my teenage son, who would like a wi-fi connection in his room.  I don't blame's frustrating.  We have an amplifier and he still doesn't get a signal, despite the fact that we don't exactly live in a mansion. Well, touching the stupid thing knocked down the entire precarious house of cards.  Somehow, we lost internet, cable, and the landline phone.  Even when I put it back where it came silence.

Calls to support.  More calls.  Desperate pleas.  A visit from a tech.  An appointment with an electrician.  New equipment.  Finally, we have internet and cable again...but not in my kid's room still, which began the whole mess.  Maybe I will worry about that in the future, but for now...if I have to wait around one more day for someone to show up at some point during a prolonged window of time and tell me I need to call someone else, I will lose it.  

Now, I realize these are not tragic problems, thankfully.  Merely inconveniences.  But I can't do my job--writing--without a keyboard, and I can't do the other part of my job--staying connected with readers and working with other authors--without the internet.  And of course, I'm the one organizing a big virtual party for a release event (Join here on Facebook - lots of prizes and gift cards to be had!).  So, at least for the immediate future, I'm not going to touch anything with a power cord.  And I'm going to ignore the niggling suspicion in the back of my mind that one of the ghosts from my novels is having some fun with me...

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