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Sunday, February 8, 2015


When the week starts with a set back, it can be rather daunting.  I was late into work on Monday morning.  Albeit only ten minutes, and as the boss's wife, reprimands are not generally forthcoming, my daughter normally collects me from my home, and I feel rather guilty when she is late due to my tardiness.

I had decided to rearrange a drawer.  Just one drawer.  However, it was the 'nick-nack' drawer.  Despite the draw being shallow, the amount of items that are considered 'nick nacks' are inordinate, and most of the items are rather small.  Every so often, I have to steel myself to go through the 'patches' to repair beach balls, along with paper clips, pens, picture-hanging paraphernalia, and the like.  The task seems to take forever.  When I had finally finished, I was so disorientated that it was all I could do to get myself prepared to leave the house, not taking into consideration everything else that a Monday morning entails!

Eventually, I dragged myself into my daughter's car, laden down with the weeks groceries which were office bound, a travel mug full of coffee for my husband, who had left the house before daybreak, and an attitude that would have put many a child on the 'naughty step'! 

My apologies were profuse as I entered the office, and accepted without reproof.  Samantha pointed to me, and stated emphatically, 'It was her fault!', then went to sit behind her desk, denying responsibility and making it rather clear that she was not going to take any blame.  The dog jumped onto Dana's lap and greeted him as if he had not seen each other for a month of Sunday's and any lecture that may have been prepared, unlikely as it may have been, was postponed and ultimately forgotten.

I turned on my computer, and set about going through the weekend's post.  As I was sifting, I was aware of a chirping sound coming from the area of my desk.  It did not appear to be coming from above, nor behind.  I leaned forward and found that it was my computer that was twittering like a small winged beast.  Having achieved (some years ago) a diploma in Information Communication Technology, I put my knowledge to the test, and did what I generally do when my computer starts to misbehave.  I ignored the problem and hoped it would go away!  It did not.  The second 'fail safe' was to turn it off and reboot.  This appeared to solve the squeak.  However, as I opened a web browser, the noise was once again prolific.  I reverted to plan A, and continued to work.  Unfortunately, the machine was not agreeable to being snubbed, and then froze, refusing to adhere to any of my instructions.  Talking sternly to the screen seemed to have no effect!  Plan B was once again put into action, and I attempted to restart the system.  Unfortunately, this time, it failed to get past the blue screen that indicates there is a serious problem. 

Refusing to be beaten by an insubordinate group of electronic components, I called the manufacturers help desk.  I was quite sure my machine was still under warranty as it was purchased shortly after our move to the new office.  After a short wait, I was connected to a cheerful young man, who introduced himself, and then asked for my name.  There ensued a brief period of salutations, where I found out that he was doing very well on this wonderful, bright Monday morning, and he, in turn, respected the fact that what I did the previous weekend had absolutely no bearing on the problem that I was currently encountering.  Small talk aside, he asked some pertinent questions.  The serial number was the minute lettering to be found on a white decal, behind the stand that allows the screen to sit evenly on the desk, It was not immediately accessible, but with the help of a flashlight, a strong pair of reading glasses, and the ability to turn my neck at an obtuse angle, I was able to read off the digits that were printed on the sticker, which if removed voided any warranty!  I was in luck!  The sticker had not been tampered with, and my warranty still valid!

"Have you registered this complaint online?" was not an inquiry to be asked of someone with a degree in sarcasm!  My reply was in the negative, as I explained that my computer was broken, and that was the very reason as to why we were speaking.  He gave a somewhat embarrassed giggle, and confirmed that it was a 'silly' question.  His next instruction was to turn on the computer and then to let him know what was on the screen.  While I was attempting to get the screen back into an upright position, in order to boot it up, (I was now ready to boot it anywhere, and if that was to be in an upward motion, so be it!) he continued to 'chit chat'.  "So, what is it you do?  What is your line of business?"  Despite the urge to reply in the usual mode, I resisted.  Telling him that I broke computers to keep him and his pals in business, would have sent me to the naughty step for a second time!  Fortunately, although not a regular user of the social media page, displaying the bluebird, I was saved by the tweet, as the blue screen appeared and the chirping continued.  All the steps taken in an attempt to fix the problem, did nothing to alleviate the symptoms of the dying piece of hardware, and I was put 'on hold'. 

Johann Sebastian's Air on a G-string, did little to improve my temperament, but did bring me to the verge of clarity.  Whilst being treated to one of the composer's most famous masterpieces, over and over again, I called the store from where the computer was originally purchased, to check on their 'returns' policy.  The young lady who answered the phone did not understand my question, and put me 'on hold'.  With Brahms Hungarian Dance No. 5 now playing in my other ear, I waited patiently for someone to speak.  Eventually, the dance halted, and I was told that as I failed to purchase the stores additional guarantee, my only option was to contact the manufacturer for help.  My gratitude was not sincere, but expressed, none the less, and I replaced the receiver of the second phone, and continued to listen to Bach, as I definitely started to turn a 'whiter shade of pale'!

The young man's voice broke me from my stupor, as he announced that he may have another solution.  How confident was I in taking off the back of the screen to try and solve the problem? Personally, at that present time, I did not feel confident enough to sit up straight, let alone deal with the complex procedure he was suggesting, but I knew a woman who was!  Samantha was already standing at my desk, as she had been there with her trusty phone in order to give me telephone numbers for both the manufacturer and the less than helpful retailer!  Multi-tool in hand, (which I keep in my desk for tasks such as these, and in case I need to remove a stone from a horses hoof!) she started to unscrew the back of the computer screen.  It would not budge. Once again, the young man questioned my confidence, and once again I explained that I had a very capable member of staff helping me with my dilemma.  Music continued to flood through my audio capillaries as Samantha continued to find clamps that needed to be released.

"Please be careful", were the words that interrupted the pianist and violins from performing their rendition a twenty fourth time!  "Do not drop the screen or the warranty will be void".  This time sarcasm won.  I thanked him for his suggestion, as my first instinct had been to throw the item to the floor, in the hope that it would loosen the back.  I assumed all the screws, clamps and other securing objects would simply depart, leaving me with an
opportunity to see what had been disconnected.  Back on the naughty step, Bach played on!  Samantha's reprimand and suggestion that my outburst may not play out in my favour, as the first thing I had been told was, "This call may be recorded for quality purposes", pulled me back to shores of the land of the passive, (although I had yet to step foot on land!) and when my aide came back on the line, I told him, very calmly, that the final screw was under a sticky piece of tape, that read, 'Removal will void warranty'.  I was then informed that a box would be delivered to my office, so that I could pack up the machine and ship it back to them for further investigation.  "Would you like us to email you when we receive it", was 'silly' question number two.  I responded via hysterical laughter. "You will have my computer!"

Violins and a piano irritated my ears for a final time, and I was patched through to another representative, who wanted to email me a copy of the form which I was to complete, before returning my machine.  "You want me to receive the form electronically, on the computer which I am sending back to you, because it does not work.  Too right I hope this is being recorded for quality purposes!  I am sorry, I know you are just doing your job, and I hope your day had a better start than mine", was my final verbal assault!  I then responded that I was quite capable of filling out the required paperwork, that I knew what 'do not send back any wires' meant, and I completely understood that any external attachments should not be included in the package.  When I had answered all the questions that would complete my application for MENSA, I was told that I should receive the said box within a day or two.  "We will email you and let you know it has been dispatched....but you wont know until it gets there, will you?"  Hurrah! 

The box arrived the following day.  In the meantime, Dana had very kindly purchased me a new laptop.  My old 'personal' workhorse is now quite ancient, and whilst it is a great typewriter, the mouse pad does not function, and it appears to be going through the menopause, as it suffers from intermittent 'hot flushes'.  It has a few problems 'getting started', but if I turn it on first thing in the morning, by the time I have made my coffee and had a shower, it is normally ready to open at least one web page!  Much as I do not wish to put it out to pasture, I think it may be the kindest option!  The new laptop will function as my work machine, until the ailing one-year-old returns to full strength!

Getting back to work was a relief.  As the meteorological temperature rose, so did our clients, as spring appeared to poke its head through the clouds, and hibernation was at an end.  I am always thankful for a busy day, and we were inundated with work!  The phone rang frequently.  Telemarketers were also among those that appeared to have woken from the long snooze, and while they do not generally have a dormant period, they seemed to have increased in numbers, as well as confidence. 

The latest trick is really rather insulting.  A recorded message is played over the phone lines, and adds 'um's and 'ah's, to sound like they are a real person.  When questioned, 'are you a recording', the recording responds with a short laugh, followed by, "No, what makes you think that.  Do I sound that bad today?"  Why would I want to purchase anything from a company that starts off with a blatent untruth!  Ask anything that does not have a specific response the punch list, and it will retaliate with a short laugh, followed by, "I'm sorry. I cannot answer personal questions!"  I have yet to discover what is so personal about, "What is the weather like in your area?"  I know that I should really just replace the receiver, and not amuse myself trying to get the calling computer confused, but it adds just a little light relief to my day!  The telemarketer who was not a recording did not find my humour congenial.  Having not had time to drink my (now tepid) cup of coffee, let alone eat lunch (a lunch break would have been out of the question,) the call was not received at a convenient time.  However, the work week was almost at an end, and I was feeling a little light headed.  It appears that I had won a prize!  I found it a little difficult to understand the caller, as English was obviously not her first language, but I am always in awe of those who are multi-lingual.  My first thought is that only when I am as fluent in their language as they are in mine, do I have cause to complain. (Unless of course, I am in and English speaking country, and those serving refuse to speak English.  I would not expect to enter a foreign country, and expect them to converse with me in my language.  However, that is another rant, and I digress!)  I had won a prize!  My phone number had been randomly selected, and although she was not trying to sell me anything, she needed to ask me a few questions. I wanted to know what was the nature of the prize I had won!  "A new car, or twenty five thousand dollars, or a two week vacation".  Now would I answer her questions?  "What about a camera", I asked.  "I want a camera".  Quite confused, the poor unsuspecting (possibly trainee) was thrown into a whole new whirlwind.  She repeated the prizes available to me, and then repeated that she needed to ask me some questions.  "But I want a camera", was all that I could say.  I could hear a muffled sound and another voice in the background, but their words were not coherent.  For a third time, the lady repeated my options, (and to her credit, with the same enthusiasm each time,) and for a third time I asked her, "What about a camera?"  Feeling her pain, I decided not to take my frustrations out on her, and ended the call, so that she could go and 'scam' another person.  How do I know it was a scam?  I have followed these calls through to their conclusion, purely out of curiosity, and not once have I been allowed to claim my prize without conditions of one sort or another. 

My computer was collected Friday afternoon, by a very pleasant courier.  I did not receive any further notification about my new car, twenty five thousand dollars, a vacation, or indeed a camera.  I did not even get the opportunity to pass Go!  Although jail was not on the cards, the naughty step was kept extremely warm by my being seated upon it, metophorically, for a good part of the week!

The weekend ended, as did the previous one, with culinary delights.  We had enjoyed a wonderful barbecue hosted by Samantha and Edward, last weekend, whilst enjoying watching commercials which were interrupted, at intervals, by the Superbowl! This weekend, Edward had treated us to his first ever attempt at smoked brisket made on their super duper new grill!  Both Dana and I agreed that this was a habit we could get used to!  With scrumptious food, and delightful company, we enjoyed the excellent repast, and were suitably re-energized for another week.  I hope my troubles are less daunting this week, and those at the receiving end of my sarcastic wit, forgiving! 

There were some highlights to go with those of the low variety.  I hooked up with some old friends and acquaintances.  I shall be sure not to jeopardize these revived relationships with my impulsive behaviour, but look forward to letting them, and those kind enough to continue to follow my life, within this blog, in ........... another story.

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