Monday, June 28, 2010

A rough few days

This last week has been exceedingly frustrating. While I have still striven to stick to a philosophy of speed bumps and not roadblocks, occasionally, when you hit enough speed bumps, followed by a big nasty pothole, it's hard not to want to throw your hands in the air and run off as fast as your feet can carry you.

Tuesday morning began with the problem my husband and I have long dreaded. Our sump pump failed during the thunderstorms overnight, and my entire basement floor was covered with a layer of water anywhere from one to two inches deep, depending on the height of the floor in that spot. Luckily, nothing important was on the floor (though a couple of baskets of clothing had to be washed again), and nothing appeared to have taken any serious damage, but when your eight hundred something square foot basement has turned into a giant wading pool, it tends to be a bit stressful. Regardless of the frustrations (and the fact that the re-tiling project is still incomplete) I'm so very grateful that we ripped up the carpet down there last year. I can only imagine the horror that would have entailed.

In any event, I ran the hose of our mini-pump up the stairs and out through the garage, sat down on the basement steps, and called my mom to cry. She fully understood the irritation--my parents' primary pump went out, and their much larger basement had a similar water level about a week prior. I called two of my employees and got them to each cover half my shift, and spent my day pumping water out of the basement until the water level was down to a couple of puddles too shallow for my little pump to pull from, and spent much of the rest of my day vacuuming water up with the shop vac. We called our plumber out to put in a new pump, and I once again traded off with one of my employees so I could be home for the installation.

When I arrived at work at noon on Wednesday, having lost a day and a half of work time, I began trying to pull together the schedules for the month of July. We had thought that, for the purposes of training a couple of new employees, there would be some extra hours to borrow from the sales floor, but not so! There was another adjustment to the store's total hours budget, and so I now had to find a way to completely cover my department, as well as scheduling 32 hours of training with a new employee that had to come out of my standard budget, without ever scheduling said employee by her lonesome. I spent the majority of Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday beating my head against this schedule, and while my boss and I managed to work something out, it's not ideal for either of our schedules, and the fix will only work this time.

Thursday night, while playing World of Warcraft for a while to unwind, I set my laptop at an angle, off the corner of the coffee table. Unfortunately, I set it in such a way that it blocked the intake fan, and my laptop abruptly overheated and shut itself off, refusing to start for five minutes until it had cooled down. Once it started, I had to run diagnostics on it that took four hours, and wound up going to bed frustrated.

Early Friday morning, I tried logging into Warcraft for a minute, just to see that the computer was ok, but once the graphics kicked in, my screen, and then the whole computer, would freeze up, and have to be turned off manually. I went to work, and decided to test again when I got home for the evening. Same problem. We hauled out hubby's old laptop (which is still a very good computer, though it needs a bit more RAM) and I got Warcraft running on it, so we figured, ok, no problems here, I'll just WoW on one laptop, and use the other for everything else. I was on a Skype call with a friend from California on my computer when it froze up and had to be shut down, in precisely the same fashion it did with WoW. Now I'm upset. I set up Skype on the other laptop and begin installing various other programs on it, preparing myself for the inevitable.

Saturday morning I went to the salon with my husband so he could cut my hair in between clients before I had to be at the store, and we were once again discussing the sump pump. The current setup is, thankfully, functional, but due to miscommunications, and things I'd forgotten from a conversation we had back in January, we need to have some more work done, including potentially swapping out the new pump for a different one entirely. I'm frustrated both because I forgot, and because it means we have to spend yet and still more money (it was $280 to replace it in the first place, parts and labor altogether) which puts our potential vacation in August in jeopardy. Our discussion got heated, which resulted in my hair being much shorter than originally intended, and us not speaking for most of the day.

I didn't eat, other than small amounts of snacking, which was probably not the best plan ever, but I just didn't have an appetite. Late that night, after we had talked, cleared the air, and all of that fun stuff, I tried to do something basic on my laptop (I honestly don't even remember what) and it refused to work. At that point, I sort of shut down and gave up. From 9:30 Saturday night until about 6:15 on Sunday morning, I was in a daze. I think I slept, but I spent a lot of time staring at the ceiling, too.

Sunday morning was Inventory time, which in itself was actually not terribly traumatic, though the rest of the day was maddeningly busy. Due to scheduling constraints, and attempting to do something new, the 3-4 hour (my last hour of the day) I was by myself and trying desperately to keep up, and clean up for my closer. I was half an hour late getting out of work, which I will have to find a way to correct later in the week by leaving early or coming in late, and exceedingly stressed.

My regular Dungeons & Dragons game was scheduled to be Sunday night, but as I opened up my laptop (here we go, folks) to load up my notes for game, the screen remained black. I powered it off, waited a couple of minutes, and powered it back on again. Nothing. It loaded Windows (the cheery little Vista "I'm starting up now" tune played and everything) but I had no video whatsoever. I begin freaking out, realizing that all my music, my writing, all of our pictures, our checkbook... Everything of importance is on my laptop. Not on the external hard drive my brother so stunningly gave me for Christmas--on my laptop. My notes for the D&D campaign? Yep. Laptop. My first two players arrive, and I explain that we are having technical difficulties. I call my third, and another who lives in Madison and would be using Skype to play.

My Madison friend's husband, however, knows far more about computers than I, and knew how to override my computer's visual settings so I could get an external monitor to work, even though I couldn't access my display settings! When I did get visual, the signal was crap, and supported the theory that my whoopsie on Thursday night had fried my graphics card, but it at least enabled me to back up my entire profile from my laptop onto my external hard drive, so I could begin moving my settings over to the other computer. Nonetheless, with all of the stress, frustration, and general insanity of the previous several days, I was not really in any condition to run my game, so for the second session in a row, we didn't actually play. We hung out for a few hours anyway, while I moved files and tweaked settings, and installed programs I'd need, etc. I went to bed, upset about my computer, but at least secure in the knowledge that there was another one in the house I could use while we decided what to do with my silver-and-lime-green paperweight.

So this morning, I decide I want to check and make sure I've gotten absolutely everything I need off my laptop. I hit the power button, and the DELL logo appears in giant blue letters. On the laptop screen. Windows loads. No problems so far. I log into my profile, and everything displays normally. I locate the last few things I wanted to save and put them onto my external, and then I decide to try a little experiment. I open Warcraft. It gets to the login screen, nothing glitches, nothing crashes. I log in, select my character, and press "Enter World," waiting the entire time for the whole thing to come to a halt, or maybe just fade to black for good. Everything functions normally.

I play for about an hour, completely mystified that nothing appears to be wrong, log out, and do my daily Facebook check, and start writing my review of Sarah McLachlan's Laws of Illusion, as well as this post. On my laptop. You know, the one that was dead not twelve hours before?

Whiskey.

Tango.

Foxtrot.

I'm not one to look a gift horse in the mouth, but seriously. I freak out for four days because my computer is gasping out what appears to be its last breaths, and suddenly it acts like nothing is wrong at all. At least I have all my stuff backed up now, just in case.