Thursday, March 4, 2010

I Surrender: A long rant having nothing to do with scoliosis

So, can I just complain here for a moment?

I am so freaking sick of technology.

I mean, I love it. And I hate it. It’s giving me a nervous twitch and carpal tunnel syndrome. I can’t go an hour without using it and it makes me crazy and miserable.

Two weeks before we went to Philadelphia our computer, the one that Mark and I share, crashed. It had been showing signs of it for months, really. It was slowing down. It was freezing up when I would open up email. It was crashing in small ways. But we’d been putting off dealing with it. Had a couple other things on our plate to deal with. And then there's denial.

Mark, who had nothing better to do, I might add, valiantly worked on it, resuscitating it, drawing from its murky depths all our data and files we’d forgotten to copy to our backup hard disk. Temporarily, we lost everything. Permanently, we lost my calendar and contacts (mostly phone and address). For a while we had no contacts for email. Luckily, at about the same time I had become the proud owner of a new iPhone (I’ll bitch about that in a minute) and a hand-me-down laptop computer from my brother-in-law. (Thank you, Barrett!) My contacts had been laboriously, I mean lovingly, added to the phone one day while Ben and I sat at Sutter Hospital waiting for him to have a pulmonary function test required for pre-op. So, I could at least call people. And the blank laptop was ready and waiting for us to transfer my files to so I could at least do my writing.

(I should interject here that the one piece of good news was that the computer was so seriously dead that even Mark, my dear husband the electrical engineer, couldn’t pass off the problem as “user error,” an analogy for “The computer doesn’t work because there’s something wrong with YOU, my dear wife.”)

In the meantime, I had no calendar on the computer. You may not know this about me, but, I’m a calendular over-achiever. (Not a word, I know, but it works for me.) I have a paper one I carry in my backpack. I have a large format one on the bulletin board. I have one on the computer. I also have a friend named Sandy (Hi, Sandy!) who is the most organized person I know. I make her crazy. She thinks I’m a complete failure with calendars because I never get back to her right away. (She’s never said this, I just know it.) And I always lose papers she gives me that I have to return on time to our 4H club. But really, I’m very organized. It’s just in my head, not in my environment. She’s organized everywhere. I mean, I haven’t looked in her pantry, but I’ll bet you it’s all labeled and alphabetized. (I’ll check next time I’m at her house and let you know.) That’s all by way of saying that when I lost my computer calendar, I just asked Sandy to tell me what I needed to make sure I put on my calendar and she did. Right away. (Thanks, Sandy!)

Hence, it wasn’t a complete and total disaster. I just had to check my paper calendars and Sandy’s email and put it all back together.

Truth is, I barely did that. I was in the middle of planning for Toby and Harry and their caregivers for the weeks I’d be in Philly and I made several versions of calendar pages with every imaginable detail included. I needed to focus on that because I didn’t want to have to worry about it while I was gone. And it was separate from my calendar on my computer. I didn’t need to bring it with me. And I didn’t need to make plans for myself…I knew I was going to be either in the hospital next to Ben or in the hotel next to Ben.

As I said yesterday, I didn’t even think past March 1. I had a couple plans, but barely that.

In the meantime, Mark’s search and rescue operation recovered most of our data and since we didn’t trust our old computer he put it all on my nice, newish, clean-slate laptop. WAAAAA! Can I just say, I liked it all blank canvasy? I really, really did.

Within moments it was all crapped up. Sheesh.

Last Saturday night, at the Ritz-Carlton, I couldn’t sleep. (And no, I didn’t call down to the front desk to have the resident masseuse come up to help me relax…didn’t even think of it. DAMN.) It had been hard settling down. As soon as I was comfortable Ben needed water or Happy Dreams spray or a massage or pain meds. By the time I was done with all that, Mark was snoring. I got back in bed and realized I was wide awake. So I got up and thought, This is an excellent time to get my calendar going again. I opened up my laptop and my emails and started putting in the events I knew we’d have going on when I returned home in a few days.

As an aside, I’d say that I was begrudgingly using the Outlook calendar that was installed on the computer because it seemed more convenient than the calendar I used to use. I used to have a handheld device, a Palm Pilot thingee made by Sony, called a Cliè. But that was back in the day (ok, it was 8 years ago and heck it still worked) and though I wasn’t using the Cliè anymore, I was still using the calendar program that I got with it. I had recently researched other options, like Google Calendar, because what I thought made sense was having a calendar I could sync to my iPhone, too. But I didn’t like the format for that one, so I was just tired of looking and not making a decision, and I had given up.

I feel like I’m surrendering all too often these days.

Remember I said I’d talk about the iPhone in a minute? Well, people keep saying, Do you love it? And my answer is, Well, no, not really. I LOVED my iPod Nano. It was so cute and blue and did exactly what I wanted: kept my songs and my podcasts all organized and ready to go. I also was totally happy with my cell phone. It wasn’t the newest one on the block, but it had a good speaker (I hate using an ear piece, it just HURTS my ear and I always forget to charge it) so I was happy. I thought I wanted an iPhone, and I mentioned it repeatedly to Mark, so I am to blame here. But once I got it I found it to be a pain in the hiney. When I type on it I make ridiculous typos. It has a terrible speaker (at least for listening to messages, but I’ll admit the speaker for talking on the phone is a bit better). I am always calling people by accident just because my finger brushes against the face of it when I don’t realize it. (So, if you have a strange silent call from me, now you know why.) And I'm sure that because of all the reading I do on it I am going blind. Right now my screen is on "largest" type size. Largest! I don't have anywhere left to go!

When I finally synced it to my iTunes library it took hours and days and didn’t do everything right. I lost several things (albums) and had to redownload them. It erased my playlists. It downloaded podcasts I’d already listened to. And then, one day after Mark had recovered the contacts on our email account (and put it all on my new laptop) he synced my iPhone to the laptop and I got 5 million contacts on my iPhone that I didn’t want. I’m talking about email addresses for people I haven’t seen in about 10 years. ARGH.

But, I’ve moved on. At least I thought I had. And then last Saturday night I spent a good hour looking over emails and thinking over my life and inputting events into the Outlook calendar. When I returned home this week I started to put my life back on track. I set my computer to Pacific Time, I returned a few emails, I added a few things to the calendar. That’s when I noticed that most of the events had the wrong time. They were three hours earlier than they should be. In other words, when I changed the time from Eastern to Pacific, the calendar adjusted the times I’d entered in Eastern time. Is that the most stupid thing you’ve ever heard of? I’m sure there’s some way to get around it. But my IT guy (Harry) and I haven’t figured it out yet. We changed the time back to Eastern time zone and adjusted the clock by three hours and now I see it’s marking my emails with true Eastern time, not the time in the left bottom corner of my computer. I have no idea what to do, except maybe throw my computer out the window. (My IT guy says "percussive maintenance," i.e. hit it with a rock.)

I don’t know what people do who don’t have husbands who are electrical engineers or sons who are computer geeks. Maybe they have less technology and are happier. Whatever, they couldn’t be more freaking sick of technology than I am.

I surrender.


Jenny said...

Oh no! I fear that I initiated this rant of yours! So sorry. And I agree, I have no idea what I would do without my IT guy husband. But I do have to say that I was a lot more techno savvy before I began to depend on him. My brain just keeps leaking out in bits and pieces...

Sandy said...

Just two things: I do NOT think you're a complete failure because you don't get back to me right away... sheesh! I didn't even realize you weren't getting back to me right away... when does that happen?

And I'll solve the mystery for you... yes, my pantry is alphabetized. I admit it. But just the seasonings! and it wasn't my idea. It's a tip I learned from my mom who spent a few years living on a boat... tight spaces in hard to reach places you know...

:-) Love ya!

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