Thursday, February 7, 2013

Panic time

When I last posted I was in the middle of a DEFCON 4 Household Meltdown. We had: a vomiting child! A flat tire! A smoldering kitchen light that threatened to fill our house with toxic mercury fumes. It was--overwhelming. Add in the lecture I was supposed to deliver for a friend's class via Skype Wednesday afternoon and I was a bit tense, as you might imagine.

I responded to that tension by baking cookies and joining the children on the couch for the PBS Kids Marathon we had going on for the first part of the week. It's been a while since any of us has watched Barney. It still sucks.

Thankfully, our babysitter read my increasingly panicked Facebook updates on Monday morning and offered to come over on Tuesday to watch everyone for a few hours so I could work. YES YES AND MORE YES I REALLY HOPE YOU WEREN'T JUST BEING POLITE.

And then Charlie started complaining that "it felt weird to breathe" periodically and when I nonchalantly mentioned this and his other symptoms to the phone nurse she quickly, and with more alarm in her voice than I think the situation warranted, scheduled an appointment for him Tuesday afternoon. This was good because I already had a sitter and wouldn't have to repeat Charlie's hellatious dermatologist appointment last week where the younger boys' behavior was so horrible I can't even begin to think of how I would turn it into something funny and endearing. This was bad because I HAD SO MUCH WORK TO DO.

So, I squeezed in an hour of prep sitting on my bed with Charlie's pitiful, sweaty head in my lap and the TV on, Wes playing Angry Birds at my feet, James napping, mercifully, before Charlie's appointment. Then I drove Charlie to the doctor where he experienced a miraculous recovery and acted perfectly healthy for the whole exam.

The next morning after dropping everyone off at school (HOORAH!) I opened up my laptop to put the finishing touches on my slides and noticed it was almost out of power. So I found the adapter and plugged everything in and continued working.

And then I looked down and realized it wasn't charging.

Crap. I unplugged everything and plugged it back in. Nothing.

I unplugged it, took the battery out, put it back in, and turned it on. Nothing. No battery. No charging. TWENTY FREAKING MINUTES TO DEAD COMPUTER TIME.

I called Ryan and started crying. It was highly professional. He walked me through some troubleshooting steps. They did not help. He asked me to plug it into a different outlet in the house. I did that and it did not help. Panic was rising in the back of my throat. Finally I asked him to Google the number for my school's library (BECAUSE MY COMPUTER NOW HAD 15 MINUTES TO LIVE) so I could ask them about another computer equipped with a webcam and Skype that I could use in three hours. There was nothing. I called IT. They had no idea.

So I called my dad. He had a computer with Skype! He could bring it over! The day is SAVED! I emailed him my presentation so he could make sure his computer had Powerpoint and he told me he'd be here soon.

Well, he arrived while I was away getting Wes and James from the preschool. When I got home The IT Department had come to my bedroom. Ryan and my dad were surrounded by about five different computers when I got there and NONE OF THEM WOULD WORK.

My dad's computer wouldn't connect to the wifi, the desktop doesn't have a wifi card, my stupid busted hate hate hate computer which has both Skype AND a webcam as well as all my materials on its hard drive had FIVE MINUTES TO LIVE.

They typed and tried and downloaded and monkeyed around for fifteen minutes while I stalked around the room muttering about my computer like a caged tiger with Tourrette's. I asked cautiously "Is it time for me to call and say I can't do it?" afraid of the answer. Ryan was downloading Skype on his work computer as fast as he could. My dad responded "Almost!" The panic began to take over. I forced myself to say "This is such a pain, I sure hope it can be fixed" instead of "I want to throw that piece of shit out the window" because the kids were in the room with us and I didn't want them to *actually* throw the piece of shit (or any piece of shit) out the window. There was still a chance I could sell it on Craigslist as a paperweight.

Lots of people, lots of computers, lots of tension in my bedroom; it was like Mission Control, except angrier and more ridiculous. I mean, who do you have to piss off to have every computer thing in your life go bad half an hour before an important Skype lecture THAT I WAS GETTING PAID FOR.

Finally, with minutes to spare, my dad plugged his computer's power cord into my computer and turned it on and IT WORKED. I could not believe it.

The call itself went fine even though my systolic blood pressure was still somewhere in the 200s and the slides were still in the state I left them in Tuesday night at midnight when I was falling asleep on my keyboard (which is to say: not good). It was hard and intimidating, but fine. I even managed to maintain my focus (mostly) when I could hear the thump thump thump of the kids playing basketball outside my window or the clomp clomp clomp of big feet running through the kitchen to get water. The other professor described it a great presentation and exactly what she had hoped I would talk about.

Ryan ordered me a new power cord. It should be here tomorrow night. I'm too tired to think up something satisfying to do to the old one (revenge) so I'll probably just throw it away.


Chiconky said...

OMG! I would've started drinking. So glad it all worked out!

A. said...

Glad it all worked out for the best, and hope you had a super stiff drink later that night. Gah, technology! Puke!

sarah said...

OMG!!!!! My blood pressure went through the roof just reading this!! "Caged tiger w/ tourettes"--classic.

Sarah said...

Sounds like you handled it perfectly.

Brooke said...

I feel like I need to lie down with a cool rag on my forehead after reading that.

Glad it worked out.