ME and Ophelia

Saturday, December 13, 2003

Things are hotting up here

You are driving along and, all of a sudden, hear a sharp loud CLUNK click of something that sounds like a metallic thump under the chassis. But you keep on going, straining your ears, while trying to figure it out and hoping it will just go away...

That's what happened to my laptop on Thursday. Twice in two days. The whole system became progressively slower. Screen hung and froze. Home page took five minutes. Zzzzzzz. "This program will not respond - end now" popped up every five minutes. It was 11 am. Dread and foreboding. Bangalore was beckoning. Groan. Find Dell's number. Call Ireland. Press 1 if... press 2 if .... "what is your service tag number?"..... "press 5 if 6 if ....". By mid morning I was through to Bangalore. For three hours. By 5 pm a Dell engineer was booked to arrive here the next day to replace the fan. If that did not work, a complete reinstall of Windows XP was "mentioned".

My couch area looked like a bomb had hit it. Floppy discs, half opened disc boxes, plastic wrappers, CDs, CD sleeves, envelopes, labels, paper, diary, pens, "Windows XP for Dummies" books. A mess of cushions and abandoned attempts to do my first ever back-up. Tried four floppies (too slow, took too many floppies). Set up CD writer (back-up took hour and a half only to find it was too large to fit onto one CD). Throat was getting sore. Muscles started aching. Joints were throbbing. Couldn't concentrate any longer on how to split the back-up to fit onto two CDs.

Nobody, not even Dell Bangalore or the hardware engineer they'd booked, could tell me how - or if it was even possible - to back up my Outlook Express emails. I would lose my emails? *Stress*. In the middle of this, a nice chap, passing by, knocked on my door to tell me that he could smell gas coming from a pipe attached to the side of my home. Go to gas meter cupboard. Find emergency service number. Phone emergency service operator. Explain story. Groan. Switch off fire. Open all windows. Do not flick any switches. "Someone will be there in an hour".

Convoy of three trucks (one hour apart) four engineers, parking, more walking around, opening and shutting front and back doors. Big muddy wet boots in and out to inspect and cut gas supply. Loads of questions and chat. No customery cups of tea. Did not think they would appreciate "organic Chinese Green Tea with no milk" so I tipped them beer money instead. The passer-by chap called back for a chat. I gave him a bottle of champagne as a thank you (a gift left over from last Christmas) and to wish him well. He got married last Saturday. By 7.30 that evening the gas engineers had cut, removed and sealed the 30 ft long metal gas pipe.

Next morning was Friday. My lady J was here to help for an hour. As soon as she left, the same four engineers turned up in rota over three hours. Pneumatic drills hammered away on tarmac. Someone complained about where they parked. Poured with rain while they installed new plastic pipe internally and externally. Fresh tarmac will be laid Tuesday. While this was going on, a very nice chap from the local council turned up at the door unexpectedly and came in for a fifteeen minute chat.

Just after he left, the Dell engineer turned up. While he was dismantling laptop to replace fan, two gas supervisors came back in to inspect work, reconnect gas supply and switch fire back on. They all said their goodbyes and left. New fan was in. Tipped Dell engineer beer money too before he left.

Ten minutes later, the computer switched itself off. Could not use Internet for more than five minutes without fan going into overdrive and switching the computer off. Throat was getting more sore. Muscles and joints ached more than usual. It was 4 pm Friday. *Stress*. Bangalore was beckoning again. Groan. Another call to Dell in Ireland. Find number again. Press 1 to ... press 2 to.... "what is your service tag number?"..... "press 5 if you 6 if you ...." and I was through to Bangalore, again but different technician. Fan had been wrongly installed. Engineers do not work weekends. A different engineer will be here Tuesday "maybe with a better fan". Bangalore will call me on Monday with the arrangements. Tried to call the local engineer here but there was no reply so I had to leave a message.

And I still have no back up. Just as I finished editing this post the computer switched itself off. Lost all my editing. Took all morning to do. Can't re edit. But the fire is on. Ophelia is curled up on her chair by the fire. The computer is working faster for five minutes at a time. And, thanks to the kind passer by, me and Ophelia were not blown sky high to smithereens.

# posted by Ingrid J. Jones @ 12/13/2003
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