Saturday, March 07, 2009

Taking Steps

The Sony PC had begun to limp along. Only three years old (we think -- it might be a tad older but as we age we lose track of time) it was fast getting ready to deliver the blue screen of death. Microsoft XP was still allowing it to function but just barely. The PC had come with a partitioned hard drive and we had frilled the C portion with no idea really how to successfully access the D portion (which for some unknown reason was larger). Then sometime last month I jacked up Earthlink, our Internet provider, and only the e-mail was working properly. We could access the web but through a very round about way - and the virus protection ceased to function at all. Thus, of course, we got infected with a couple of Trojans. I quit sending e-mails two weeks ago just in case.

During the past week I located the application disks and the Sony software disks -- a couple of years ago we got a metal disk holder and relocated all the application disks to it. Hubby unplugged the PC this morning and we lugged it over to the "Nerd Guys" -- not their actual name but a shop only a couple of jogs from the house. These guys will wipe hard drives clean and save your documents in the process. Handing over the PC was rather like giving up a member of the family, especially when they admitted it would probably be nine days before we'd see it again. They only had 45 desktops ahead of us . . . they thought that was a small number. But they were very accommodating and made me feel secure when they looked at the Sony restore disks and said, "Gee do you really want us to use those? We can, but, you know, you get a lot of junk with them and we could just put XP on your restored (and undivided) hard drive along with all your saved Documents." And I thanked them profusely and agreed. They also took my Office application disk but really thought that probably they'd let me reinstall Earthlink and the HP printer application. Which is okay because you probably need to be with the printer and have the router hooked up to make those work.

It was scary though to suddenly be forced to finally learn to use the Mac which had been sitting on our desk along with the Sony for the past year. I had one so long ago (1989 - 1993) that the technology and vocabulary is no longer intuitive for me. I spent two hours just trying to figure out Mail (the Mac e-mail system). Eventually I began to realize that I could make it work just fine if I'd overcome the fact that words like "folders" and other regular PC terminology just aren't appropriate. Sigh. Learning curves seem to get longer and longer for me. Hubby got the Mac last summer and I've used it to create two newsletters and to play the Sims. That's it. Then from November on we have not touched it at all -- the machine sat so dormant that I forgot where the turn-on button was (behind the monitor screen). Here sat this beautiful, expensive, and vibrant computer and we didn't even acknowledge we owned it.

So the Sony is being restored and we are learning to use the Mac. It has the newest software (well, newest in 2008). I'm impressed with the calendar. It works as well, if not better, than the one in Outlook. The address book is separate from the mail program -- but Mail knows exactly where the addresses are. Also it's a nifty little application all in itself -- you no longer have to open your e-mail just to see an address or a phone number. The addresses were input from the Sony when we acquired the Mac. Hubby had the forethought to take it to the Apple dealer and have EVERYTHING downloaded from the Sony into the Mac. Now that's sweet. All my files are in-tact and in order and look just like my files on the Sony. Mail carries a 3 star (out of 4 stars) rating and I'm learning that it will do the things I want (like always check my spelling before I send out e-mail), I just have to get used to it doing things a tad bit differently and with different names (you don't save your mail to folders but to mailboxes on the MAC).

Because the Sony needed a healthy shot of regeneration, we're learning to use this lovely bright, visual Mac. And the Sony, according to the Nerds will be returned as good as new and since it was a high-end machine three years ago will be good to go for another three years -- especially if mostly what we plan to do with now is play games.

Then we stopped at our favorite shoe store, just down the road from the Nerd repair store, and used our Christmas store credit to buy me two new pairs of summer shoes. The spring styles were in and my feet felt free and fanciful. I got a wonderful pair of cloth covered, embroidered Sanita's (the Danish clog like the one at the right but mine are not traditional clogs but have backs) and a pair of sandals that had to be ordered because I wanted them in black instead of brown. Of course we could have bought a very serviceable PC for what we spent on just two pairs of my shoes -- but my feet just danced out of the store in my Sanita's.

Finally we hunted the aisles at the local U.S. Toy for accoutrement for the spring reading by my Freshman/Sophomore English class of Julius Caesar. We found Roman helmets for a buck each but I had to spring $5.50 for the stand-out one for Caesar -- it had a red feather comb on the top. The package of swords ran $15 but I got an even dozen so my boys will have a ball sparring with each other. This should make the reading of the play just that more dramatic.

On a more somber note, little Gussie had his teeth cleaned on Thursday and had a very hard time of it -- not physically but because he lost three more of his precious teeth (and my bank account lost half a grand plus). Our vet assures us he has at least three more dentals before he's completely toothless, but that boy sure inherited some awful teeth. He came home all wobbly and shaken but by today he was ready for his pork chop bone.

We are all ready for spring.

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