Saturday, August 30, 2008

Broken Bones and Broken Homes

As these journals accumulate, I think the one word that’ll crop up in almost every one is "hectic." It’s the one word that consistently describes my life, and my family’s. For instance, my oldest daughter has been preparing all week to head off to college - yay, class of 2012! One of the things that needed doing was to purchase a laptop so she’d be able to check all her facebook activities while at school since she wouldn’t have the home desktop computer to use anymore. I checked the paperwork that accompanied some of the scholarship checks she’d gotten at the end of her high school career and found that the money could be spent on a computer, among all the other necessary things like tuition, housing, meal plans, books, etc., which is a darn good thing since this poor woodsman can't afford to be running out and buying new comuters at the drop of a graduate's mortar.

We decided to go with a Dell laptop running Windows XP; first, because a friend had suggested Dell’s refurbished computer department on their website; and second, because Windows Vista is still reported to have far too many problems to stick with my kid where I’m not around to help out with the thing. Besides, I’ve been running a Dell laptop with Windows XP for nearly three years now and have had little trouble to speak of to date. We got the computer in on Tuesday and she couldn’t wait to open it. Unfortunately, she didn’t have the patience to go through the little Q&A at the beginning, and I suspect she simply shut the unit off without doing anything to actually get it started properly.

Before I go any further with that tale, however, allow me to mention that as I was on my way home from ye old day job on Tuesday, I’d gotten a call from my dear wife to say that she was on her way to the emergency clinic a couple towns over to bring one of our boys in to get x-rayed because she suspected he’d broken his arm while playing kickball down at the circle at the end of our street. Needless to say, I was not in any state of mind to deal with the computer issue that night. By the time they’d gotten home from the clinic, it was discovered that my boy had indeed broken the radial bone in his right arm. And as if that weren’t enough, he’d ALSO broken the radius bone in his LEFT arm! That’s right - my son’s got two broken arms the week before school starts! Amazingly, he was in very good spirits coming back home, complaining only of throbbing in his arms from having to wear splints under Ace Bandages overnight. He got real casts the following day, and has not complained at all about it since. On the contrary, he’s set up his brother’s drum upstairs in their bedroom and plays it with his casts. He was shopping for back-to-school supplies the other day with his mother and she told me he was strumming up and down the grille of the shopping cart with the casts too, as if it were a xylophone! And you should see all the names he’s collected on the casts, too.

Moving ahead to the end of the week now, and dealing with my home-breaking college-bound daughter again, I started to dive into the new computer so we could work out any bugs ahead of time. It became apparent very early in the registration and Q&A process that something was decidedly wrong with this unit. It took me nearly an hour just to get the computer to boot up and make it through the basic Q&A (what’s your name, what time zone are you in, do you want to set up an internet account, etc). I explored what I could, but didn’t see anything obvious, and at 2 GB of RAM and 2 GHz of processor speed, this thing should have been (on paper, at least) the fastest computer in the house! It took me another hour or two to load on the Norton Anti-Virus we bought to keep things from getting all virus-y later on. Without getting too deep into the tech support fiascos that ensued, suffice it to say I’ve put in at least 12 hours trying to get the computer to operate normally, and Dell technicians have devoted at least 5 hours from their end trying to help me with it, and I’m no closer to having an actual operating computer than if it was still sealed in the box.

As you may have guessed by now, the computer did not accompany my daughter to college this afternoon. In fact, between my day job and trying to get that computer running, I hadn’t had any time to devote to Smile Moon Woodworking all week. I grabbed a couple hours very early this morning, though, and put the finishing touches on a project I was working on for a school teacher to help her determine whose papers to collect during class. I present here for your inspection, The Wheel of Misfortune:

It’s a miniature version of your standard carnival wheel with a little flapper up top that hits all the little nails on their way past to slow down the wheel and stop it on a given field. It’s up to her to customize the fields at this point. I can’t wait to hear back to see how it’s received by her students! Hopefully, her colleagues will see it and think of other crazy things they’d like for their classrooms as well! Here’s hoping...

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I love the carnival wheel! I wish I needed one....well I'll keep it in mind and try to apply it somewhere, then I'll order one, I would probably just spin it all day and listen to the heavenly sound of bearings ;)