Friday, October 9, 2015

Yesterday Was a Terrible Day!

How can I be so really excited and on a natural high one day and then the very next day it takes a terrible turn? Well, that's how yesterday was. And it has nothing to do with my surgery. It's technology---and that seems to be what can throw me into a tail spin every time! You may recall this post. Here's the recent story.

I have to go back to last week right after my surgery. Butch started it! He could not get the printer to print. Now it's not his fault---nor am I suggesting that it is. We have trouble with the printer occasionally. There are all kinds of hoops that I have to jump through to get it up and running again. The problem was that I could not get upstairs to deal with it. By the time I tried to explain everything to Butch to try, not only was the printer not working, but he had my desktop computer royally screwed up. It was time to go to plan "B."

I had him bring down my "travel" printer. Everyone has a travel printer, right? Now, you might recall that I have a multiples problem. (And if you want more proof, just put "multiples problem" in the search box above and see what pops up.) Soooo, he brought the printer downstairs and set it up on the fireplace hearth while I walked him through it from the couch. This also meant downloading the drivers from the internet for his laptop. After a paper jam and other aggravations for him, he was finally back in business. For a moment there, I did think he might have a stroke. If you think I can't handle technology problems very well---he can't handle them at ALL.

Fast forward to this past Monday. I wasn't concerned about the printer upstairs---knowing I would get to it when I could. Instead, I started to have some email problems. I could "receive", but suddenly could not "send."There was no rhyme or reason for it. Butch wasn't having any problems. All day Monday, I wasn't quite sure how to handle the situation. If I called Comcast, I would get someone that I would have trouble communicating with, would waste a lot of time and not be able to help me in the end. Comcast is notably inept. (Can you tell I've been there before?) They would then tell me it wasn't their problem---but a "Mac" problem. I would then call Apple, only to have them tell me it was a Comcast problem. Yeah, that's what would happen and the Apple people would be right!

I just ignored the problem---planning to deal with it on Tuesday. I'm much better at dealing with problems in the morning---that morning person thing and all. Well, Tuesday morning, first thing when I opened the lid to my laptop, I heard that familiar "swhooshing" sound that can make my heart go "pittypat" like no other. Happy again that I was back in business. Just some stupid glitch. Well, I would be wrong. Sure, the emails that were in my outbox all day on Monday sent, but nothing would send on Tuesday or Wednesday. I had to address the problem.

Wednesday was my "happy" day---after seeing the doc and getting the boot. I was on a natural high all day. I decided to use my new "best friend" to find a computer guru to just come to the house and fix my problems. My "old" guy, Troy---who helped me so much in the past---and is truly a genius---sent out a notice about a month ago that he would no longer be doing that. I had no choice but to turn to my new "best friend"---Thumbtack! I've already mentioned it when finding a photographer for the wedding. Think of it as a giant bulletin board of business cards for every possible service you could possibly need.

I found a guy that agreed to come out for $40.00 which included the service call and 2 hours of work. My old guy charged $125 an hour, so I was really happy with $40! You know what they say about if something seems too good to be true? Well, that is exactly what this was.

Now it's Thursday morning. The computer guy---who is supposed to know all about the Mac--- is scheduled to come around 11:30. I went up to my office to "fix" my desktop computer and printer. I fixed the computer problem pretty quickly---just needed a restart. After going through all of the normal stuff, I kept getting an error message on the printer. I went to the internet and saw all kinds of time intensive ways to fix it---none of which were foolproof. I did the easy things, but they didn't work. The printer is 5 years old, so I got the brainy idea that I would just get a new one. After all, I had this computer guru coming, he could set it up for me. I promptly went online, found another Canon "all-in-one" and sent Butch to Office Depot to pick it up. 45 bucks! This with the cost of the computer guy service call was still way under what it would have cost for my old guy to come out. You get what you pay for.

The computer guy got here around 12:30. You know how sometimes you can tell right away you are in trouble? Well, this was one of those times. When I brought him in to the family room and had him settled in Butch's chair, I handed him my laptop and said, "Let's start with my email problem." He looked at my laptop and ran his hand over it and said, "niiiiicccceeee." Like he'd never seen a Macbook Air before. My antennae went up!

Now, let me make this very long part of the story very short (as if this story isn't long enough already!). He sat there for TWO hours trying everything he could to fix it. I sat there and finished my book and thumbed through FOUR magazines! I was pretty nervous about everything he was doing and could tell that he was trying to figure out the problem by checking the internet. We were getting no where and I could tell that I knew more about the Mac than he did---I'm a 20+ year user, but believe me, I don't know much about the technical stuff. That's what happens when you rely on someone else!

I decided that I needed to break up this party. I sat there and figured out what I wanted to say so as not to offend him---but also knowing that I did not want to pay him more than 40 bucks. Finally, I said, "look, nothing seems to be working. I'll just call Comcast and start there." He went on about what he'd tried and didn't understand why it didn't work. He tried to blame it on the Yosemite OS I was running and have been since it came out 6 months ago---without a problem all this time. He also admitted that he only knew a "little bit" about the Mac. Of course, prior to hiring him, I asked questions about his knowledge with the Mac. He assured me he could handle it. NOT!!

I said, "let me go ahead an pay you." He, very nicely said, "No, I wasn't able to help you, I wouldn't feel right about taking the money." I thanked him for being so nice and trying to help. I sent him on his way. I felt duped, so didn't feel bad about not paying him. I went back to my computer. ALL of the emails that were in my inbox were GONE!! Now for those of you that know me, this would not ordinarily be a big deal. I do not keep things in my inbox. The only reason I did this time was because they were things that needed responding to and I was holding them for when I could respond. Now they were gone!

I calmed down and thought, "okay, I'll just get them from the trash." The trash was empty too! The sent mail was empty too! Basically, ALL of my emails were gone. Thank goodness, my folders and stored emails appeared to be okay.

I called Comcast and got a really nice guy that I could actually understand. We spent about a half hour on the phone, changing numbers in this port and that. Finally, he laid the line on me that I knew was coming, "I'm sorry mam, this must be an Apple problem. Here's the number of tech support." I had the thought---which I always preach to Butch---"whenever something isn't going right, restart your computer." Of course I had already done that to try to fix the problem on my own. But it had not been done with all of this changing of things.

Lo and behold, restarting seemed to fix my problem---or so I thought. It's another long story that I am not going in to right now---but suffice it to say that due to the "cloud," now my iPhone is messed up!

I was happy to have my email working again. Now I decided to deal with hooking up the new printer. I've hooked up printers before and can easily download print drivers---nothing I can't handle. It's the getting all 4 of our computers to connect wirelessly that I was unsure of. Again---Troy!

I went up to my office, downloaded the set-up application from the internet, waited the 10 minutes or so---only to get the message that the software is not compatible with my computer. Before buying the printer, I actually had that thought. That's why I bought an older printer for such a good price. But apparently, it wasn't old enough. The technology of the printer is newer than that of my 6 year old desktop. I usually replace my computers every 5 years. I decided that I was NOT going to replace my desktop since I mostly use my laptop. I use the desktop to pay bills, print pictures, plan my classes, write my class handouts and do my scrapbook journaling. ALL of my photos are on that computer (backed up, of course) and ALL of our music is on that computer (several summers ago, I put about 800 cd's on it). And, because I also have a problem with fonts, I have about a thousand of them all neatly organized in folders by type. You can never have too many fonts either.

I reconciled myself that I would now always have to print from my laptop---shuffling photos to that for printing. A pain, but not the end of the world.

I went through the set up process 3 times---taking me about an hour. The message says that everything was downloaded successfully, but it doesn't work. I couldn't think of anything else to do. Butch gave it a try for another hour with no success.

So here's how it stands:
1. My laptop mail still isn't "right" but I can send and receive email.
2. My time machine is still not backing up (another problem I had planned for the tech guy to handle---I never even got to that).
3. We have a new printer that is not working.
4. My iPhone is "not right."
5. I'm back to square one. I need a Mac guru to come out to my house and take care of everything!!

Oh, Troy, I miss you so....

Thursday, October 8, 2015

On Getting Your Hopes Up!

I try to always be optimistic---which isn't so hard since I was born this way.  But today, Butch said I shouldn't get my hopes up. I texted that to the girls and told them it was too late. Of course my hopes were up. I don't even know what it feels like to have your hopes "down!"

I had my follow-up visit today after my foot surgery last week. Apparently, we both heard completely different things from the doctor. Last time I had this surgery, I had to go in to a hard cast. Butch thought I was going in to another splint cast this time, while I "heard" I was going straight to the boot. Well, I got the BOOT!!! Oh happy day!!!

The heavy cast the last time killed my knees and "activated" my hives. I definitely didn't want that again. Butch was so surprised and said he didn't understand if I had to wear the cast for 4 weeks last time and then the boot for 4 weeks, how could I skip the cast? We started discussing it and decided that there were several things at play.

1. I had the experience of the first surgery and knew what to expect.
2. I followed the doctor's orders to the letter and cut my recuperation by 3 weeks the last time.
3. The nurse/technician, resident and doctor seemed surprised that I have NO pain. That's a good thing, right??? I only took the pain pills for the first 3 days. In fact, I used the same ones left over from the last time. Yes, I'll admit, for half a second I considered refilling the new oxycodone prescription just to sell them and make a few bucks. But, I'm no drug dealer. If I were to have this surgery again---which of course I won't---I still have enough of the pills left from surgery #one.
4. The doctor seemed a bit incredulous that I said this surgery was easier. Neither Butch nor I understood that reaction. I guess had he planted the seed that this one would be harder, I would have reacted to that.
5. In actuality, the doctor never actually said what he was going to do and we both just "assumed" what we did.

Any way you cut it, I'm so happy to be in the boot. Don't get me wrong. It's still uncomfortable and bulky. It rubs me in all the wrong places---which isn't good for my hives either. But, I am much more mobile and can take it off while sitting. In two weeks, I won't even have to wear it to sleep. Since it's my left foot this time, I can drive. I promised Butch that I'll take it easy and not drive yet. In reality, I pretty much HAVE to take it easy. I can really only be up walking around in the boot about 10 minutes max before it starts hurting my back. So, I won't be hitting the mall or anything like that for awhile. Still, I plan to meet friends for lunch, play bridge, get back to Movie Monday and go to the theater events on my calendar. A friend loaned me a rolling chair---it's sort of like a wheel chair except someone has to push it. That's what I'll use if there's any length of walking involved in my excursions. I'm still pretty limited.

That's okay with me. I'll take comfort over being able to maintain my regular busy schedule. Besides, I'm getting so much done around here. I'll have to share my latest stitching project soon.

Still not bored! I'm so lucky to have friends who visit me! Yesterday a few of them came over to have lunch with me and watch a movie. We spent the first hour or so just catching up. I need my "girls!" Plus, it was a nice break for Butch and his caretaking duties!

I'm glad I got my hopes us. It worked out just fine for me!!

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

53 Books You Can't Put Down

I've had this list on my computer desktop for months. I don't even remember where it came from. I've never taken the time to actually go through it. Besides, it's not like I don't have enough reading material. As we speak, I have 174 book samples just waiting to be purchased and read. Some of those are on this list. Forced sedentarianism  (okay, so I made up this word---but it really says it all) has given me time to catch up on all those Ted Talks, layout processes, Apple Keynotes and tons of blog reading. Reading anything about books is always at the top of my list. I certainly don't want to miss a thing! After all, y'all, people come to me for book recommendations!

My criteria these days for putting a book on my "sample" (actually, my "to be read") list is one of these three reasons:
1. The book comes highly recommended from another bibliophile who I respect. Maybe respect isn't quite the word. Let's change that to another bibliophile whose recommendations I trust---knowing we share similar tastes and interests in books (Connie, Stephanie, Sandy, Chrissy).

2. The book has 4.5 stars on Amazon with at least 100 ratings.

3. The book is by one of my favorite authors. In that case, I don't care about the ratings. But, I do beware of books that come out right before Christmas. Usually, the author is meeting a deadline. I've found that those books often are not their best work.

Currently, I'm reading Orphan #8. This one came recommended by Chrissy. It's really good so far. I love books around the turn of the century or the early part of the 1900's. It's about a little girl in an orphanage who is used for medical experimentation. It seems downright barbaric that something like this could happen. There's one twist in the book that I was not happy about, but I guess the author wants to keep you guessing.

Here's the list with a few comments from me. The ones in green I have downloaded to my sample list. The ones in blue are those I've already read.

53 Books you can’t put down:
Never Let Me Go---Kazuo Ishiguro
Safekeeping---Jessamyn Hope
The Book of Night Women---Marlon James
The Time Traveler’s Wife---Audrey Niffenegger (saw this movie, so won't bother with the book. I liked it really well.)
11/22/63---Stephen King (I’ve always loved Stephen King---until IT. I quit reading for a decade and have just within the last 5 years---started up again. I forgot what a genius he is. Add Mr. Mercedes to your list).
Who Asked You---Terry McMillan
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time---Mark Haddon
Circle of Friends---Maeve Binchy (I read this in the 1980’s).
Legend---Marie Lu (another series---I’m not ready to tackle)
Season of Storms---Susanna Kearsley
Thirteen Reasons Why---Jay Asher
Dark Places---Gillian Flynn (personally, I thought Sharp Objects was better)
Ready Player One---Ernest Cline (sci-fi)
Zone One---Colson Whitehead
Maybe Someday---Colleen Hoover
The Orenda---Joseph Boyden
Luckiest Girl Alive---Jessica Knoll
Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe---Benjamin Alire Saenz
All the Light We Cannot See—Anthony Doerr (I haven’t met too many WWII sagas that I did not like).
Undress Me in the Temple of Heaven---Susan Jane Gilman
The Lying Game---Sara Shepard
Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World---Haruki Murakami
Think of a Number---John Verdon
Heart of Darkness---Joseph Conrad (I read this in highschool and don’t really remember much about it. I might have to read it again).
Reconstructing Amelia---Kimberly McCreight (so very good with many twists).
Salvage the Bones---Jesmyn Ward
The New York Trilogy---Paul Auster
And the Sea Will Tell---Vincent Bugliosi
Kindred---Octavia E. Butler
The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo---Stieg Larsson (you really should read the other two in the series---all excellent)
The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August---Claire North
The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer---Michelle Hodkin
Devil in a Blue Dress---Walter Mosley
Life as We Knew it---Susan Beth Pfeffer
Midnight’s Children---Salman Rushdie
Rosemary’s Baby---Ira Levin (read this in the 70’s---creepy)
Eleanor & Park---Rainbow Rowell
Shantaram---Gregory David Roberts
Native Son---Richard Wright
The Secret History---Donna Tartt
The Name of the Wind---Patrick Rothfuss
Daughter of Smoke & Bone---Laini Taylor
A Piece of Cake---Cupcake Brown
And Then There Were None---Agatha Christie (I started reading AC in the 7th grade. I'm not sure how I discovered her as my mother did not read AC. I remember feeling all grown up carrying around The Murder of Roger Acroyd! I always loved them---but haven’t read any in years)
Heart-Shaped Box---Joe Hill
Seraphina---Rachel Hartman
Blasphemy---Sherman Alexie
Crime and Punishment---Fyodor Dostoevsky (another I feel like I’ve read in highschool, but can’t really remember)
The Light of the World---Elizabeth Alexander
I Am Pilgrim---Terry Hayes
Consequences---Aleatha Romig
Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close---Johathan Safran Foer
The Mountain Story---Lori Lansens
The Last Time We Say Goodbye---Cynthia Hand
Things You Won’t Say---Sarah Pekkanen
A Fall of Marigolds---Susan Meissner (this one is so good---goes back and forth in time---another style I love)
The Boston Girl---Anita Diamant
First Frost---Sarah Addison Allen
The Book of Unknown Americans---Cristina Henriquez
Before I Go---Colleen Oakley
Inside the O’Briens---Lisa Genova (just go this for book club).
Landline---Rainbow Rowell
Yes Please---Amy Poehler (this has turned up on many lists. I just might have to read it).
The Girl on the Train---Paula Hawkins (very good, but I didn’t really get all the hubbub).
Pride and Prejudice---Jane Austen (another that I think I read in highschool, but can’t really remember---it’s free, so I downloaded to my Kindle)
Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand---Helen Simonson
Jane Eyre---Charlotte Bronte (loved, loved, loved it in highschool---should read it again. Wuthering Heights by Emily, her sister is my ALL TIME FAVORITE BOOK! Oh Heathcliff! This one wasn't on the list---I put it there.
The Sugar Queen---Sarah Addison Allen
Anne of Windy Poplars---L.M. Montgomery
Outlander---Diana Gabaldon’s (this has been on my list for awhile---I really need to get to it)
Arabella---Georgette Heyer
Fifty Shades of Grey---E L James (not sure why this is on the list. I read the first one because I wanted to be in the know. Pretty disturbing and not particularly well written---as if I'm the one to judge as the author laughs all the way to the bank!
A Spool of Blue Thread---Anne Tyler

There you have it. Let me know which ones you've read and consider that I MUST read.

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Monday, October 5, 2015

Another Problem

And I really can't complain because I don't have too many problems---and this barely even qualifies for a problem---more like an annoyance. But here goes.

How do you read a magazine online? Okay, I get the reading part---even making the print larger so you can actually read it. But how do you "clip" articles or recipes you might like to refer back to? Or even to just print something. For example, there's a great scrapbook magazine that is only available online. How I wish I could just order and PAY for a print copy---but sadly scrapbook magazines are just about all gone now. The free online magazine is called Jot. It's supercool, but I would like to be able to make notes of ideas and techniques as I go along. Surely there's an easy way to do this. Anybody??

Don't make me go back to pen and paper!!

Sunday, October 4, 2015

What a Waste!

You know that first time you wake up in the morning, but it's not time to get up? You still have 27 minutes. You waste 27 minutes laying there because you have to go to the bathroom, but you don't want to get up because it's not time to get up. So instead you think you'll doze back to sleep but you can't because, well, you know. You toss and turn, waste the 27 minutes, get up, take care of business and now it IS time to get up.

Why, oh why don't I just get up right away and give myself back those 27 minutes? It certainly weren't a pleasant way to spend 27 minutes. What a waste!

Saturday, October 3, 2015

Starbucks Update

Remember my recent post: "I Never Knew?" about my Starbucks card being hacked? Well, it's been a huge hassle. I called and thought it was all straightened out. I patiently (okay, not so patiently) waited for my new card with my $97.00 to come in. the gist of it was that the old card was cancelled and the new card was on the way. It never did arrive.

Since I didn't have the card, I wasn't using it---and therefore not even getting credit for the drinks I did buy. I went online---just for the heck of it---and---you've probably guessed---it was HACKED AGAIN!!! I guess by the same person.

I had to call back a second time about a week and a half ago. At first I couldn't get through---I kept getting disconnected---three times. Someone would answer, I'd launch in to my story and then, disconnect! You know how aggravating that is. I went back online and sent an email that way. Before you can submit your question/problem you have to put in your account number. I NO LONGER HAD THE CARD!!! And, I had deleted it from my Passbook on my phone. I was really frustrated, but somehow, I got my email through and someone emailed me back. Apparently, Starbucks has good records because they referenced my first call. The email told me that someone would be calling me within 24 hours---and they did! Yeah for Starbucks.

When I answered the phone, I thought, "Great, I have to go through all of this explaining again!" But, no. The person on the other end already was up to speed on my situation. She said that what happened is that my first card somehow was NOT cancelled and the $97.00 was reloaded on to it. That's how the criminal was able to scam them for another $97.00. This representative said that finally that card was cancelled. She had me change my password on my account. Of course, it's not one I can easily remember anymore---uppercase, lowercase, symbol and number---you know the drill. I did it and wrote down the new password in my handy-dandy password keeper.

The card was supposed to arrive in 3-5 days. Well, I was pretty sure they must have been using the pony express because a week later, it still hadn't arrived. Come on, all the way from Seattle? Mail has gotten really slow when it takes two days here in town these days. Still, I waited.

Yesterday made it 10 days. I told myself that if it didn't arrive, I was going to have to call back again. Of course, I said that on day 7, 8, 9. But this time I really meant it. Lo and behold---it came!!! I was one happy convalescent! That plus that fact that my friend, Karolyn---who NEVER even does Starbucks---stopped and picked up my favorite "ventiicedblackteashakenwiththreeequalsplease!" I was so happy! It's the little things.

I waited until today to register the new card. It's not like me at all to have negative thoughts, but I was just sure it was going to be difficult. Nope, it was easy as pie. Starbucks knows their stuff! I even got the new card back on my Passbook on my phone. I'm all set. It'll be awhile yet before I can use it, but I'm ready.

You woulda thought that the criminal would have at least been earning stars for me. The way I figure, I should have had at least two free drinks coming. Hey wait a minute. If I took those free drinks, I guess I'd of been a thief too.

Good not to have been tested.