Technological Woes

I’m trying to work on a project.

All was calm with the children and I reckoned I could probably count on half an hour of peace and quiet before things started to deteriorate. I know, thinks I, I’ll work on my project.

It’s not something complicated, just formatting some text so that it is all consistent. I should be able to rattle through it and make some really good headway in a whole half-hour, thinks I.

(You know where this is heading, don’t you?)

First, I considered working in the office. Seems reasonable. The computers are there, the files are on the computers in there. But Number One Son is also in there, and every time I sit down he tries to tell me all about the trading card game that he LOVES and which has a stupid online site too, to feed his addiction. Even after I point out that I’m working on something else and can’t look at his screen everytime he wants me to (which is every two seconds), he can’t stop himself from say ‘Look, Mum, look Mum’, and he IS only five, so I take the high road, and hightail it out of there.

Not to worry, thinks I. This is why I have an expensive laptop and a wireless connection. It is also, in anticipation of just this kind of thing you understand, why I have emailed myself a copy of the template via Gmail. Of course, I should be able to just pick all the documents up over the wireless network, but I can’t. I don’t know why, but my computer is not allowed access to the desktop files and even computer-whizz Husband, who actually understands the system as nearly as anyone can, can’t figure out why and keeps suggesting I reboot. Uh-huh.

So I start up my laptop. I have remembered to look out the power cord, plug it in and even to make sure that there is power flowing to the outlet (which has one of those tricky ‘on’ switch things…).

Things start to churn. All is good. My desktop appears, with its cheery cherry blossom background. Then the sidebar starts to load, and I try to get a jump on things by clicking on Open Office (my word processing program).

Its loading screen hangs. And hangs. And hangs.

I roll my eyes and open Notepad. It is my cheap date, my standby, my ugly little friend who is always available in a flash if I need it. It has no ego and I love it for that alone.

I type.

I save. (Hooray)

After all this time (we’re almost ten minutes into the whole enterprise at this point) I see that Open Office has loaded. (What? Ten minutes of mostly-uninterrupted time is A Lot to a mother of small children!)

Now I click on Firefox so that I can go and retrieve the template that I had so cleverly forwarded to myself.

Firefox, apparently, DOES have an ego. It keeps me waiting for any date, but today it has decided it needs to both wash its hair and wax its legs before it will let me see it. I sit glowering at its immobile ‘progress’ bar for a good three minutes before it finally descends the stairs and lets me take it out for a drive.

I get my template.

Only this computer, it turns out, does not have one of the fonts installed. Oh well, I reason, I’ll send it back to myself and open it and print it from the computer upstairs after the children have gone to bed.

I cut and paste and format and correct. It is twenty minutes past when-I-sat-down, but I’m working. I’m going to shake off my frustration and get down to it. The boys are still quiet, I might squeeze out a few extra minutes.

I’m just trying to get Open Office to format my fractions properly (not as au fait with OO as I was with Word, but for some reason — ethical I think, or was it security? — we switched to Open Office) when things start disappearing.

First my sidebar flickers up and then is gone. Then my documents flick out of existence. What? I haven’t even done enough to warrant saving the document yet (barely cut and pasted.

I know what’s happening but I can only repeat to myself “But it can’t! There was no warning, no warning at all!” like the recipient of some tragic, life-altering news.

But it was.

Windows had barged in on my little tech date and, without a by-your-leave, had decided to sweep all my programs off their feet, with its fancy upgrading and installing and rebooting. How dare it?!

Adding insult to psychic injury, it hung on the ‘shutting down’ screen for at least five minutes until I flounced off in disgust. Actually I flounced off to break up a fight…exactly 30 minutes after I had sat down “to get a quick half hour of work in.”

Well, at least I know my boys.

(Incidentally, after I got back from playing referee, the computer started up quickly, as if it was ashamed of its earlier behaviour, and I forgave it just as quickly. Open Office even started to retrieve my lost documents.

Then I tried to log in to Gmail again to grab some more data.  

My wireless connection to the web —the one that, once it goes down requires a reboot to reestablish — was down.

@3*&^$%!!!

Oh yes, you’re reading a post that was written in Notepad and saved to the desktop for posting at a future time and place, assuming I didn’t just thrown the whole lot on the compost heap, organic gardening be damned…

I think I’ll go and knit now.

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