Are You Scared Yet?

Yes. Yes I am.


Well, last night when I came home from work I was tired, and a bit irritable. Not because anything had gone wrong during the day, but because I just don’t feel like myself. I took a couple days off last week to try and come back better and stronger, but the illness which took me down, mild though it was, did a number on my stamina.

Now, as a disclaimer, I don’t have terrific stamina anyway. I bore easily and tire easily. But when I’m sick, I generally stay sick for about a month, more or less. I don’t think that will be the case here, but could I have taken two more days of bed rest and just relaxed until Monday of this week, I think I’d be pretty close to my old self. As it is, the slower recuperation has me exhausted by day’s end. Sometimes I drift off to sleep while waiting for dinner. Other times I’m just cranky.

Long story shortened a bit, I was tired last night. I wanted to fire off my latest complete chapter to the amazing and beautiful beta readers I left off my last dispersion, then get cracking on a retirement party invitation I need to work on ASAP for someone at work. The party’s in something like two weeks. I figured I’d put some ideas together and see who liked what, then shoot ’em out.

So I powered on my computer, and like always in a few moments it showed me the new, spiffy Windows 7 logo and indicated the system was loading.

After about six minutes I realized something had gone wrong.

I powered the machine off — I had to do a hard shut-down because nothing would respond at that point — then I powered it back up. I expected Windows to tell me it hadn’t shut down properly and would I like to take the recommended course of booting into Safe Mode, or would I rather just boot the OS normally? Instead, I got a warning that Windows had a start-up problem (yeah, no sh!t, Sherlock), then launched a helpful little start-up repair utility. I shrugged and launched it.

About five minutes later it said it couldn’t repair the problems (big surprise there) and would I like to contact HP or Microsoft for help? No, thanks. Power off again. Unplug the power supply. Take out the battery. Wait about a minute. Replace power supply, start up again. Same deal. This time I don’t get the helpful utility. I get nothing. So once again I power it off with a hard shut-down and unplug everything. Keyboard, wireless mouse, HDMI cable, power supply… just the computer. Remove the battery again, wait 60 seconds, try once more.

Nope, no dice. But when the helpful utility starts up, it’s doing something different. It’s checking the hard disk.

And that’s when my heart spiked.

The utility locked my computer, but the CAPS LOCK key still triggered the indicator light, so it wasn’t completely stuck. At least, not that I could tell. There wasn’t a progress bar or anything to indicate what the hell was going on so all I could do was sit, freak out, and wonder what went wrong. I shut the computer, had a fit of rage and frustration (I bought the computer, as you may recall, in mid-May), banged my fist on my desk and decided the best thing for me to do was calm down. And the best way to calm down was to pray. So I shut the computer’s lid (I’m not going to sit and stare and wonder) and resigned myself to checking in the morning. If it was still running, I’d know.

Oh, and I didn’t buy the extended warranty from Best Buy. Why do that? Those are silly and a waste of money, right? Only dopes buy extended warranties for cars and electronics. It’s a scam! So with only the manufacturer’s basic one-year warranty in place, I stared down the barrel of calling HP’s non-English speaking support department in India or Pakistan somewhere, where someone would tell me his name was Sam (which is short for Samhandra Ramalashalashiramdingdong), and proceed to ask me to remove the battery, unplug the computer, power it off and wait, then turn it back on, and do I see…

You get the idea. I wasn’t looking forward to this at all. So I thought about some stuff my wife said. She meant it to belittle my feelings for perspective’s sake (I assume), but I used what she said to try and force myself to feel grateful for what was happening. It could have been so much worse. What if it had been the car that wouldn’t start? What if something serious had happened to the kids? Or if in the rain we’ve had, I’d had an accident? No, this isn’t serious. She was right about that part. I tried to focus on that and push through my frustration. I could always get a new computer, even if it meant not being able to recover my files. Most of them haven’t changed too much and the new ones? Well… I guess I’d have to live with the consequences of being an electronics-age addict.

Almost two hours later I heard the Windows start-up music indicating the computer had restarted. Somehow.

My wife opened the computer and we stared in wide-eyed wonder. Windows started. Sort of. It also still has the “Windows Explorer has stopped responding” stupid issue, but a lot of folks have that one for some reason.

So I stood there and had to rearrange my icon sets and things, but wondered for all I could about what happened. I had not then, and have not now, any idea what happened or why. Or if it will happen again.

My wife believes a back-up computer is in order. I’m inclined to believe her. It won’t help restore any files I’ve not backed up but it will give me something I can use to recover some things, and a way to keep working when something important comes along. Had this happened while the book (you know, the paying one) was still out, I’d have had a real problem. As it is, it’s a mild inconvenience and I didn’t have time to check my email last night.

Cross your fingers. I’m going to back up my work tonight, and as many of those application registration numbers as I can find. Then I’ll probably go buy an el-cheapo computer to use as a back up. Or if it’s better than the one the kids have now I’ll give them the new one and take back the old one. Maybe I’ll just go ahead and get a terabyte server and keep everything there. Who knows? I have to find a better solution though.

That was my Monday night. How was yours?


Copyright DarcKnyt 2011, all rights reserved.

6 thoughts on “Are You Scared Yet?

  1. You have a new story?

    Yes, doll. You haven’t been following along? I sort of expected to hear from you when I called for beta readers, but when you didn’t seem interested I figured you were too busy with real life. It’s still in the VERY early stages. I’m only about 4 chapters in and might have to rewrite one of them already.

    • I suck. I’ve missed it all. I’m very upset. I’ve just been swamped with the kids and working. This is a bad day. You should have called!!

      No, you should be reading my blog with EAGERNESS and BATED BREATH! But in seriousness, I can send them to you no problem. Bad day averted.

  2. My Monday night working out too hard and feeling like I was going to throw up. Then I had to deal with an ball of cotton candy that mutated into a sock-wearing octopus, or a soctupus, if you will.

    Or maybe I was just drunk.

    Drunk and eating a soctopus, eh? There’s a post I’d like to read.

  3. Holy Moley, that is a scary story! Yes, it could have been worse, but still. Computer woes are very stressful. I feel your pain.

    It scared the heck out of me, no doubt. Thanks for commiserating though. 🙂

    I am very strict about backing up data, at home and at work. Fortunately my husband doesn’t need to be told twice. Actually I’m very excited about my work computer upgrades because soon, in addition to our nightly tape backups, we’ll be doing incremental backups of our EMR database every hour onto a NAS device! Isn’t that the super-coolest? Betcha didn’t know that I was this much of a tech geek! 😉

    Nice! I think you’ve mentioned your technical prowess before, though, and I am awash in admiration of it, I confess. I need to have a solution which allows me to do backups at least on a regular schedule. For home, what do you recommend as a medium for storing backups?

    • At home we have a dedicated hard drive just for backups, set to run on a regular basis. It mirrors our data drive. That’s a lot easier than burning CD’s every week or messing around with tapes.

      That’s awesome! Is that a server you’ve built, or some sort of application available for a standard desktop/laptop computer? I’d love to learn about this because THAT’S a workable solution. It sounds like just a second drive in your PC? We’ve also looked at something like Carbonite for a cloud solution. I’m just a touch afraid of what might happen if we miss a bill or have another unexpected and long stretch of unemployment, or something.

  4. Why not just buy an external hard drive, and back your files up every couple-ish weeks or so? Or whenever you do some massive work on something… update the file on the back up hard drive so it’s up to date. That’s what my Dad does.

    I probably will do that, but external hard drives can fail too. I’m seriously considering an online solution but I don’t really want to pay for it. 😦

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