Wednesday, December 3, 2008

The Demise of a Laptop and Other Holiday Stories

Monday night my beloved laptop met with a glass of wine. I don't want to place blame but lets just say the husband had something to do with it. Immediately half the keyboard stopped working. I am hoping, praying, that nothing else is wrong.

Tuesday morning I was the crazy woman at the computer store, tapping on the glass, waiting for them to open. Open, open, open. The manager finally unlocked the door and I raced to the repair station. My eyes welled up. Breathe, breathe. The poor store clerk must've thought I was a crazy old coot. I managed to check the computer in without actually crying and am now waiting to hear from them; to find out if only the keyboard was affected or the whole shebang is kaput. In the comforting words of the repair guy ..."liquids and computers are not a good combination."

It's embarrassing to admit how crippled I am without my computer. It's where I write, process photos, make holiday dvds. It has my blog reader, my knitting patterns, my recipe files. Essentially that computer is an accessory brain; a brain now lobotomized. As such I'm wandering around in a daze not knowing what to do. Most of my photo files and writing files are backed up. There is hope but I'm still not pleased with the universe.

This incident is just another in a series of unexpected expenses for the Peculiar household. Traffic tickets, orthodontia and now computer repair. And the thing is -- we are not made of money. (Yes I know you are shocked by that revelation as most people are made of money. I too hear them jingle and jangle as they walk down the street). In truth as our expenses have been increasing our income has decreased. Things are very tight. We get paid on Friday and I sincerely hope I have enough for the mortgage and student loans. We will be fine. I'm pretty sure. But for now I'm a bit worried. We are balanced on a tight rope and expenses keep getting added to our balance pole. One more unexpected expense and we'll topple to the cold hard concrete below.

But enough about that. What you're really wondering is how is she blogging without a computer? Well we are not totally without. I am upstairs on the kid's computer. This ancient beast used to be our computer, as in belonging to the grown ups. Before that it was my parent's computer. In other words we practically need another room to house the vacuum tubes (okay so I stretch the truth a bit but you get the idea).

So I've been trying to figure out what I can do to make myself feel better in light of recent events. The first thing I did was clean my girls' room. I typically clean when upset. That felt good. But I wanted more. Then I realized the thing that would make me feel best is to share. Because, you see, things are tight. But really we have all we need. We will manage in one way or another. And no matter how dire any situation we all have something to give. So here is my humble offering ...

A couple of weeks ago a friend gave us an Amish Friendship Bread starter. Monday night, before said computer incident, we baked the bread. It was delicious. The kids love it as did the labradork who partook when we weren't looking.

We baked the bread and packaged three starters for neighbors. Now I can't send a fermented yeast mixture over the internet. But I can direct you to a starter recipe so you can make your own. And here is a little bonus: click here to download the starter care instructions in PDF format. My bread came with boring photocopied instructions and I wanted to spruce them up a bit. Somehow I had the foresight to upload this file before the crash.

I printed four copies for each neighbor (one copy for them and three to share when their bread is done). Then the starter dough and instructions went into basic gift bags. Gussied up with a little ribbon and voila -- inexpensive fun gifts to share.


But that's not all I want to share with you. I was also fortunate enough to finish my holiday cards before I was lobotomized.

Here's this year's card:

And here is last year's card:

Both these photos are on Flickr under a Creative Commons License. You are welcome to download and use either photo for your own holiday cards. Click here for this year's card and here for last year's card.

Well that felt good. After a healthy session of David Sedaris and Holidays on Ice I'll feel even better. Have a wonderful Wednesday all!


Bridge said...

I saw your card on Flickr! LOVE IT!
Your amazing with the photo processing and treatments. Also, I feel your pain with the laptop. I had one when I was working that was pretty much all mine for everything. I had to share the family computer now. I dream of a new laptop!

Hang in there. Hugs coming your way. David Sedaris always cheers me up. I wish he could spend Christmas here. No doubt my family would work its way into some quirky essay.

Tammie said...

a few thoughts:

*i made the amish bread a few weeks ago! its delicious.

*i went back and read your post from august--that was before i found your blog. so all this time i havent been fully aware of the situation you have on your hands, or all that you had to give up. now i know.

*i know it does nothing to fix your situation, but just know that if you hit the "cold, hard, concrete below"---you won't be hitting it alone. every two weeks when my husband gets paid, im amazed at the creative math i do to make it all work.

hang in there.....

Cathy said...

Our brand new laptop crashed and I thought I was going to have a nervous breakdown. I hope your's gets fixed soon. I love your Christmas cards!

Amy said...

I'll keep my fingers crossed for your laptop but I know you'll be all right without it.

Donna said...

My kids call my laptop my other lots of ways its better than a dog...I don't have to feed it or worry about stepping in its business, it gives me joy AND it doesn't emit stinky fumes when I am sitting on the couch at night watching TV...and so when it gets "sick" I am most upset! I hear your pain.
Watching the news last night I heard the suggestion that this recession is something as a country that we "had to have" to get our thinking back on track about spending and saving. Maybe that is true but I know we are all feeling the pain of that lesson...I'm thinking of you!

Lisa said...

Just found your blog by accident (searching for the Joyce comment about Mr. Duffy.) Beautiful knitted items, btw.

Happy holidays to you and thanks for a nice blog.

Jamie said...

Huge bummer about your computer. My husband spilled gingerale all over mine on our plane ride back from my brothers wedding. I had been editing his pictures on it when it happend. Thank god I had still had them saved on my camera because the computer was toast.

I can't wait to try your Amish bread. Thanks for sharing the recipe.

Your holiday card looks AWESOME!

ELK said...

I hope that your laptop is salvagable and that your money issues ease up a bit ~ I know these worries can be a heavy weight...
your concentration on something else
(like the yummy bread) will help...

Nihal said...

Smiling Hello Shalet:)
Those photos of seasons greetings are absolutely so provocative! I see how small things can turn into magic pieces in talented women hands:)
Wish the best solution for your laptop. I too can not accept any tech-problems on my laptop in this digital age. I'm fortunate that such things does not often come to my electronic toys,lol:)
Me? Not dreaming of a new laptop because I have been using 2-laptops, that's really enough:)
My dream is, the biggest dream of mine is to have my own yacht. I kept my fingers crossed, and there are some good signs on air..:) Oh I can't wait...
I'm so hopeful for the year 2009.

Oh well, sending you bright ideas, sunny days and happy thoughts. Have a fruitful week ahead.

Pleased very much to hear from you at CrossRoads, come again.

Miles of Smiles.


Anonymous said...

Loooove last years card design! This years is stunning too but I have a fondness for green AND Bokeh.

Sorry about the laptop, yep that totally sucks. Hopefully things will turn around here soon for you. They usually always do.


Joy! said...

I'm sorry to hear about your laptop woes! I have no patience when it comes to computer malfunction... and I am lost while things are being fixed or replaced. I hope things get sorted out with a minimum of pain and money!

I have confidence, though, that you will weather the challenge as you have with others ... with focus and creativity. Sending you a batch of virtual cookies and computer gurus.

Liss said...

I hope your laptop is fixed soon. I too am having pc issues currently.

I love you xmas card photos. How nice of you to share them through flickr.