Post # 181 Back to the Good Ole Days

October 21, 2013 at 5:26 PM | Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Post # 181 Back to the Good Ole Days

I’ve been without a reliable computer since last Thursday evening.  Any of my readers who also follow my facebook posts (and you’re all welcome to friend me, just reference the blog so I won’t ignore it) will know the drama I’ve experienced.  I have a laptop computer that is my primary computer running Windows 8.  I have a MS Surface RT tablet computer which allows me to do every single thing my primary computer does, but in a mobile environment running Windows 8 RT.  I don’t know what RT stands for but I’ve made a few guesses.  Last Thursday, a link to the new Windows 8.1 upgrade was available on both computers.  I figured, I don’t want to potentially harm my primary computer so I’ll do the upgrade on the Surface tablet and see how it goes.

Step One:  Upgrade Surface.  Went without a hitch and was complete in less than an hour.  Since it wasn’t even nine o’clock in the evening yet, I thought, mistakenly as it turned out, this will be a piece of cake, no worries, I’ll start now.  At 3am, I gave up and went to bed.  At 7am my eyes sprang open.  One, I’m not usually a late sleeper; two, I’d babysat the little girl next door was ill and promised to babysit that day if needed and my phone was on the computer desk so I didn’t have any idea if any calls came in; third, I wanted to humble that damned computer and bend it to my will.

I let the dogs out, took care of everything needing taken care of, fed them, checked the phone but no calls had come in, and after several minutes, finally sat down to the computer.  It was now up and running “properly”, but it looked like it was brand new out of the box.  I spent the next ten hours reinstalling apps, reconfiguring the computer, and generally swearing at the air to get this stupid thing to work.  Partner/spouse got home from work, made dinner, and when I shut off the computer, told me I was getting some meds to help me sleep through the night.  So, the next morning, I got up around 9am.  I’d slept nearly twelve hours, which for me was nearly unheard of.  I sat at the computer and found that it was indeed acting “properly” but again, as thought it were new out of the box.  I checked the Surface tablet and it showed the OS as 8.1, but when I checked the laptop, it showed the OS as 8.  I began to be concerned, but there were other things to do, and a barbeque to go to that afternoon.  On Saturday afternoon, I spent several more hours fussing with it and going to the ‘net to find out if anyone else had had difficulty with the upgrade.  It looked like I was the first person to do the upgrade because there was nothing.  I finally got the computer back to where it was before the happy accident, felt a lot better about myself, turned it off, sneered at it, and went to the barbeque.

On Sunday, I sat down to it and finally faced the fact that somehow, after all the angst and hysterics, the computer was not running the upgrade.  I ran another search and found a fairly humorous article from a guy whose computer skills far surpassed my own, even though we had similar backgrounds, and he spoke of having to run the upgrade installation on his laptop three times before it worked properly.  Now, bear in mind, in the middle of all this I’m trying to move forward in my writing obligations.  I’ve got a blog to get out every M-W-F; I’ve got a novel I’m editing; and I’m working hard to make the first chapter of that novel flawless with the assistance of another writer/editor/friend who’s giving me her time and expertise for free.  But by early evening on Sunday, with all the must do tasks behind me, I decided, okay, one more try.

And it ran like clockwork.  It did everything it was supposed to do.  In less than an hour, I had a fully operational, upgraded computer.  There was one minor quirk, though.  It was having difficulty connecting to internet.  Well, why else do people even HAVE computers?  It’s all about the ‘net.  On my little Wifi icon on the bottom, only one bar, sometimes two, would ever activate.  Other times, none, no connectivity at all.  I fussed and played around, but finally said, to heck with it.  I’m going to bed.  So this morning, I took the computer into the office where I sat literally three feet from the wireless router.  I got three bars that time.  All the other devices, including my tablet had zero problems with connecting.  I knew it wasn’t the router or the ISP service.  Months ago, when we had first bought the computers, partner/spouse and I got the same one.  He had initially complained about connectivity but over time, the complaints went away.  So I figured, I’d live with what I had for a day or two before calling our internet service.  About three hours ago, through no machinations of mine, suddenly five bars, fast internet connection, and all is right with the world!

So what the heck does this have to do with cooking, you find yourself asking?  It’s about going back to basics.  When I didn’t have my computer, I felt vulnerable and naked.  I wondered how I was ever going to get my work done.  I have backups, but they’re clunky and I’m not used to them so productivity would suffer.  Partner/spouse joked and said we’d get a notebook and pen.  I already had those.  Publishers don’t accept them.  Today, we cook with a multitude of kitchen gadgets and machines.  No house is without a microwave.  When someone gets married, it’s almost the law that they receive three toasters as wedding gifts.   I’ve seen kitchens on television that were so fully automated, you didn’t really need to know how to cook at all.

But a hundred years ago, no one had that.  But they still managed to pull together gourmet meals that would astound anyone today.  When I was learning to cook, I did almost everything by hand.  I remember standing in the kitchen watching a drop of cooked sugar and cocoa fall into a bowl of water to determine what stage of cooking it was at, hard or soft candy stage.  I held my mom’s hand-painted ceramic bowl in the crook of my arm and pounded the stuffing out of butter to get it to the creamed stage so I could add the brown sugar, then the white sugar so I could make chocolate chip cookies.  It wasn’t that we didn’t have blenders or mixers.  Mom was taught to cook that way by her mother, so that’s how she taught me.

Once, when I was in my late teens, the power in the neighborhood went out.  My mom’s kitchen was all electric, and she was frustrated that she couldn’t cook dinner.  I looked at her puzzled.

“Mom, you have a couple of choices.  If you want to cook something, you have a wood burning stove right there in front of you.  You also have a propane gas grill right out your door.  If you don’t want to cook, serve a Garbage Salad and have done with it.”

Like me and my computer, she got stuck in the technology.  We ended up with grilled hamburgers and potato chips for dinner.  It was good.

And I have a working computer now.  And that’s good.


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