Sunday, May 31, 2009

You Can't Get There From Here

Have you ever had that feeling that no matter what you do, no matter how hard you try, things are a mess and anything you do to try to fix them, is only going to make them worse? That's certainly been my mood for the last few weeks; I've felt as if I were walking around with storm clouds over my head!

It all started with my computer. I love my computer. I've had it for several years, but it was top of the line when I got it, and I don't feel it's obsolete yet. However, the hard drive started to fail and a couple of weeks ago, I began to get CHKDSK errors every time I started it -- time for a new hard drive. I backed up as much as I could on a removable hard drive and then I took it to the Geek Squad at Best Buy to get the hard drive cloned. Fairly simple, right? Maybe not.

I have dual hard drives and they are huge, and I thought it was important to have them completely backed up before starting the clone procedure, so I told the Geek Squad to do that first. It took four days just to do the back up. Yikes! At the same time this was going on, the artist who is doing the cover for The Art of Effective Dreaming sent me the first proofs. Brilliant! Except that all I had to look at them with was my little laptop and I couldn't really get a good view.

ARRRRGGH!

I've been waiting for sooooo long -- completely my fault, not the artist's -- but still, I was dying to really examine the proofs. And I couldn't. Except for the color, which was, unfortunately, too close to the brown shade used on our last book. I asked her if she'd mind changing that base color to something else, and she said she wouldn't, but that she'd hold off sending me new proofs until I got my computer back since I couldn't really look at them anyway.

OK. But, AAAARRRRGGGHHH!

In the meantime, Geek Squad called and said I needed to come and pick out the new hard drives. DH and I went to do that. And then we had another problem. Because there are two drives, they have to match exactly, but Best Buy only had one of the model I chose in stock, so we had to get another one from a different store. A helpful clerk called around until we found a store that had one in stock and then we made arrangements for DH to pick it up. Geek Squad said it would only take a little while to install it once they had it in hand. Great. This was on the Friday before Memorial Day weekend. We made arrangements to bring in the drive the next day (Saturday). They said they should have it by Monday. Great.

Monday morning we called to see what time it would be ready. They weren't sure. "Call back tomorrow," they said. "Tomorrow," was Tuesday; DH was leaving for California that day, so he wouldn't be home to help me pick it up even if it was ready. That was a problem because my surgery last autumn has left me less than capable of carrying heavy things. DH wouldn't be home until Friday. So that meant more than two weeks without my computer. ARRRRRGGHHH!

DH left on Tuesday as planned and that afternoon, Geek Squad called to tell me that my computer was ready. Of course. They also left a message stating that they wouldn't hold it longer than five days. I felt like going over there and strangling all of them. By this point, however, I was resigned, so I simply called and asked them to please put it aside because we wouldn't be able to get it until Friday.

That night there were terrible storms. Thunder, lightning, the whole nine yards. Pippin, my dog, who is normally not afraid of storms, was suddenly terrified. Neither of us got any sleep. I left for work in a cranky, miserable mood, but I should have known the fun was only just beginning. I turned out from a traffic light and my car wouldn't accelerate properly. The RPMs just kept going up and up, but the gears didn't seem to be shifting (it's an automatic transmission). So there I was in rush hour traffic and I couldn't make my car go any faster than 35 miles per hour -- and while it was going even that fast, it sounded like a 737 on the runway getting ready to take off!

I nursed the car about a mile down the road until I found a side street to turn off on. People behind were honking and being a$$holes the entire time, so when I got there, I was on the verge of tears. I turned off the car, tried to call DH (who didn't answer), and fiddled around in my briefcase, looking for my Triple A card and the number for my office so I could let them know I'd be late. I found neither, so I sat there for a while, just trying to calm down. Once I'd done that, I decided to try the car again on the side street since there wasn't any traffic. It seemed to work just fine, so I cautiously edged it back out on to the main road and took it on to work.

When I got there, I rang the dealership and made an appointment to bring it in for service the next afternoon. I gingerly drove it back and forth to work and then to the dealership, terrified the whole time that I was going to have a repeat performance, but I didn't. The people at the dealership were very nice; they gave me a rental car as a loaner, which I took all the way home before I realized that I had left my house key on my key ring. With my car. I had to go all the way back and get it and then drive home again. All at rush hour, knowing that my dog was probably having fits locked in my house (he was).

The thing that really capped off my week happened on Friday. DH had been gone since Tuesday and he was supposed to be home early in the afternoon on Friday. I'd had such an awful week and I was really looking forward to seeing him. I got a call from him on Friday afternoon to say that he had arrived, but that it appeared that he was going to have to leave on the next flight to Delaware -- and I wouldn't even make it home in time to see him before he left! ARRRRGGGHH!

When he told me that I very nearly melted down in a puddle of messy tears. Fortunately I did not. Nor did I give in to the urge to scream obscenities at him. He was able to push off his urgent trip for one day, so I got to see him for 24 hours before he left again. He picked up my computer from the Geek Squad and I have it now. He also went with me to return the loaner car and get my own car back. The problem with the car was apparently caused by a software bug and according to the dealership it has been fixed (we'll see about that).

DH is now in Delaware. The computer is in my office. My car is in the garage. And I'm hoping that the cloud is no longer over my head! I REALLY REALLY want to see those proofs of the cover for The Art of Effective Dreaming!

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

What You Wish For

I was sitting in traffic this morning, skipping through the CDs I have in my car, and I hit on one song that I always used to listen to when I lived in Washington: "What You Wish For" by Guster. It started me thinking of how strange my life has been these last few years. I mean, I've gotten something, but I'm not really sure it was what I wished for. What did I wish for?

Wishing has always been a problem for me. Not that I don’t have wishes, but they've always been a bit amorphous. When I was growing up, I was never one of those children who said, "I want to be an accountant when I grow up." Life would have been so much easier if I'd been able to do that. In fact, oddly enough, I've never had a clear desire to occupy any kind of specific profession. I don't mean, I didn't want to work; I did, and I always have done, but I didn't have a particular job that I wanted to do. I could take the easy way out and say I wanted to be a writer, but then I've always been a writer, ever since I was old enough to hold a pen in my hand. To me, that's not a job, that's life.

I know when I was young, I hoped someday to fall in love, and maybe even to get married. That, I've done, so I'm sure I've fulfilled at least one of my dreams, but the reality is incredibly different, and better, than anything I could have imagined. At one point, I wished for children. That didn't work out, but now that my disappointment has faded, I see that I received so many unwished for gifts in life – things so far beyond my wildest dreams – that I doubt I would trade them for the wish I did have.

It pleases me to think that I have come far enough down the road in life to be able to appreciate the fact that even though I do not always know what I want, or what is best, there are good things here to be had and enjoyed. For example, as my friends on Facebook know, I went to a charity ball last week, after agonizing madly over what I was going to wear. I only had one long dress and I didn't want to spend the money on another one. The problem was that my only long dress was bright pink, but I have been told all my life that I shouldn't wear pink because I have red hair and it clashes. For the two weeks prior to the ball, I spent a lot of time wishing that my dress wasn't pink, or that my hair wasn't red. Indeed, I almost bleached my hair blond because I was so disgusted with it. But after whingeing for days, I sucked it up and went to the ball. And I had a good time – my wishes were clearly stupid, but I was handed the gift of a good time on a plate, and I was at least smart enough to be able to appreciate it.

I haven't learned how to do this with everything, but I plan to keep trying!

What You Wish For
Guster

Woke up today
To everything gray
And all that I saw
Just kept going on and on
Sweep all the pieces under the bed
Close all the curtains and cover my head
And what you wish for
Won't come true
You aren't surprised love
Are you?

If this serenade
(Repeat after me . . . just a little bit closer)
Is not what you want
(And do what I say . . . caught up in a lie)
It just how it is
(It won't change a thing . . . got a little bit colder)
It keeps going on and on

Come out come out wherever you are
Would you do it all over
Right from the start?
And what you wish for
Won't come true
You aren't surprised love
Are you?

And what you wish for
Won't come true
You aren't surprised love
Are you?
Once had this dream
Crashed down in Oz
Not black and white
But where the colors are

I never dreamed that
I would let it go
And I will get
What I deserve
Keep all the secrets
under the bed
Open the curtains
forget what I said

And what you wish for
Could come true
You act surprised, love
Are you?