Hell of a Guy
Adventure is worthwhile - Aesop

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Old Friends and Times Past…

10/30/2011

Yesterday I had the distinct and utter pleasure of visiting with some of my childhood friends.  It was awesome.  Imagine for yourself what it might be like to sit in a room at age sixty-seven with guys and gals you have known practically since the day you were born.  It was better than awesome.

I am not quite sure The Nancy had as good a time as I, but she stood up to the task, and I am proud of her for making me proud of her.

This little reunion was the first time I had seen some of these folks in fifteen years, some others for twenty-plus years, and even some I had not laid eyes and smiles on for over forty years. 

Andrew Chapel Methodist Church was the church of my parents long before I was born.  I was literally raised in it.  Its Sunday School was where I met many of these people; it’s scouting programs - Cub Scout Pack 144, Boy Scout Troop 144 and Explorer Scouts 144 and its Methodist Youth Fellowship provided even more.  This is my extended family.

We arrived at the reunion’s venue, the home of one my boyhood idols, at about 1:30 on this cold, wet day.  We walked in to find at least thirty old friends and one cousin.  We hugged and talked and reacquainted ourselves and put names to faces by means of name tags.  A few of us were recognizable, some not so much.  In the end everyone looked exactly as they had fifty-years ago before high school graduations, the Viet Nam war and marriage took us on different paths.  It was such a treat, especially since my high school graduating class has never had a reunion.

Death being such a huge part of living, some friends have already moved onto the great beyond.  Missed but not forgotten, we honored them by merely getting together.  As I sit here typing this little piece, the just revisiting yesterdayin my mind is an emotional thrill.  I get a little choked up just thinking about it and so look forward to the day when I can do it again.

And that is all I have to say about that…

 
Sunday, October 16, 2011

I Ain’t Happy!...

10/16/2011

I accept that I am fully responsible for what happens to me in my life.  This is The Best Day Ever!

That said, this new laptop is about to drive me up the proverbial tree.

If you read my last post, you may have gotten the idea I conquered the laptop woes I was experiencing.  The bottom-line truth is “not.”  The laptop went into overtime.

Friday, after writing about my technological acumen and posting it, I booted up my new laptop.  Almost immediately I noticed Outlook was not performing as it should.  There was also some other weird stuff going on, as well.  Something was profoundly screwed up.  But I knew, having paid a gazillion dollars for Dell support – which is basically half the GDP of India – help was just a phone call away.  So, Saturday morning about 11am I called the Dell technical support phone number.

I know this is probably wrong, but I got some guy on the line I could hardly understand through his heavy accent.  I think he said is name as something like “Ganbinghangardanpunjab” or something on the order of it.  He was really a nice guy, though he seemed a little put off when I answered his questions with a “Yes, sir.” 

Obviously, this young man was way more than competent and a hell of a lot smarter than I.  He took control of my laptop, via some internet voodoo, and I watched as the cursor moved from file to file and view to view.  But, nonetheless, it took him close to four hours to correct my issues. My left ear hurt from having a phone plastered to it for that long.

The issues at hand involved what I had transferred from my company laptop to my newly purchased personal one.  I moved too much.  Some of the programs from my Microsoft Windows Ancient moved into the newer Microsoft 7HP and really screwed things up.  “G,” once he had completed undoing what I messed up, said would help me correct it and move the files I truly wanted from the old to the new.  Joyously sweet!

Again, and immediate thought entered my rapidly aging cerebellum - panic.  When I transferred the files from the old to the new, I cleaned them out and deleted all the files I had transferred from my old laptop.  One of the things “G” had to do to correct my problem was to restore the factory settings of the new laptop, thereby deleting all I had transferred.  More panic until I remembered I have a spare hard drive to the old laptop that I back up about once a week.  Whew!  Saved, rather than hoist in my own petard, but “G” did talk me into purchasing some additional “protective software” at a cost of $233.00.  This $800.00 laptop is now up to $1500.00 plus.  I have become such a sucker for a well posed come on.

Long story endless, I got it fixed, so I thought until this morning.  Some of the old issues returned, so I placed another called to Dell.  My new best friend’s name was something “Singh.”  Bright guy, too, and he, too, fixed a problem, and along the way attempted to sell me another “protective software” package at $199.99 per year.  I ended the call when additional dollars were required for a package of software to do the same crap the one I purchased yesterday is supposed to do.  What the hell am I, a walking target?  Do I have a bullseye on my back?

Well (trust me, the end is near), after hanging up with What’s-his-name Singh, the issues I experienced before I called him returned, so yet another call to Dell is required.  But now I know a little more, though not enough, but at least enough to know I don’t need any more software.  What I really need is to simplify this gadget.  Perhaps something more in my league would be a Commodore 64, for those of you old enough to remember them?

And that is all I have to say about that…

 
Saturday, October 15, 2011

I Ain’t No Techie, But…

10/15/2011

In just another 34 days I will join the ranks of those living on a “fixed income.”  To say I can hardly wait would be a huge understatement; so I won’t say anything to that effect, except for the feeling I get each morning as I wake up these days is very much like that which is felt as a rollercoaster crests the largest hill.  I am ready for my last day, almost.

One of the things I have done to prepare for retirement is the purchase of a new laptop, a Dell something or other with Windows something or other and an Intel processor i3, whatever that means.  As with the laptop contraption my company supplied to me, I have no idea what all the gadgets on it and programs are for or do.  Dell no longer sends an operator’s manual, though I suppose I can access one on-line, if needed, though I probably wouldn’t read it anyway, and if I did read it I probably would not understand it.  If you have ever read any of my Hell-of-a-Guy posts you know I could screw up a one-car funeral.  As a kid I needed help with a Slinky and Silly Putty, and the thought of my hands holding a Rubik’s Cube still sends shivers up my spine.

There is a lot of my personal junk on my company laptop, and as most might be, I am a tad leery of turning it in with all my crap on it.  In the little pamphlet that accompanied my new “Univac” is information about a gizmo that allows files from one laptop to be magically transferred from it to another.  I bought one of these at Walmart (an experience worthy of its own post) for $19.95.  To me the gizmo looks like a wire with a little black box in the middle and a couple plug doohickeys on the ends, but it came with a booklet that has pictures and simple (for some) instructions on its use.  I think for a semi-intelligent being with a smidgen of technical ability this process might go smoothly.  Note to self: I do not fit into that category.

Having thoroughly perused the directions, I hooked said gizmo up, meticulously following them.  I pressed the appropriate buttons and clicked on what the screen indicated I was to click on, and exactly nothing happened.  After re-reading them, and starting the process over a couple of times, lo and behold, shit started happening, but I am not sure what.  One laptop had a view that said it was transferring files, while the other showed boxes with green lines slowly moving west to east.  It was a miracle!

After about fifteen minutes the transfer was complete.  I began looking for my files to see what transferred, and it appears everything I wanted to transfer is now on my new laptop.  How cool it that?

I think I may change my name to Bill Gates!

And that is all I have to say about that…

 
Tuesday, October 11, 2011

A Day to Remember…

10/11/2011

Yesterday I awoke with a smile on my face, ready to begin a busy day.  My company was closed for business; it was a day off, a day for work around the house.  I just knew it was going to be The Best Day Ever!

First order of business was a visit to my doctor’s office for some pre-physical blood tests.  Next, after a quick trip through the grocery store while hoping the sun would warm up the air and dry the dew off the grass, I planned to get to mowing the “grounds” when I got home. So far, so good, the day was going as programmed.

On my way to the garage to get the mower out I decided to redistribute some of my wealth and fill the bird feeders with expensive seeds.  I had previously purchased a 40 lb. bag of sunflower seeds that the resident garage mouse (or mice) was enjoying through a small hole it chewed in the bag.  I needed something to put the seed in and found a small, covered trash can in the basement, but the can didn’t quite hold the all the seeds, so I decided I would fill the feeder that usually holds the sunflower seeds.  After I filled it I still had seeds in the bag, so I put the rest in the container we keep the wild bird seed in (hang with me), and as I was ready to fill the other feeders I noticed a preponderance of sunflower seed on top of the wild bird seed.  I decided to turn the container over a couple of times to mix up the seed.  Mistake numero uno!  As I turned the container the top popped open and the seed formed a perfect mound about twelve inches high on the ground.  I smiled.  I accept that I am fully responsible for what happens to me in my life.

Seed cleanup complete, it was time to cut the grass.  I was psyched to begin the mowing – all eight acres of it.  I got The Tank (my mower) out of the garage and decided to begin at the lowest section of the lawn where water tends to stream when it rains.  We haven’t had rain in about a week, but it was still “damp” down there, and I found out how damp as the mower’s wheels began to spin in the muck.  It was hopelessly stuck…it was time to bring the Wrangler and the tow rope down.  Fortunately, I was able to drag the mower out of the mud without too much effort, though my feet were soaked and muddy.  My third mistake was to get the mower hung up in the swamp again about ten minutes later, requiring another tow job by Mr. Wrangler.  Being the really smart guy that I am, I decided I should avoid the lower forty and move to higher ground.  I am pretty quick, you know!

All went well or about for about fifteen minutes.  I noticed the mower making a strange sound.  I stopped it so I could listen to it.  It was then I saw no clippings being thrown out the shoot.  The belt that turns the blades had broken.  Luckily I had a replacement belt in the garage but no idea how to put it on.  After about forty minutes of contemplation I figured it out…actually I found a chart on the mower with a layout of the belts on the pulleys. 

I went into the garage to get the belt.  It was hanging on a nail and I had to stretch to reach it.  As I reached up to grab it, my elbow bumped a tiki lamp (one of six), causing it and its cousins to tumble over spilling tiki lamp oil on the floor and all over the garage door.  It was a nice little mess and another opportunity to laugh at myself.

Well, finally, after an hour or so, I had the belt on the mower and the mower fired up and ready to cut once again.  The problem was, I had run out of time.  The Nancy and I had an appointment in Hagerstown, Maryland, about 40 miles away, so I had to put the mower away.  I climbed on, sat down in the seat and was about to turn the key to start the engine when I leaned back a little too hard and broke the seat.  Hmmm!

It was a day of laughs, mostly at me and with me.  It was a day of “opportunities” and possibilities.  I accepted responsibility for all that occurred, but really wish The Nancy could have been here so I could have pinned it all on her.

And that is all I have to say about that…

 
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