Friday, April 3, 2009

Sunshine Again

The last three days here it has rained. Let's be clear: it has rained to the point that people preface most phone calls to this area with, "So, have you washed away yet?" We haven't, but our quicksand driveway seemed like it might. The today school was cancelled because some bridges were taken out or made unsafe by flooding - and the sun came out on Spring Break for the kids.

What a lovely metaphor for how my days have gone. I was sad and gloomy over my favorite laptop's demise. Instead of enjoying the prospect of a new laptop - which we had budgeted and saved for and planned for over a year to buy right before heading back to school - I had to buy because my computer was broken. I started to see a taste of sunlight when I optimized a machine through Dell and then a different one through HP that would positively blow away any computer I've even been in the presence of. But I decided it was not wise to spend that much one computer that in a year (or may be two) might seem pedestrian by comparison. So, instead I decided to scrap the idea and work with my laptop as a desktop. It's much harder to do that when children want to watch Bob the Builder for the 95th time on the same screen I need to use, though, but I could make due. I actually let the HP phones salesman help talk me down from wanting the super laptop. Then towards the end of our conversation - having steered me to a much more economical machine that could still perform quite nicely - I commented on one of the "accessories" laughingly.

"Why would anyone get a Mini along with a laptop?"

"Oh they're very nice if you don't want to carry your big notebook around. They're really nice, actually."

"Yeah, but my big hands wouldn't be much use on one."

"Oh, their keyboards are 92% of regular keyboards, so they're quite comfortable."

A light came on: what if just got a Mini? So I batted that idea around for a while and another email came from Dell: get a Mini for $50 with a Dell Latitude. So I checked into it, and a great Latitude was reasonably priced, and with two upgrades that made the Mini slightly more expensive than a big external hard drive might be, I had my deal. I bought it, feeling at peace with my decision.

And then my brother-in-law showed me a $99 new LCD that would fit my broken laptop! It was like seeing a rainbow after the storm. Suddenly, instead of every computer in our house being on crutches (my wife's power cord broke the day after my laptop took its dive), we could have three working computers! So I practically leapt for joy. It will be nice not to see my HP turn into a paperweight. Who knows, it might be my daughter's computer some day. The Mini might be hers or my son's. Whatever the case, I've gone from wanting to cry for my laptop to seeing a chance it will work again. How wonderful.

Yes, as I said in my last post, I am a nerd.

-- Robert

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