Welcome to the Misadventures of Widowhood blog!

Welcome to my World---Woman, widow. senior citizen seeking to live out my days with a sense of whimsy as I search for inner peace and friendships. Jeez, that sounds like a profile on a dating app and I have zero interest in them, having lost my soul mate of 42 years. Life was good until it wasn't when my husband had a massive stroke and I spent the next 12 1/2 years as his caregiver. This blog has documented the pain and heartache of loss, my dark humor, my sweetest memories and, yes, even my pity parties and finally, moving past it all. And now I’m ready for a new start, in a new location---a continuum care campus in West Michigan, U.S.A. Some people say I have a quirky sense of humor that shows up from time to time in this blog. Others say I make some keen observations about life and growing older. Stick around, read a while. I'm sure we'll have things in common. Your comments are welcome and encouraged. Let's get a dialogue going! Jean

Wednesday, June 16, 2021

Computer Woes!

 


There’s a chain of computer repair places around town and I’ve been using them for twenty years. I woke up a few days ago to find that my preferred internet browser (Firefox) was gone plus all my photos, documents and bookmarks were as well. I packed up the tower to drop it off but when I got to my branch I found a note on the door that said it was permanently closed and to go to one of their others locations. I walked in to the nearest branch and was greeted by someone new-to-me and I barely got the tower set down on the counter when he said, “I’ve got to be honest with you. Your computer is ten years old and is not compatible with the new Microsoft upgrades coming along. You’re probably going to need a new one.”  I’ve got a Carbonite subscription that should have my documents and photos backed up, I told him, and “Their website says I’m still in recovery mode so I probably didn’t know what I was doing when I tried to get my files back. Can you at least look at it?”

Alongside him, facing out to the customers was an 8”x10” piece of cardboard with handwritten letters written with a black marker that said, “God guides all my steps.” It’s probably based on a Bible verse but it annoyed the heck out of me. I don’t know why that’s important to announce it to your customer base. In my perfect world the only ones who would wear their relationship with God on their sleeves would be the men and women ordained by their churches to do so. I know it isn’t fair to judge the guy by that sign but it made me think I needed to hold my hand over my wallet, as my dad used said about certain people. And we can blame my uncle for that. He could have been the inspiration for the movie, Paper Moon. Only my uncle wasn’t a fictional character going across the country selling Bibles door to door and reading the obituaries and claiming the deceased ordered a deluxe Bible before passing away that had a hefty sum of money still due. My uncle really did earn is living traveling across the country, following the good weather to sell Bibles and other religious trinkets. 

The most memorable time I remember hearing a phrase like “God guides all my steps” was when Uncle Abe---not his real name but close enough---used it as an excuse for why he shouldn’t have to pay my folks back for a couple of hundred dollars he borrowed from them. Whatever he “invested” the money, it was lost---a land deal, a ponzi scam, the ponies, I have no idea but because God guided his steps Uncle Abe thought my folks should just forgive the debt and pray about it. “Only God knows where the money is now and God doesn’t make mistakes.”

For years my dad tolerated my uncle while he parked his camper in our driveway, using our electricity and water and tying up our phone for the 3-4 days that he would be there because it was the only time my mom would get to see her sister. They ate our food and while my aunt helped cook it they never contributed anything---my dad’s hard work that earning the money to put food on the table was chalked up to thanking God for "providing this wonderful meal.” My uncle’s prayers went on and on and I hated the oily way he looked at me while he was saying them. 

There’s a scene in a movie that I think starred Gregory Peck---I’ve tried to find it on the web but couldn’t---where he’s doing a smack-down disguised as a prayer that mocked the idea of giving praise for a meal to God, giving none to the farmer---Peck’s character---who planted and tended the fields, brought in the harvest that his wife then cooked. I saw that movie with my dad once and while he was too kind to ever say anything like that in the presence of his brother-in-law I always thought it would be fun if he did.

The computer guy at the new-to-me shop just called and told me the hard drive is fried. He wants to sell me a rebuilt machine and even though I have a backup at Carbonite he’s not promising he can get my photos and documents back on a new machine. I’m not sure what I’m going to do now but it’s an odd fact of my downsizing process that the day before my computer woes began I was about to take all my hardcopies of my first five years of blogging and the hardcopy of book draft I had to the paper recyclers. Thankfully I didn't. I wish this guy didn’t remind me of my uncle! It would make my decisions on what to do so much easier. ©

P.S. Have I mentioned lately how much I hate working on my laptop? It's old too so I'm crossing my fingers it stays running until I get my computer woes worked out. 

P.S. Again. Since so many people (including the computer guy) mention hooking my keyboard and monitor up to my laptop I think I've made a smart decision on what to do. My laptop is old too...11 years and living on borrowed time. I think I will replace THAT now and skip buying a new tower, etc. until after I move and get settle in. That way I'll be forced to give what everyone else seems to prefer doing a fair shot. Who knows maybe it will make a believer out of me and I won't even need to buy a tower later on. More importantly I won't feel forced to make a decision on what tower now just to put it in storage next month. I do need something to put transfer my photos and documents on now and my old laptop isn't going to cut it for that.

50 comments:

  1. Good luck! I wish the fellow seemed more trustworthy. šŸ˜Ÿ

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  2. Don't you have an external hard drive for backup? Whatever you end up with, computerwise, I'd advise that in addition to cloud backup, particularly since the so-called 'cloud' is becoming increasingly undependable. I use an external hard drive, and have additional backup via a portable solid state drive.

    Also: when my last hard drive went kaput, the guys at my computer shop still were able to retrieve all my files from it and install them on the new hard drive. Personally, I'd pass on the rebuilt computer. I had mine built from the ground up, and it didn't cost any more than an off the shelf at Best Buy.

    I did add to the cost with a 2 terrabyte external drive and a portable SSD, but storage is so cheap these days it's foolish not to include one in your hardware.

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    1. I've never had an external backup but this many be when I get one. I don't have the extensive library of wonderful photos like you so if I lose mine, it's not a great loss. I've got my book draft on a CD. Not much else matters.

      What this computer shop is proposing isn't a rebuilt from Best Buy type thing. They rebuild them on site to your needs. This couldn't have happened at a worse time.

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    2. I got an external hard drive a couple of years ago after an automatic Windows update went awry and I lost everything I hadn't backed up recently. I now have it set to back up every three hours, and I put the little portable hard drive in the go-bag that I keep by the door at night to grab and take with me in case of a fire. BTW, when I eventually got Firefox reinstalled on my computer, all my bookmarks, etc. were all there, apparently stored in the Cloud. Good luck; computer problems are so frustrating and so time-consuming!

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    3. That's a great idea for your back up drive. I have a go-bag by the door for tornados and power outages. Thanks for sharing.

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  3. One thing that I learned, after pouring coffee into my laptop, was to save EVERYTHING to a cloud-based service. It can then be accessed on any device. I don't know if your backup contract can be done that way but it might be worth checking into. I use Microsoft OneDrive and you get a lot of space free.

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    1. Microsoft OneDrive was on my desktop and I didn't use it much. I will start after the dust settles. I'm kind of shocked at how much I can see and do on my Kindle. My phone is too small to see to work on it, but I know even there I can access stuff. Amazing and scary if you lost your phone or Kindle.

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  4. Never trust a religious nut. They show their hypocrisy time and time again. Just look at the trump world we live with.

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    1. I've always found that to be true through out my life. And in my mine it's not hard to tell the nuts and charlatans from the truly devoted. The first group tells you they are religious and the latter group shows you they are religious through their actions.

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    2. Preach it Jean! *Winks* Yes, Actions always speak louder than mere Words, Talk is Cheap.

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  5. I'm with Mary. Once I saw that sign, I'd have been outta there.

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    1. Where I live it's not unusual for businesses to show a connection to their religion, but the hand written sign so prominently displayed was what struck me plus him looking like my uncle. I was downsizing my business card folder recently and noticed about 10 out of roughly a hundred where they had included a Bible virus on the back. Some of my favorite relatives are super religious and totally honest in all their dealings, so I try not to distrust all strangers out of hand who wear their religion on sleeve. It's a hard, life-long lesson in tolerance for me.

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  6. I like how you tell the charlatans from the devote. That is my go to also. Don't tell me, show me. Is your problem with the laptop the ridiculous mouse pad? My laptop has lots of USB ports so I use a wireless mouse and keyboard while elevating the laptop to a comfortable eye level. Just a thought.

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    1. I use a wireless mouse with my laptop...can't stand the built in one. But I've used a curved keyboard since they were invented. I know I could hook it up to my laptop but not only do I not like the visual of that, I love having a huge monitor and can't see an advantage to having a laptop if you're just going to use it like a tower. I've always had a laptop for a back up.

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  7. I would say to trust your gut. Get a second opinion if you aren't sure.

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    1. Made a decision while you were typing your comment. I added it as a second P.S. above.

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  8. I have an issue with religious folks who must always tell everyone. It's like a person who says they never lie - they are lying! So I am always suspect of these folks and it was darn nice of you to be a patron to his store. I would have listened and then left for a 2nd opinion. I had this happen to me and they were able to extract my photos and data and they put it on a external thingy who's name is lost right now. (like a hard drive that is portable, small,geez I'm sorry) Then cleaned it up so it would not invect any computer I was using it on. I paid big for it but it was worth it to me. I put that in my lap top and I rescused my photos which meant the most to me. (I wish we just had photos to hold like the old days) Carbonite did the rest for me. I wish you the best of luck, this is a stressful situation.

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    1. Yes, it is stressful. I don't have time to run all over town talking to computer repair people.

      I like real photos better than digital too but we're outnumbered. LOL

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  9. Not a fan of laptop computers, too. They're awkward. It's not me. I have no advice about what to do about your computer. From what I can tell a 10 day old computer is considered outdated, so a 10 year old one must be considered prehistoric.

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    1. It ticks me off that computers get dated so quickly. They say it's a security issue that makes them so...hackers find ways in on the old systems. I just hate all the updates that come automatically.

      I'm glad to find someone else who feels the same way about desktops vs. laptops! There is also something about having a desk to go to to write that makes me feel like a writer, where using a laptop makes me feel like I'm just like everyone else, just surfing the net. LOL

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  10. Oh, how very annoying. I have also found some IT fix it people to be particularly condescending with my questions. But that God sign would have put me off completely.

    I had to laugh at your uncle. I had one who my father swore made a beeline for the men's room every time the check was coming. Since it was my mom's sister and they all got along pretty well otherwise, he just steamed about it at home, but as far as I know, he never said anything to him.

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    1. I think every family has someone who avoids being at the table when the check comes. We used to go out to eat with a couple who the woman would always find something wrong with the service or the food and try to get her meal comped by the management. A little of that goes a long way and we quit going out them them.

      I'm going back to pick up my tower and I won't got back. He told me what day was his day off and that's the day I'm going back. LOL

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  11. I thought I wasn't a fan of laptops but that was almost 15 years ago. I am on my 2nd laptop ( 10 years now and I have one extra laptop in the bedroom and one I carry around the house and outside) I have a wireless mouse and an external hard drive to back everything up while I sleep hooked up to both of them and I love the fact that I can go anyplace. The freedom of the laptop is wonderful and I wondered why I had that old dinosaur of a desk top computer for as long as I did. Also I find laptops are easy to replace and cheaper to buy. I have an external backup drive for both that I wished I had around when my desktop computer blew it's gasket long ago. If I were you(but I'm not so this is just advice) I would ditch the tower, buy an external drive and invest in a second hand laptop in case the primary laptop blows. Go to https://www.newegg.com and check out their 2nd hand laptops and if inclined, computer towers. They are cheap and good. They won't cheat you either. No I don't work for them. I just know a great thing when I find it and want to pass the word to others in need.

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    1. If I can get my curved keyboard to work with a new laptop I might learn to like it. If not, I'll get another tower after I move. I'll pack my monitor away until I know.

      That sounds good about the external harddrive. I've never understood how they work but I'll have time to research after I move.

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  12. I really hate computer problems! I also hate that I've become so attached and pretty darned dependent on my computer. I also hate change. It nearly killed me to switch computers a few years ago. Now that I've got all that hatred out of my system, I feel better. Hope you're able to get everything worked out, Jean. Sometimes it's hard to trust the "computer literate people" but they usually do help us out.

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    1. Computer literate people and directions online start out assuming that you know more than we do know. I hate change too, but nothing at the perfect time, so I will deal with it.

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  13. Wow -- I live in fear of that. And this just reminded me to back stuff up again on my external drive. No matter what you get, get it someplace else!

    I'm glad you're trying the laptop/external monitor/keyboard thing. I just keep mine on my desk and the only time the laptop leaves it is if I travel. I just shove the actual laptop off to the side and once it's turned on I ignore it! Whatever, good luck!

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    1. Ya, maybe you'll all make a believer out of me. And after I custom ordered an Amish desk with a tower compartment. LOL Maybe if everything is wireless I can stick the laptop in there and have a nice clean desktop with just the monitor and the keyboard tray that closes for my curved keyboard when not in use.

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  14. Your Gut Instinct about that Guy is likely spot on... people who are overly zealous about Religion tend to use it as a default to cover up what they're doing that isn't Godly at all, but, if they can convince even themselves that God was involved, it eases their Guilty conscience I guess? I mean, all manner of atrocities have been committed in the name of Religions... and, if you truly have a Relationship with God or anyone else, it's not necessary to advertise it, is it? *Winks* Sorry you had Computer Problems this close to the Move... my Computer is so ancient it could end up in the Smithsonian I think... may be the last of it's kind? *LOL*

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    1. My very first computer actual did sell to as a collectible. Don't even remember what it was but it as purchased in the same era as a bag phone we had.

      Couldn't come at a worse time to have a computer go bad, but in the long run it might turn out a good thing to break me from using a tower and joint the cool kids.

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  15. I would never trust anyone who has to trumpet their beliefs in that way. Your mention of the meal that was all due to God made me remember the exact same thing happening to me. I was furious at the time; thanks were given to God and not to my husband and me who had done the shopping, paying for and cooking. I was mentioned in the thanks though.: thank you God for giving my hostess the skill to cook this wonderful meal.

    I too am having computer troubles; a chap came this morning and sorted some out but he advised me to replace one very old device with a new one. In the end the peace of mind that your device works and you don't have to tear your hair out over it is worth the expenditure.

    Good luck.

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    1. I guess depending how someone defines God, makes a difference in how they view the "blessings on the table." I personally think your host deserves some praise. LOL

      I hope you get your computer issues worked out too.

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  16. Software and computers change so quickly. Just when I would get used to a software package at work, time for an upgrade!!!! And I'd be back at ground zero again, in terms of figuring out how to use it. Well, I don't work now but I have learned to use an external hard drive as well as back up to the cloud. I don't have an IT department to save my ass anymore. I never thought I'd get used to a laptop but now I would never go back to a desktop setup. Well, lookee that! People can change! ;-)

    Deb

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    1. I'm going to do my best to adapt. I went to a meeting at my future home where the IT guys talked and I can use see an advantage of just being able to walk my computer down to his office, if I need help. Been shopping for a new laptop and found there a long waits for many models. I just hope this one I'm working on stays running a long as I need it.

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    2. You can make your laptop function more like a desktop if you want to. Run a separate monitor and keyboard from it. I did that for years, with my work laptop. Then, when I had to travel I just unplugged the externals and off I went with the laptop under my arm. Of course, I had the IT department to help...LOL!

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    3. Like with all tech things, I have to talk myself out of holding on to buggy whips and go with the flow. As long as I can still setup a curved keyboard I'm commented to cutting the tower cord.

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  17. I made the transition from a desktop/tower computer to a laptop about a year ago. It is faster and has more storage than my 8 year old behemoth. While I prefer a larger key board, my typing is so bad it really doesn't matter. I did add a wireless mouse since I detest the finger pad thingy.

    I bet you will find the laptop does everything you need it to with a lot less weight and footprint.

    Good luck!

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    1. I think I've been fighting the idea because I like the visual of a full office as much as anything else. But I'm not fighting the idea anymore because you just can't be the last hold out when tech stuff is involved. But I will connect it to my curved keyboard because I will never get used to all the typing mistakes I'm making without it---too frustrating and breaks my thought processes too much. It's also not good for carpal tunnel issues and I'm over due for that surgery.

      I've been shopping online and a lot of the laptops I want aren't available until August or after! I might just let the local tech chain build me a $400 beater just to have a place for my photos and documents to land and worry about getting a better computer after I move. The laptop I'm using now is 11 years old and I don't want to chance being without one altogether if I tried to put them on this one. I really need a computer for all the moving related issues I'll have coming up online.

      Thanks for your input. So far no one who's made the transition rgrets it.

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  18. Not sure what happened then. Went to publish my comment and got a split second error message before it disappeared. Trying again:
    I'd be gutted if I lost my photos and can imagine how you must be feeling.
    I'm wondering if you've thought of getting a second opinion. The man you describe doesn't sound like the best technician in town.
    February 2020 on the cusp of lockdown my laptop spat the dummy and stacked on a "blue screen of death" turn. Those two weeks were like a waking nightmare.
    I so hope you get your files back and find a computer solution you feel comfortable with.
    I'll be thinking of you. Keep us posted.

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    1. I kind of think they are all going to look at an eleven year old machine the same way, that's it's too old for them to mess with. I'm so busy right know I don't even have time to go pick it back up let alone try to find another shop. There seems to be a storage off all the computers that have high review ratings online which is a bummer. My files should be safe at carbonite until I can get another machine to have them downloaded on. It's just such bad timing.

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  19. Dear Jean, when I became a freelance editor and curriculum developer in 1984--leaving behind a truly well-paying job but wanting change, challenge, and control--two friends convinced me I could earn more on an hourly basis if I used a computer. They introduced me to Apple. I've had an Apple or Mac computer every since, both desktop and laptop. It's been 37 years of working on a computer and still. . . STILL... I'm inept and can't figure out half the time what the messages that come to me from Mac or Microsoft Work or Blogger mean. The perfect example of this was recently when I found out I needed to find more space on my computer for files, etc. I ended up inadvertently deleting every e-mail I'd gotten for the last four years. E-mails from friends who had died during that time, e-mails about tickets I'd purchased to the VanGogh Immersion, and on and on! So I do understand the "woes" you are in. Peace.

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    1. I know exactly what you mean. I get confused all the time. I know how to type and find my way around the web but I don't understand how computer work or how to fix them when then don't.

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  20. I love computers, I hate computers. I agree with all the comments and sympathize with your dilemma. Best of luck. Btw, was the movie you mentioned by any chance The Yearling? I think Peck played a farmer in that one.

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    1. I think you're right about the movie. I'd love to see that one again. Peck was such a great actor and I do remember seeing that film couple of times.

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  21. I can't imagine having a computer that old....I am an Apple gal, faithful about updates and back ups (cloud and external hard drive) and I STILL fret about losing my "life" that is on my laptop. I LOVE my laptop, but don't ask me anything very "tech-y" about how to do anything but push the buttons. Knock on wood, I've never had a fried hard drive or any problems of any importance. I think only once, years ago when we ventured into PC/Windows territory for a bit, we took and old desktop into the shop but other than that no problems. But I do have to replace the laptop every few years in order to stay current on software compatibility, so there's that.

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