It Got Me Again

Remember Mercury retrograde? The quarterly phenomenon that astrologers claim affects technology and communication and when I post about how it's out to get me, I get the distinct sensation that there's eye rolling out there, people not quite buying into this. Settle in my friends and let me tell you about my week. Have your morning drink of choice with you? Tea, coffee, vodka… (I’m the one with the vodka)

Last Friday, my computer let me know there was an update to be downloaded, so I did. Installed the update and my computer promptly started making chugging sounds, working at away at something in the background, in general slowing things down. I'm thinking it might be that malicious software removal thing Microsoft feels is essential - does anyone know if I need it if I have a decent antivirus program? So I did a system restore, setting things back to Thursday, restored my user files in Dragon - system restores messes with them - but there's a trick and it's easy and all is well.

Except for some reason, the delete key on my keyboard now doesn't work when I'm writing an e-mail in Outlook Express. It works in all other applications and it even works in a generalized mailboxes of OE (i.e., I can delete an e-mail using the delete key). I google, can find absolutely nothing that would explain this and move on with my life, intending to fix it later and in the meantime using cursor and backspace keys to solve the problem. Of course, I could use Dragon, as it is the reason I use OE instead of Thunderbird - Dragon doesn't work very well at all in the latter and works only medium in the former - but because of it only working so-so, I use a keyboard a lot when I'm writing e-mails. A few days later, I click on a file on a website which will take me to a PDF page and discover that whatever happened on Friday now causes Firefox to crash when asked to read a PDF file. Crash in such a way that I need to reboot the computer to make it work again. Can't be bothered, so I go to my backup and click to open Internet Explorer. It starts to load, the window appears briefly and…. disappears.

Sunday evening, my wheelchair starts acting possessed again. Whenever I turn it on, it claims there is an error and I need to check my left brake release. There's nothing wrong with my left brake release and the problem is solved by turning off the chair and then turning it on again. Except this happens every time I turn it on and I make arrangements for Dave the Wonder Repair Guy to come take a look.

Tuesday. Dave diagnoses the need for new left motor, the world goes a little dark around the edges as I contemplate a couple of thousand dollars flying out of my bank account credit card account, but am later told that it is covered under the five-year warranty. I do a little happy dance. I'll have to spend most of Thursday going into the shop to get this fixed, there'll be rather interesting pain levels as a consequence, but I have The Big Drugs. It’ll suck, but needs must.

Later that day, I try to do another system restore to get IE back, which I don't, but somehow in the process lose the ability to restore my user files in Dragon. Am on the verge of reinstalling it when I remember I had a moment of brilliance and backed up the user files. I copy them over on the hard drive, they work, I do little happy dance.

Wednesday evening, as I'm getting up from my Mandatory Rest Period, my automatic door opens. On its own. I call for an emergency repair call. They give me a quote of $250. This is the moment where my stomach starts trying to eat itself. I hang up, breathe, weigh randomly opening door, safety issues and bank account. Safety wins, I book the call. Tech says problem likely caused by radio frequencies from a cellphone. Changes access code, gives me an off switch while he’s here should it happen again (so I can wait to book the service call for during the day when they won’t require blood sacrifices in return). Tells me he’s pretty sure the cost of an emergency service call is $500. Stomach starts working on my liver, spleen and large intestine, as well. Tech departs.

Thursday, I go into the shop to get the chair fixed and the drive up the Don Valley Parkway is astonishingly beautiful - all the trees have popped in the past week and there are a thousand shades of green so vigorous my eyes had trouble adjusting. Get to the shop, offer to leave my chair, but the tech tells me there is no need, the jack will only lift the back of my chair a little off the floor. I think about the resulting pain issues, but am willing to give it a go. I inquire whether he’s sure it's a motor issue and not the controller, because what with everything that's been happening with this chair, I suspect the controller, but he’s sure it's a motor. In no time, he has the old motor out and the new one on and I am pleasantly surprised by how easy it all was. Then we turn on the chair and I start towards the lobby. At which time my intermittent demon takes possession of the chair and it starts spinning rapidly in a circle.

We manage to stop the chair, the tech and another one who's nearby are white as sheets, trembling and panting a bit, looking at me with eyes as big a teacups. "It does that," I say, deciding on the spot that from now on, my chair is officially called Regan. They look at each other, then back at me, then talk at length about how scared they were and why wasn't I. Because after 5-6 of these events, it takes more to scare me (and Regan, honey? That's not a challenge for you to do it again). At this point they need to get the back of my chair much higher off the ground, tip it way over to the right, then way over to the left while they insert blocks under the rear wheelbase (and my back starts screaming), recalibrate the controller three times just to make sure and now everything works. I go home and as I turn on my chair to get out of the van, my display informs me that there is an error code and - get this - to check my left brake release. I call the shop, tell the guy what happened and he says: "that's the controller, then." I start growling. Dave the Wonder Repair Guy is coming today to install a new one.

Mercury Retrograde started on May 7. Last Thursday. Don’t tell me it’s bullshit.

Update, 11:50am - After Dave had been crawling around on my floor for an hour installing and programming the new controller, I turned on the chair and... Error 10 - check left brake release. We sobbed a bit, then laughed, then growled. Dave will be back next week after the new extension cords (next logical solution) have been ordered. Regan "should be fine for the weekend." Universe? Enough with the cat toy thing. Uncle. Pretty please?


Terri Lynn said…
OMG!!!! Anything technical just shuts me down....thank goodness you have both experience and patience. What an experience, which has prepared you for future mishaps. They are going to happen so you may as well giggle and stay calm. I want a vodka after reading this and I do not drink.

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