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Monday, August 5, 2002

What's worse, staring off into space in the middle of the night, when I should be sleeping, or staring off into space in the middle of the day, when I should be working? I guess you could probably argue both sides, and they sort of complement each other anyway. I could work more efficiently if I could sleep better, but I could sleep better if everything else were going smoothly.

Smoothly it did not go today. I should have known, I should have known, I should have known. Any time I'm primed for something wonderful, it all goes splat. Don't sit under the apple tree with me, my dear, unless you too want to be covered with bird shit.

Let's start with the self-fulfilling prophecy. I didn't expect to sleep well last night, and I didn't. I was up and down all night. I tried the radio (the local country station) and I tried the TV (an all-night variety show, in Spanish). I picked up my book (still The Shipping News) and put it down. Lights on, lights off.

Some time between four and five I finally drifted off. A couple of hours later the alarm went off (actually that same radio station, except that in the morning they mostly just talk and make stupid jokes and generally make me want to reach through the wires and throttle 'em). Anyway, I was awake for good.

For good or for bad. I was in and out of the bathroom all morning, before I could even turn on the computer and try my hand at installing software. It seems like such a simple thing, and I've done it often enough, but not for awhile. Somehow since the last time my CD drive has given up on me. It's there, the computer tells me that much, but it's "not ready." And I had no idea how to get it ready.

Let me say something about Gateway "support." I didn't feel especially well supported by them. I filled out the form on their website (thank goodness I still have my dial-up connection) and gave them all the information they asked for. I let them download their little diagnostic program.

And what did I get for my trouble? A link to one of their web pages (which when printed out is ten pages in the smallest font visible to the human eye). That's what I got. And that page was so intimidatingly complex, arcane and obscure that I gave up. I crawled into a little hole and pulled a big pile of dry weeds down over me. I closed my eyes so the world would go away.

I couldn't eat and I couldn't concentrate, but at least I could still work. I could work, that is, if I could think straight. Mondays are usually my days to stress out over the amount of work I have to do and how little I can get done in one day. This Monday I stressed about something else, so at least I didn't worry about how little I was accomplishing. That could possibly come back to haunt me later in the week, if I make it that far.

Whatever happens, I can't be without the computer for more than a day, at least until I've done this week's payroll. It's useless to think I can get any cooperation from the people who are supposed to send their time cards to me by Monday. They'll show up on the fax Wednesday morning, as usual. So after Wednesday, I'll try to find someone who'll promise to fix everything up within a day or two.

Or maybe I'll just buy a new CD-ROM drive. My diagnosis (ha! there's a laugh) is that the old one is just worn out. When I put in a CD, I can hear it whirring and spinning for a couple of seconds, and then it just seems to fade to nothing. That sounds like an old, used-up part to me. I checked Best Buy's site and they're around fifty dollars (which the Boss will pay, whether he knows what he's paying for or not).

Of course, then I'll have to worry about installing another piece of hardware. More sleepless nights lie ahead, I'm sure of that.

bed spread

Bed's no good for sleeping, but it's fine for laying out (currently) useless computer gear.

I spent half the day feeling sorry for myself and the rest looking for worst-case long-range scenarios (maybe that's the same thing, come to think of it). One thing's for sure. I'll face tomorrow with much (!) lower expectations.

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