I'll be the first to admit that I don't know how these things work. All I know is that if something can go wrong, I'll be sure to react badly and probably make it worse.
This was going to be a pressure-packed day anyway, but I didn't need this. I spent most of the day fighting with the Dreamhost mail server and trying to get it to release my messages. It started with 22 messages at 9:00 this morning that it simply refused to download to me. By 1:00 this afternoon there were 46 messages.
That's when I came up with my first stopgap solution. I went to the Dreamhost web panel and added a line to my email rules that forwarded incoming messages to another account, while still saving them at my main address. That was fine for messages sent after one o'clock, but I still had no idea what to do about the earlier ones, locked on the server.
Every time I tried to retrieve them, I could see my email client struggling and grunting and then just throwing up its hands and surrendering. Then comes the notice that there might be a problem, that maybe the server was unplugged or underwater or something. The connection was all screwed up and I could try again later.
I tried later, again and again, sometimes fifteen times in a row. Then I accessed the Help files and searched for a solution there. I kept going back to Dreamhost to see if there was something on their status panel that might give me a hint. Finally, about 4:00 this afternoon, I remembered that I could access my Dreamhost mail on the web. I just couldn't remember how.
After a little more research, I did exactly that, and I read through all 46 messages. I forwarded the important ones to my other account, and as I was working on the last one, I heard the "new mail" sound that told me that at last I was getting some mail. All the mail was finally being delivered. Two copies of each message, the original and the one I'd just forwarded.
If I'd waited another half hour, I wouldn't have had to do anything else but wait that extra half hour. As usual, I'd panicked just in time to prove that panicking doesn't do a bit of good.
All this time I was also trying to get some work done, and trying to shake off the allergies and sleeplessness that made it even harder to cope. And then there's this pain in my head from banging it repeatedly against the wall. You don't have to convince me how much I depend on getting my email, but I had it brought home to me today, big time. I haven't had a more frustrating day in forever.