August 3, 2013

Just Shoot Me Now

After a tough night with about two hours sleep and a blinding headache from my sinus infection, my day took another downward spiral. My 2-year old Mac desktop computer failed as I tried to wake it from its sleep mode. No matter what I did, the machine did not get past a "white screen of death," as Mac users fondly call the condition. I tried every trick to revive it, as noted on Apple forums, except for one that sounded too frightening to even attempt.  Meanwhile, my head continued to pound.

Mr. Jim reminded me that I ponied up for the 3-year Apple Care protection program when I bought it at our local Apple Store. (That decision turned out to be an investment worth every penny.)  I called the 800 number, and a nice young man (who spoke English!) walked me through the same procedures I had followed repeatedly for over an hour before I surrendered and made the call.  The "white screen of death" remained. He then transferred me over to a nice young lady (who spoke English!) who would take me from there. She walked me through the very last keyboard/power button/standing-on-my-head trick. That didn't work either. I could internally hear the kind of music soundtrack that is popular in scary slasher movies.

The gal on the phone said that I needed to take it in to the Genius Bar at our local Apple Store, and she gave me an appointment for about an hour later. More music of impending doom played in my noggin. You see, our Apple Store is located within the biggest shopping mall within a 100-mile radius. And this is tax free weekend in Tennessee, where thousands of people per hour are descending upon the mall. About half of them are shopping at the Apple Store.  

Just shoot me now.

I despise malls. I despise people with no manners who routinely populate the malls. And I certainly despise 150 decibels of noise when I have a blinding headache.  But I am one of those people, sad to say, that is a heavy computer user.  I'm addicted to it like crack cocaine. So onward we marched to the mall. After getting through the backed-up traffic, I dropped Mr. Jim off at the entry nearest the Apple Store. He carted the machine in while I circled around and finally found a parking space about a quarter of a mile away.  Luckily, I was able to dodge a woman driving a minivan that almost t-boned my car in the parking lot. It was more lucky for her than me because my inner feisty girl would have turned into a raving maniac and our entanglement would have been worthy of the six o'clock news.

After hiking the urban jungle within the cavernous building, and risking physical harm by several nincompoops who can't walk and talk/text on their cell phones in simultaneous fashion, I got to the store and proceeded to wade through a sea of bodies.  A nice Genius Bar guy plugged in my computer and ran a diagnostic program from their server. After about 10 minutes, he said that it looked like a failure of the operating system.  But it would take another hour or so for them to wake it from its pitiful state.

So we bravely went into the teaming mass of people within the mall, in search of rest rooms and a little food (since it was well past lunchtime).  It looked like the food court area contained several thousands of people. Think of the notorious "food fight" scene in Animal House, and multiply it out by the population of India. Do you get the idea? And the decibel level was off the charts. We stumbled around, like the two sick old farts that we are, and escaped with our lives, a diet soda, and some cookies. After another 10 minutes of searching for a place to sit in the mall (the food court was filled past capacity), we found a hard bench to wait out our scheduled time to go back and brave the Apple Store chaos.

The cookies were quite delicious. Ah, a bright spot! We have to find whatever sliver of happiness that we can. And we took on the time-honored tradition of people-watching as the minutes ticked. Oh my gosh, do people not check the mirror before they go out in public?  Do they not even own a mirror?  There is a reason why our country is in serious trouble, based on our unscientific sampling. The bag-lady style of clothes that I only wear around the house would be an improvement for most of the folks that we saw. Apparently, wearing several sizes too small for one's voluminous frame is in fashion. Who knew? Not me. And the majority of adolescent girls must shop the close-out sales of Victoria Secret. Do mothers not check their children's clothing apparel before they leave home?  Ah, we must be fuddy-duddies who live a sheltered life, relics of our time. 

Are you still with me on this story? I'm almost done, I promise.  

We finally returned back to the store, desperately attempting to pole-vault our way back to the Genius Bar at the far end of the Apple Store. And the nice young man assigned to reviving my computer told me the news that I dreaded to hear. The hard drive was toast.  

The silver lining in the whole episode is that I have faithfully used the Time Machine function on my Mac (saving files to a dedicated external drive) and I had the good sense to purchase the Apple Care warranty when I bought the computer. Both are worthy investments that partially save my crispy fried bacon. They will install a new hard drive and operating system for me free of charge. I will get the computer back Monday afternoon. There are two rain clouds hanging over me after I pick it up. I will have to restore the files from my external drive, which will take several hours, and then reload all of my software, which will take several days.

It is curious that I had a premonition that this very thing - a hard drive failure - was going to happen. Don't ask me why I felt this way, because my computer is just shy of 2 years old. Yesterday afternoon, I had researched a couple of online backup services and even figured out which one I was going to get. As I noted in a recent post, I am quite compulsive about backing up my files. But I had never backed up all my programs to make them easier to reload. Most of my programs were downloaded off of the web, so it's not like I have DVDs of them sitting around. Also, if something catastrophic happened to the external hard drive used for backups (e.g., spontaneously failing), an online backup service would provide another measure of protection. I researched a couple of companies and decided which one to use. But I didn't sign up right then and there because I didn't feel well enough to go through the hassle of setting it up. GAH!

Until I can enjoy a reunion with my Mac and restore its usefulness to its former glory,  I am using Mr. Jim's laptop. So I don't know when I will return to posting.  Maybe there will be a Wordless Wednesday photo. Maybe not. Perhaps I will participate in my own photo challenge next Saturday. Perhaps not. In the meantime, I hope that this tale of woe provides you with a little bit of amusement and a healthy dose of paranoia about your computer too. It could fail at any time.  

Heed the wisdom of experience. It's worth it to get an extended warranty on a computer.  (Unless you decide to purchase an HP brand machine. Then the warranty is a waste of money, based on Mr. Jim's entanglement with the HP brand before we jumped on the Apple bandwagon in 2011.) And back up those files!  


  1. I'm so bad at backing up. Only on my home computer, not at work. Thanks for sharing your horrify experience.

  2. oh, you're spreading the fear into me, now. SO glad you had your two 'saves' to help you through this!

  3. Now I remember why I never go to the mall. It totally stinks. Your description was right on.
    I back up with Mozy online and then have an Terebite external backup that fits right into a big slot in my HP.
    I did have to restore files one time when my old computer died a terrible death.
    The restore was brutal and took days but everything was there, all my pictures, music, poems etc.
    The only thing you have to reload is the operating system.
    I hope you get that sinus infection cleared up, they are painful and nasty for sure.
    ((big hug))

  4. oh no, what next, you poor soul as i you aren't suffering enough.I had to laugh when you described the mall, I thought I was bad, lol, you have me beat!!!I hope all is resolved soon, take care, you always make me smile, even when you are so sick, what a trooper you are!

  5. This entire thing struck fear into my heart! The only thing that keep me going was your killer sense of humor! I've been listening to a lot of talk radio...I hear the ads for backing up files...we'll talk behind the scenes.

  6. Why aren't my comments tossed into the spam bucket? I mean the syntax is wild. That's the difference between the iPad and the PC.

  7. ....and to think you were just warning us of this very thing happening! Grrrrrr!!!!

    Your humor did make the story a little easier - at least for us - but I know exactly how the mall experience was having been to one last week. Of course that was on a weekday, no tax exemption bringing in the multitudes from outlying districts, but the same attire visible. Only 18 year olds who weight 99 lbs. or less (and are hopefully not anorectic) should be in some of those clothes - and I don't see huge price discounts for items made from less than 1/4 yard of fabric. And, yes, parents are much too lenient with younger girls who are heading out in public in some unbelievable outfits these days.

    So dear Donna, I'm sorry for the Mac problems and what you had to go through while feeling so miserable. Hope all will go smoothly from hereon out and you can restore everything. Now I'm more scared than ever and must do something to put my mind at rest.

    Hang in there Donna and Jim - thankfully you had each other to survive the mall trip! Hope you feel better soon dear.

    Hugs - Mary

  8. Oh Donna---I loved reading this post... We weren't in that mess at the Apple Store this year---but we've been there twice before getting computers with no sales tax. It is such a hassle --but it did save us a bunch of money. I got my laptop there 4 yrs. ago... It's still working--and I haven't had any trouble with it. BUT--it's not my 'primary' computer. My iMac is! I only use the laptop when we travel.

    I love the way you write. You should write a book sometime.... Your humor is wonderful!!!! I know exactly what you mean about crowds (I hate 'em), noise, rudeness, what people are wearing, etc. etc. etc. When I see kids these days, I 'wonder' where the parents are in their involvement...?????

    It's good to get the warranties and have all of the back-ups. One never knows when a computer will crash...

    Sorry you are feeling so bad... Hopefully, you will be able to sleep tonight --after such a trying day. AND--I hope you feel better this coming week.

    Good Luck getting your computer set back up the way you want it...


  9. Sometimes it's hard to see the humour in events such as these, but I was glad to read your story - full of wryness and the desire to see the best.

    Hope all is soon restored.

  10. Oh, Donna, I feel your pain. I went through something similar at the beginning of the year with my pc and had to buy a new one. I was SO fortunate that Best Buy was able to transfer all my photos and documents to an external hard drive so I could put them on the new computer (I am NOT a tech person and am not good at backing up)... I hope you get everything figured out soon... Donna

  11. Oh my friend. Where do I start? Sheesh! First of all doing ANYTHING with a pounding headache is no fun. But add this frustration and I'm surprised you made it out of there with your sanity.
    And as far as the dress these days, you're not a fuddy duddy. I feel the same way. Too little, too tight, it's ridiculous.
    If I could make it all better for you I would. For now all I can do is give you a big ol' Kim {{{{{HUG}}}}}.
    Love you friend. Get some rest and feel better.

  12. Ditto. My Mac died during the first year of use and I was given a whole new one, fresh from the box. Luckily I hadn't got into too much stuff yet. Then within a couple of months of buying it, my iPad did weird things and I was given a brand new one of them too. I always buy the warranty and like you was thankful I had.
    Some people, like our daughter and SIL never have a problem and with them the 2 kids are on the equipment (sometimes with peanut butter fingers) constantly too. Maybe Apple products prefer reckless handling and not the oh-so-careful attitude that our generation who didn't grow up with them has. :-)
    Hope you get everything restored effectively Donna, good reason to back up for sure and I use an external HD as well as memory sticks for my writing and photos.
    I'll be thinking of you.

  13. Oh my goodness! I dread anytime I have to go to the Apple store because ours too is located in a huge shopping mall! Luckily I rarely have to! Hope your weeks goes better, Donna!

  14. First off, YOU POOR THING with the sinus headache. I can relate in a big way, and perhaps someday tell you the story.

    Secondly, I HATE THE MALL, period.

    Lastly, while trying to imagine how you felt, I had to laugh at your humor. Girl, you could write a book using that humor. I loved it.

    Love you!

  15. Oh my gosh Donna. Talk about being in the same boat. Mine is officially out of RAM. I have no idea what to do since hubs says we've added all we can. UGH...I know how you feel. MY trusty laptop is six years old so I dread dropping the bucks to get a new mac. Good thinking on the extended warranty. I usually don't buy them but when you spend as much as you do on a Mac I think it would be well worth it.

  16. Donna
    It's truly done me good to read this post-now I know that my husband and I are not the only fuddy-duddys left in this world!
    You have had a horrible time of it lately and I can see why you might get a tad frustrated! I do pray things will turn around for you and Jim soon.
    You are both in my thoughts.

  17. Bless your heart... I really need to back up my computer. Can't imagine if I lost all my pictures. That's on my to do list this week! I had my camera replaced because I purchased warranty and so glad I did.

    I'm a 30 something, old fuddy dud who thinks most girls need to wear more clothes... That fit right! I haven't been to a mall in years and really have no desire to.

  18. You've made my day, dear friend! Laughter was what I needed this early morning. Not laughing at you - laughing at your description of life at the mall. That's why I avoid malls as much as possible. I'm so sorry you have to deal with a 'dead' computer but glad you backed up all those files. I have an online backup program and I won't be without it again. Ever! I need to move a bunch of things to my external hard drive. Soon. Thanks for the reminder.

  19. I hope you don't mind, and that you have time for a fun meme, but I've tagged you.

  20. Oh Donna, this is awful. I live in fear of computer problems. My kids bought my iMac for me at the same store you went to. Audrey works near Turkey Creek and she did all the paying and lugging and transporting that heavy sucker here to Columbia for my Christmas in 2009. And when we took my machine out of the box, there was a small crack in the screen. She had to lug it all the way back to Tennessee, exchange it, and cart it back here on New Year's! But what a wonderful thing it has been to have, and now I am just as wild about my MacBookPro that I got last year. I don't know what I'd do without either one.

    I am sorry you're feeling poorly and that you have all the re-installation of software to accomplish. I hope you'll have time to do the Most Influential Blogger meme via Irene, via me, via Debbie, LOLOLOL! xoxoxo & chin up, chickie ...

  21. Hope you and your computer start to feel better soon!


Marty, here! Donna loves comments, and I faithfully pass them on to her. Thank you so much for visiting!