It started ordinarily enough. Coffee. A glance in the mirror.Oops! Better wash my hair.
The early morning (like three a.m.) plunging of a blocked drain out back, under the porch, to allow the accumulating water to go away instead of cresting the door sill and entering the basement had worked up a sweat, steamed my hair into impossible blurps, clumps of ugliness.
Snow is stunningly beautiful on its first fresh fall. Dry powdery snow covered all the landscaping sins, and mole hills in the front yard. It tatted beautiful lace on the delicate branches of the Japanese Maple. It preserved the tiny footprints of the leaping squirrel.
“Oh look. Bunny prints!” said Mrs. Stepford. They were certainly the right size and the leap between each set of four footpad marks was worthy of a rabbit. Later I clued in that it must have been a squirrel. There was only one set in a widespread area and the only way to have achieved that was to have leapt from the cedar tree. Bunnies couldn’t do that.
Snow drifted down gently and persistently until we had four inches and it stayed that way for twenty four hours. But this is the West Coast which we quite aptly call the Wet Coast, and a Pineapple Express storm swept in right afterwards bringing six inches of rain. Ordinarily I wouldn’t worry, but the accumulation of snow now beginning to melt furiously with the 11 degree temperature coming smack-dab after the minus 3 of the previous day meant that we would have tons of water with nowhere to go.
In the morning I went and cleared the street gutters in front of our place to ensure the melting water could go down the storm drains, then I cleared the sidewalks in front of my house and Mrs. Stepfords’. It wasn’t difficult because the snow wasn’t deep and it was easy enough to push it out of the way. ‘Twas good exercise.
We’d been snowed in for two days and Mrs. S. had some errands to run as did I. We hopped in my car and went up to the London Drugs Mall. My mouse had quit on me. The technician tested it, just in case it was my computer and not the mouse. Guiltless computer established, they simply replaced the dead mouse with a brand new one, same make, same model. (Since I’m whining again, I will mention that I lost my entire two page Christmas letter in the process and all the updates I had made in various files because I couldn’t operate the computer without the mouse.)
By end of day, I had a second mouse failure. Must be something with that model.
In between time, while the new one was working, I’d written a letter to the insurance and updated some of my tax accounting. Bookkeeping, really. You guessed it! The mouse began emitting its frantic red flashing light just like the previous one had. I tried many things to keep that mouse functioning, all to no avail. Had you been a fly on the wall, you might have seen this portly, aging lady lower herself gingerly to the floor onto the anti-static mat underneath the desk, flatten herself and wriggle like a worm to get her head close to the rear of the computer tower to see if another port would make the mouse function. I wiped the floor like that three times in succession trying to get the #@(*# mouse to work. I took it back to London Drugs this afternoon around five p.m.
This time the technician was not so hasty to give me a new one. There was power still going through the mechanism. There was blue light, as there should be, but seconds later the screaming red flashes would recommence. He had hopes for it and sent me back home.
“”Did you push the plug in far enough? Did you have a good solid connection?” he asked as if a little old lady couldn’t possibly have any computer smarts.
“It’s not as if I’ve just started with computers,” I defended myself. “I’ve been using them since 1984 when we first got them at work. I’m not an expert, but I know how to plug a mouse in….”
I wondered if he knew he had gotten quite close to offending me.
I went straight back to the computer, plugged the blankety-blank thing in and got nothing. Not even a bit of power.
Back I went, sweeping up the floor with the entire left side of my body while trying the mouse in different plug-in ports. In the process, I lost my insurance claim letter so expertly written. The important thing was, though, that I still couldn’t operate the computer without a live and powerful mouse.
I had not one whit of desire to go out of the house. Not one. And yet if I expected to do anything more on this machine, I would have to. I’m married to the darn thing now. I can barely function without it. I account with it. I write prose and poems with it. I write my letters with it. I keep my addresses on it. I amuse my self with Freecell on it. I catch up with news on it. I use it for a dictionary and encyclopedia. I check my spelling with it. I research purchases, check time tables and schedules, order airline tickets, command photo orders, keep in touch with friends and family, copy bills for the record, and that’s not all.
So I went back to London Drugs. I must say their return policy is wonderful. They gave me a brand new mouse, again, but a different brand. Stay tuned. Who knows what will happen to this one. For the moment, it’s working.
I took a break from my unwanted manoeuvers. I thought I might trim some cardboard that I needed for a project and went downstairs to get one of those self-sealing cutting boards. While looking around for it in my still unsorted basement, I put my hand on top of the rack, shelving unit, that I am using for storing my paintings, chalk pastels, drawings and paper stock. A slurp of water came tumbling off the top item, thankfully encased in mylar. Oh dear!
Somewhere in the front of my house, I have a leak coming in, travelling as water is wont to do, and depositing directly on top of the storage unit right onto my framed and unframed art work. I’ve already got a cleaning basin up there from the leak I found two days ago.
I was expected at Mrs. S’s for a late evening cup of tea. She had promised me some poached pears if I came and that’s a hard thing to turn down for any reason.
“Which of the bad news would you like to hear first?” I moaned as I walked in the door.
Her intelligent eyes scanned me up and down and she said nothing. Her eyebrows lifted in a question, inviting me to continue on, prepared to listen.
I started with the mouse and ended with the leaks.
The poached pear was wonderful; the company and conversation a blessing. Mr. S joined the conversation. Like a team of sleuths, we tried to shed some light on the provenance of these water deposits.
Mrs Stepford sent me home with a roll of plastic sheeting that I’ve spent the last hour trying to install over the whole shelving unit. It’s way past midnight and I’ve got to go.
“It’s been quite a day, Maggie Muggins.”