The important thing is not to take it as a punishment — Amy, Jack’s widow, remembering her life, from Swift’s Last Orders
I am now in what a friend who reads this blog and comments on it calls a computer hell. We had a power outage here all over the DC and (my own incompetence and lack of knowledge) I did not pull the plug on my computer. The admiral had installed anti-viral software but no surge suppressor. So when the power came back on, my computer crashed or seemed to die; at any rate, it would not turn on.
After much anguished attempts to see if I could re-boot, when Caroline came over, she declared the problem beyond her and I went to Best Buy. By two days later they had first misdiagnosed the thing, and said it was just the motor; and then when after installing a new one, the computer still would not turn on said it was them motherboard. People have told me it could be many other things. I did ask them to estimate how much it would cost to install a new computer, but in the meantime I bought a new computer ($529 with mouse and keyboard I don’t need), which they claimed they could transfer all my files onto.
When I brought home the new computer (a tower), I discovered the transfer the geek squad was supposed to do is only partial: most of my most recent stuff is not transferred. Unless Caroline’s best friend’s husband, Liam, can and will help us (me) I may have lost a huge amount of my work. Caroline did transfer all she could shortly after the admiral’s death and we have that in two boxes that are mysteries to me.
Just as bad: Windows 8 is as ridiculously hard to cope with as people say. At first even Yvette was baffled how even to shut the computer off, but googling, she discovered that in the right hand corner if you persist in dragging and sofly tapping the very corner a series of icons come up and among these if you click again you come upon “shut down” or (the cutsey) “sleep.”
This is the thing I most feared could happen if the admiral predeceased me and it has — it took two months. I knew I was in way over my head in much that I did, over the years there were many times when if he wasn’t here, I would have made devastating errors, or he retrieved what I had started to do in time, or when something adverse happened, he managed to cope. In buying new computers, he successfully saved and transferred my data each time, something this so-called geek squad at Best Buy (Potomac Mills, Jefferson Highway branch) failed to do.
Vindicatingly — people over the years have suggested to me to have a website the way I do is so risky, that I may lose it at any time, that it will go when I die (well it only needed him to risk that) — what is saved perfectly is all I put on that website. I am fearful because among the programs I no longer have on my computer is Filezilla and a Notepad +- (green and white) which enable me to maintain, build (add to), fix the website.
This is not the first time I have found that putting things on the website makes them clear and easily usable. It’s better than the blogs for finding things because the blogs have to be searched backwards — as chronologically speaking that is how they are saved.
I also lack my vlc viewer which is the best movie-viewing program on the web. It is a free one and (thus?) seems never to come with a computer. Early versions of Windows seem to come with some programs; this one comes with almost nothing. I lack the program I used to scan in documents and copy them — without it the connection of my printer and scanner to the new computer is useless. Caroline attempted to download that last night but was too tired. There is now no anti-viral software. You name it, it’s gone: a calculator, an icon with letters and accents for foreign languages, a device which enabled me to size down pictures beautifully. OpenOffice.org which I was using for my Ethelinde edition for Valancourt.
Bless her she did download firefox, chrome, somehow transferred many of my bookmarks from my MacbookPro laptop.
I would bring back the computer at 10 this morning but Caroline says not to do this, to wait until she can come over (in a day or so) and then look herself as well as herself download some of these programs. Her best friend’s husband will also come over to help.
We do have a plan with some power: a man, Mr P, who works in Caroline’s office and sells state-of-the-art computers is putting together a package which will include wide monitor, mouse, laptop “doc” (so no more big tower) and I am going to purchase that. Some $1500. He offered to be a IT aid for us to start this off and enable us to keep it going. I pray the program will be Windows 7.
I am so aware that much that I literally do nowadays is the direct result of the Admiral’s absence. Maybe other widows and widowers ty or succeed in carrying on their daily life in the same way except the beloved person is absent (except for or once money troubls are resolved), but I find I can’t. I can’t live alone with no company literally near me all day. It’s not in me. Maybe other women can or try but I can’t even try. So I seek a job, I seek local friends. My routine is partly what once was his: shopping, things that have to do with keeping the house up. But I have a working TV and watch it, I keep the radio on much of the day (tuned to NPR – he would have it only at night and not all the time). I go to psychologists. I do have to drive Yvette everywhere. I am delighted and often relieved when Caroline comes over (at least once a week), but oftener than that when I am in need or Izzy and I lean too much and know she has her own troubles.
I stumble and fall everywhere, fail continually. I tried to use the multi-system, multi-purpose DVD player by myself when Yvette was asleep and discovered it would not play the British DVD for the first season for Downton Abbey right. It seemed the menu was below the line of the TV and the player kept coming back to Episode 2 and refused to play another. Caroline comes over and immediately says the problem is my “aspect” button (very tiny) on my Insignia remote (the one of the 4 I have which controls the TV directly). She hits that and voila, the menu for the DVD comes in view and the disk begins to play right.
This morning I tried to begin to use and learn Word again on the Macbook pro and instead seemed to erase all programs but iTunes. Yvette had to take over five minutes to think to hit F3 which minimalized everything and I could see the unsaved Word file, a tiny itunes and small gmail. We enlarged that and I was back, but without Yvette I would not have been able to do a thing. So I fear trying again. A local friend I go to the movies with has offered to come over on Friay and tutor me.
Am I computer incompetent? I never seem to guess at what’s gone wrong or how to fix it
I have no pictures for this blog because I lost all my pictures and have no program to size them down. I had a big file of common place quotations on my desktop and one of the ways I had quotations available was I turned to that. I gather the way this Geek Squad makes sure they do not transfer programs is to not transfer anything on a desktop. So unless Caroline and Liam or Mr P can retrieve what I kept on my desktop for use in my blog all this is gone too.
Were I to believe in a god I’d have to say he or she is fiendishly punishing me for the last 6 months — since the day the Admiral had the esophagectomy, an 11 hour operation in the hospital. Since then I’ve never known a day without some anguished anxiety, terrible hurt or downright disaster. The admiral was himself a Disaster from August 4th on when he could no longer endure eating. Among the perverse ironies of his story is he did love to eat and especially foods with strong flavors and so he starved to death.
Not only fiendishly but absurdly. A small unimportant creature such as I, easily knocked off by say a car running me over, or accident or set of pills or weapon — or sickness. I now realize I never came near death in the way the Admiral experienced his agon. When four times I lost over half my body blood in a vast hemorrhage I was still feeling alive in my body otherwise. It was a brush with death. Given this propensity, I thought I had a good chance to die before him — even with his high blood pressure, cholesterol problems, diverticulitis. I didn’t think of what the acid reflux might bring. Graham Swift has his character, Amy, the widow in Last Orders think to herself “the thing is not to take it as a punishment,” but how then to take it?
Who would bother with me? What fiendish forces?
But of course it’s not so; rather it was in the cards of his and my life together, strongly built upon his know-how that when I lost him, flaws in me lead to much that I am now knowing and enduring. When will these agons, great and small, come to an end?
Sylvia walking off with her two cats