Thursday, August 12, 2010

Long Suffering Spouse saves the day

I am pleased an honored to be coming to you this morning from my brand new machine, the one with the even newer motherboard, located in my Inner Sanctum, just as it should be, and connected to the Internet... just as it should be. For me, it's Monday morning -- at least in terms of the work I've accomplished, or failed to accomplish this week -- but, before the colors fade, I wanted to set down how I got back to this hopeful spot....

Yesterday, I told you about my exile from the Internet. I regaled you with thrilling tales of replacing major components, wiping out all programs and files, phony IP addresses -- if you don't believe me, read it yourself -- and left you waiting, with me, for a phone call from a guy who takes care of tech issues at my wife's school.

This is Chicago, after all. In Chicago, we don't make referrals, we don't suggest that someone may be helpful -- instead, we "got a guy." As in, "I got a guy who can take care of that for you."

Guys are doled out sparingly. I mean, when you give someone your guy, he or she ("guy" in this sense is gender neutral) might then became that person's guy. Of course, if things work out, that person is in your debt.

Anyway, yesterday, when I left you, I was waiting for my wife's guy -- or, if you prefer, because that does look awkward on the page, her school's guy. In the meantime I'd been to court and got to talking with a colleague about my troubles. He was sympathetic. "I've been through that recently," he said. "It was awful. But now I've got some people."

"People" is the plural of "guy." It may also be a slightly more sophisticated way of saying "guy," depending on usage. Note, though, that my colleague did not volunteer the identity of his guy... or his people. If I'd been rude enough to put him on the spot by asking for a name, he'd probably not have volunteered anything. The usual response to such an improper inquiry is something like, "I've got his card back at the office." In other words, you have to call to get the guy. You've got to ask the favor.

Creationists who doubt that man evolved from simian forbears should note: This complicated accounting of personal favors is another form of primate grooming, more sophisticated than, but not unlike, one baboon picking lice out of another's fur. My colleague made an offer. That was a little favor. If I called to take him up on it, that would be asking a much bigger favor.

Well, I got back to the office and pretended to work. Mostly, though, I just waited. Because this has been wearing on me. These computer issues were weighing on me like stones being 'pressed' on a suspected witch. Put it this way: My wife came down to pick me up at the office at 9:30 Tuesday night because she was concerned that, in my distraction, I might step in front of the train instead of on to it.

Finally, the phone rang. It was 'Don' (as always... names are changed).

"Uh, hi," he began, "your wife said --"

"Don!" I interrupted. "You are the answer to a maiden's prayer!"

"I've never heard that one before," he said, undoubtedly wondering how he'd gotten roped into calling this crazy person.

It took two hours. I told him what I'd done before. I ran back and forth between my Inner Sanctum and the conference room and the closet where all the Internet connections are funneled into a pathway to the outside world. (Cordless phones are very helpful at times.) I set up the old computer back in my office. Don looked up manuals for the modem and the router and the whatchamacallit in between. Here there were all sorts of plugs jammed into a tiny corner of the shelf above the coat rack. I'd report which lights were green and which were not. I'd pull one plug, then check on whether we had a live connection in my office.

In this way, we eventually determined that we had a dead port in the router. By plugging that same cord into the whatchamacallit, we were able to reestablish a live connection to my room. But, this was not yet the end of the problem: Though my old computer could "see" the restored connection, the new one could not. Eventually, we "forced" an IP address on the new computer... and then it too saw the Internet.

And, thankfully, this morning, it still does.

Don will send me a bill. I'm hoping he will follow up also on my request for him to clear out that closet and streamline the existing rats' nest of cables and machines that we have back there. (Two of the lawyers who moved to the Undisclosed Location with us, the one who has since died and the one who moved to Florida and took the bar exam there after 36 years in practice here, shared a mini-network here. That was also tied into the secretarial station. Thus the pile of extra hardware and cables in the closet -- none of it in use but all of it operating. But we are operating through it, somehow.) I'll gladly pay the bill to simplify that as well. But the one I really owe for this happy state of affairs is Long Suffering Spouse -- because she gave me her guy. This is gonna cost me....


Jean-Luc Picard said...

New machines can be a worry, but exciting as well.

Empress Bee (of the High Sea) said...

ha! i knew it was the router! buggers.

smiles, bee