Previously on A&A's Cohabitative Adventures: Festive dinners for two-at-a-time! Chairs! Swarms of swans and profligate princes fighting strange men in enormous capes!! Rapidly reproducing personal computing devices ascend upon the Wright home!!! And, attractive mug-shots attained. And now, deep breath all for a tense and turgid post: the internet crisis of 2013...
What the Comcast Giveth, it Also Taketh Away (or is that the motorola router??): Teff Love in Time of Internet Outages - Well, we did have internet at home for a few days. Those blissful eidetic days of surfing and chatting and googling... oh how you seem all a heady dream today. Surely the times when and I could sit in different rooms of the house g-chatt(er)ing at each other from our devices could never have tasted so darkly succulent...
Last night, horror of horrors, our internet up and died even faster than the house-warming daisy languishing on our window sill (told you, I kill plants - it's something about my aura). Internet-death was appropriately preceded by receipt of our first Comcast bill (a bill that might have been paid last night, had we actually had internet). I tried a few minor pokes and prods before growing weary of such diversions. With auric gritlessness and daunted determinism, I then returned to whatever crossword I had been plugging through.
Andrew was far more determined. He spent much of the evening on various help lines getting his own continental tour of the world of customer support. I'm fairly certain that we at least made it to Pakistan on our journey through the elevator music and assurances that our call is very important to whomever. Comcast couldn't help us (I'm shocked). Motorola didn't really want to help us much. Amazon has sent us instructions for returning the router. Since we already had a bill due that day - one of many slated to be paid - Andrew got to continue his unpleasant telephone marathon and attempt to pay our utility set up deposit somethingorother. I do not envy him. I did make sure that he got some leftover chow mein, presumably gulped between exasperated gasps while various people asked if he had tried unplugging the device and plugging it back in... etc.
Feeling a modicum of guilt for consigning him to such tasks, I attempted to be otherwise helpful. I mostly failed. I started moving his laundry to the dryer for him. Started. I recalled - just at the moment he began to vociferously intervene - that he has very specific protocols for drying things. His cycling clothes receive far gentler treatment than my most gossamer of sartorial fantasias. This is due mostly to the fact that I am exceedingly negligent and throw anything I own into the same wash without regard for colors/whites/heats/fabrics - life's too short not to just replace weak items with tougher things. I abandoned "helping" before he collapsed in a pile of his own frustrated froth, but not before further damage was done. Apparently he was not planning to run the dryer that night. Once I'd started moving things, he imagined I did so out of a desire to use the washer myself. In other words, I added yet another chore to his evening. Yep, because that's what love is for! I believe we had some chance to catch up and discuss our days between various phone calls, but it was certainly a barrier to the perfectly laid catch-up plans of our mutual days.
I'm not entirely sure why, but I was also exhausted by about 8:00 p.m. last night. This probably spared Andrew all kinds of "helpfulness" during battles, since I spent the rest of the evening half-cognizant in bed, under my quilt. I suspect the bleariness came from a double whammy of our Collaborative Law meeting and my final bank name change blitz. I am, as you may have noticed, the secretary of the Collaborative Law board. The delightful obligation of recording our meeting minutes falls upon me, as such. I relish the opportunity, since I am allowed a long leash of irreverence (and, of course, the historian, herself, ultimately controls history - a power I only half-consciously abuse in my reframing of issues to cater to my interpretation of things) .
Of course, since my work-product (minutes) is on the line, I care passionately about the flow of meetings. The subject, improving and expanding collaborative law... sure, in theory. But let's get real: what matters is that we have clear agendas, goals for future meetings, and well articulated summations of what the group has done and where we stand. I'd be happier with a perfectly outlined plan to storm City Hall and declare martial law that requires collaborative divorces for all married couples within two years, than a muddled but brilliantly amorphous intention to save the world's divorcing couples from angst and strife with new technology and excellent training.Actually, I rather fancy the former idea regardless of organizational quality, but that's beside the point.
I may even get a little impatient when it comes to extracting what exactly the group is saying, agreeing, discussing (often, as these things can be, obscure). I may exert my gentle but firm exactitude more strongly when decisions truly need to be made (as was the case in this meeting).
Of course this little introvert can only steer a conversation so many times without getting a touch sleepy. And changing my name at the credit union turned out to be an hour long ordeal with a solicitously friendly clerk who may have known my mother about twenty years ago, but wouldn't quite specify from where.
While the evening was frustrating and exhausting in esse, it was hardly as taxing as such descriptions might imply. Possibly because the frustrations were mostly delegated to my yangier half. This morning brought new hope that maybe something would get done and life would go on. We got our very lovely wedding photos from Zach (BIL #2) to start the day off (W)right.
The sun came out to play. My passport application is finally in the mail after I accidentally destroyed the last priority mail envelope trying to put my marriage certificate into it after I'd already sealed the darned thing. And I've got plenty of time to kick back for breaks, drink my coffee, sip my tea, swig my soda... and maybe eat my teff.
Teff, incidentally, is another long time favorite weird grain of mine. Those familiar with Ethiopian food will know it as the basis of injera bread. It's a tiny little dark grain also sometimes referred to as love grain (awwww - see I made my random food interjections all topical because I'm in the honeymoon period and I'm eating something with "love" in the alternate name!). I like to cook some up over the weekend and then rewarm it with plenty of soy milk, raisins, pecans and cinnamon. It turns into this viscous delicious paste when prepared this way.
With the photos, the teff, and the lack of any lasting house fires since that toast incident, I'd say that we shall weather this latest internet hiccup and emerge triumphantly on the other side: All I need is love grain. And a smart phone with 4G. That helps too.
"Working" "at home" - So, today, there is a BIG MEDIATION at the office. Yep, that's right: the mediator and parties will be riding in on elephants and wearing those inflatable sumo suits - you know that would help reach durable agreements. I am not involved in this mediation. My office, however, is integral. It's one of those mediations in which the parties should rightfully never be in the same room together. We are accommodating this arrangement by ... well, kicking me out of the office. Right now, there is likely some opposing party rifling through my personal papers and messing up the settings on my treadmill. I just know it! If only I'd had time to appropriately booby trap the place (I have seen Home Alone several times, so I think I could have done a fabulous job given the time and resources). Alack, I will have to make do with having shoved everything remotely sensitive into various black holes of paper piles on shelves. When the mediation lets out and I am recalled to helm the treaddesk, I will likely have to spend several hours extracting any work other remaining in the office (and possibly dodging flying paint cans if I actually did set up booby traps and then forget, which is not impossible) with an excavator.
The original exile plan (my plan) was that I'd go to the movie, but turns out there's plenty of work I can do with just a computer and internet. Which is pretty great, except of course - as previously mentioned - we're experiencing a bit of a snag in the whole internet-havingness at the newlywed shack. So, I've immigrated to my mother's house. To, you know, "work"... naturally. Working from home is not necessarily the easiest thing to get started when there are things like pretty days going on outside. Sadly - to speak of my deranged work ethic and/or the fact that my allergies are turning this beautiful outdoors nonsense into the grown up equivalent of hot lava (I dared not tread there!) - I've actually managed to work enough that my back is remembering why the hell I own a treaddesk. Sitting while working HURTS! I've been having to take little foam roller breaks just to stem the burbling eruption of knots and twinges. On the bright side, I can in fact roll around on my roller in yoga pants as needed. I can also do what is admittedly a fairly tedious task (hence, perhaps why it is still available for doing today) with South Park blaring on in the background.
Meanwhile the internet-crisis at home has reached a critical juncture. Boxes and labels have been provided for the tense exchange of router for store credit. What comes next, only time will tell. I will promise you that the house-warming daisy certainly will not likely last out the night and witness internet-armistice...
The Motorola Surfboard Strikes Back: Internet Redemption - So, of course, our internet situation was untenable. Had such data drought persisted, my new husband and I may have had to actually - oh I don't know - interact with each other without the comforting lubrication of two screens and separate rooms connected via google chat! We may even have had to resort to board games or singalongs to fill our lonesome evenings. It's a fate worse than death, I know. Surely, such grizzly providence could not have been born!! Fortunately, such travesties and hardships were not to be endured... last night, anyways... Given that our prior router worked for approximately three days before it began the blinking indicator discotheque of doom, we may have only received a temporary reprieve. But hey, just so long as we time our purchases of new routers to coincide with the weekend, I'm sure we'll all be fine.
Andrew is still new to his job and does not feel quite so comfortable handling internet type errands on the work computers. His protest is that if he did so, he would simply be at work that much longer. I am not sure he uses his breaks the same way that I do. He also does not appear to like doing much more than vital email business and compulsive scanning of his facebook app on his smart phone. As such, his non-life-threatening email was piling up higher than the Tower of Babel. Bills that he had previously awarded himself have been sitting in various piles on his computer desk.
As of last nightm I am now the bill payer for our joint account. He claims he has delegated this task to me, although I'm not sure I'm acting as his representative per se as much as I'm a concerned citizen whose own living situation rather depends on the bills getting sorted out in a timely manner. At any rate, without internet things were kind of piling up at an astounding rate. Not only would we have been consigned to playing twister with death in the living room, but we'd have to have done so with all the vital utilities shut off, and a pile up of garbage that nobody would pick up for us. All in all, I'm relieved to have the internet back. Andrew picked up a new router last night "on his way" home from work - technically he went past our house and all the way to the northside of Bellingham to do so, but close enough.
While Andrew pored through emails (responding to things I think I may have sent him when we were still living in sin, by asking "have I responded to this yet??"), I managed to reclaim my kindle conversion project. Since my regular kindle was giving me the melty-screen of kindle-necrosis, I decided that it was time to minimize my menagerie of devices just an eensy bit. The kindle went in the trash and my Galaxy Tab has succeeded it. Since my mother has a penchant for reading roughly twenty novels of all scopes, breadths and genres on any given week, she has added a small entourage to her kindle account, including me.
This makes for quite the entertaining archive. There's David's books, mostly James Patterson or Tom Clancy - plot driven masculine frenzies that are best read in large print and are usually in bidding wars for movie rights before the final word is printed. There are my sister's books - usually Jodi Picoultish ruminations on relationships, friendships and things of the nature that would earn the title "chick lit" in my father's world. There are my grandmother's books - most of which are purchased and then returned because she never meant to purchase them in the first place, but maybe the occasional Christian devotional book. Then there are my books - the freaky, complex bizarre blend of recondite classics, laconic Southern melancholias, modern Pulitzer nominees by deranged Asian and Latin American authors, and some genre-defying magical-realistic-post-pre-modern-surrealistic-somethings that were pejoratively described as "literature" by Molly once when she was explaining to her husband that his interest in my Brobdingnagian tome was misplaced. My mother skutters in between all these genres, adding her own queue of "nearly any non-fiction book that's made it up for interview with Jon Stewart," "modern female detective stories,"and "Science Weekly. " I think if we added just one more person with a pointed skew towards modern science fiction, we'd have the whole gamut of the lettered universe fairly well covered.
On the night the internet died (yep, that is the theme song for our telefundraiser to afford our remaining Comcast bill), I had been attempting to merge my kindle app with her account. I'm not sure if the previous router did not approve, or if I happened to merely stumble into its swan song by happenstance, but such unions were not to be that evening. I'm glad to report that its successor has no such qualms with kindle-account love, and I have easily re-aligned myself with the Englett library.
A new kindle means a new beginning for me. As is occasionally the case, I had gotten myself stuck on a book. The book was a good book, and one in which I have every confidence of continuing quality. However, it was one of those books that gave me reader's block. The time and the place just weren't right for me and this book. Guilt held me back, and I could not simply move on with a shrug and a wistful sigh. The kindle lingered for weeks that turned to months, as I turned my attentions to crossword puzzles and the like. Starting over again gives me a chance to resubmerge into that warm glow of worlds far afoot yet deeply internal. With a certain braveness, I'm revisiting F. Scott Fitzgerald's The Beautiful and the Damned. This was my first Fitzgerald and enduringly my favorite. I shall endeavor to use it as a shield against the relentless surface "cool" of the upcoming Gatsby flick (ok, for those of you who know Baz Luhrman and have watched Slings and Arrows, is he not so totally the Darren Nichols of the film world??).
I have this haloed memory of being holed up in a hostel in Montreal, fondling the pages of this book and reading: "In 1913, when Anthony Patch was twenty-five, two years were already gone since irony, the Holy Ghost of this later day, had, theoretically at least, descended upon him. As you first see him he wonders frequently whether he is not without honor and slightly mad, a shameful and obscene thinness glistening on the surface of the world like oil on a clean pond, these occasions being varied, of course, with those in which he thinks himself rather an exceptional young man, thoroughly sophisticated, well adjusted to his environment, and somewhat more significant than any one else he knows." It gives me goosebumps (it was very cold in Montreal) to read these lines again. I can hear Russian teenagers swearing at each other from above and remember the musky scent of tobacco mixed with body odor, topped with generic cleaning solvent. I recall that sense of sheer and utter optimistic liberation and identity that only teenagers can believe they've attained. This alone makes the reread worth my time.
Everyone wins the Caucus Race on Friday!! - Well, the good news - and such news is bountiful most certainly - is that (1) it is Friday, (2) we still seems to have functioning internet at home, (3) bills seem to be handled (self-five! And yes, I give these to myself in front of other people... generally involves holding one hand up and slapping it with the other while staring intently at anyone watching), (4) I'm not dead, yet, (5) in fact, and I even celebrated our reclaimed internet by not using it and spending some quality newlywed adorableness on the couch together. Funnily enough, neither of us actually made much use of our newly restored internet. After our treacly time together, Andrew used his phone in this strange and novel fashion: he did something they're referring to as "called" his father and "talked" to him. Very strange. I did crosswords and read my book. Perhaps it's simply the security blanket of knowing that at any moment, one can google that random bs question about whether 1980's Chile advertising actually did have several Free Cola commercials featuring that creepy mime character featured in No.
The cinereous lining to my sterling cloud is that our rare blight of technologia dysfunctia metastasized before we were able to extract the root router tumor. Or so I can only surmise from my morning attempt to boot up the ultrabook. I have no particular dislike for Windows 8, and even appreciate some of the features when used on a touch screen (a nightmare for a traditional mouse environment... I actually suggest that terminators and pest control take note and start just plugging rat holes with copies of Windows 8), but it does seem like Windows 8 devices are always updating their software. And just like in the days of Microsoft yore, updates spell calamity. In this case, my ultrabook updated itself out of some kind of driver or essential somethingorother that would allow it to reboot. Apparently I need to use some software that I never had to fix it. Oh my aching heart. Poor sweet ultrabook. What hath they done to thee?? Of course, since my internet usage tends to center around the clickety clack of little keys as my fingers brusquely disgorge the idle and random oddities that otherwise may burst through my delicate little head, this is not ideal. Mr. (W)right observed my dismay and promised if worse came to worst, I could borrow his blue tooth table keyboard. Now that is love (or enablement...)
In the meantime, I have a mound of work to ski down straight into the weekend! It may be rainy this weekend, but it's all ours, baby. Boxes shall be begotten. Costco cards acquired. Unpacking continued. And clickety-clacking on some keyboard or other!