Thursday, February 16, 2012

Murphy's Law

How's my mental health today?

I'm tired - physically and mentally.

As I've been trying to establish more structure in my day, a variety of challenges have reared their heads.

For one, I haven't been sleeping well which is never good for my health, mental and physical. It's a red flag that I need to pay attention to. I'm not sure what I have to do to get a better night's sleep. I've been exhausted but as soon as I get horizontal I'm wide awake. Definitely not good.

On Monday, I ran a number of errands including doing my valentine's day shopping. When I got home I decided it was time to deal with one of my unfinished projects, namely digitizing more of the vinyl (LPs) sitting in a crate in my office. I had everything set up, began recording the album at the front of the pile. Twelve minutes and some seconds after starting the process the recording inexplicably stopped. I deleted the little I had and started  the process again. This time it recorded a little over 2 minutes before going on strike. I tried a few more times. The turntable kept spinning but for some reason the recording was not working. I decided to just monitor the signal as it came into the computer without recording. This time it played for just over 17 minutes before the audio quit.

Was this an equipment problem or a software issue? The rest of the afternoon was spent trying to isolate the problem without any success. I set it aside for the next day.

The next morning (Tuesday) I had Heidi drop me off at a hardware store where I made a small purchase and from there I walked to an electronics/computer store where I purchased new software and digitizing hardware. I decided to walk home - after all it was a nice, sunny, mild morning and the walk would only take about 45 minutes. Problem was it was rather slippery. I slipped a few times but managed to stay upright. The next time I slipped I hit the ground giving myself a bruised and scraped elbow and forearm. Nothing serious - at least I didn't tear my coat. I was less than 10 minutes from home when I slipped again. One foot slid backwards and out - the other went in the opposite direction, of course. Down I went again. This time I had a little difficulty getting up. I had tweaked the knee that I had torn cartilage in a year and a half ago, and I felt something pop at the back of my ankle. Not only were my knee and ankle uncooperative in my efforts to stand up, but I was also still on a very slippery section of sidewalk. I envisioned myself doing a solo slapstick routine but I was able to get back on my feet without further calamity and carefully limped home.

I was a little sore but it was quite manageable. I got back to work, trying to determine where the problem was in my digitizing efforts. I was finally able to determine that I had a hardware problem and dealt with it. I loaded the software for the new equipment, connected the new hardware and started up the recording program. Now I had to register the new equipment before the software would work. I entered all the required information and hit send.

New problem. All of a sudden I had no internet connection. I went through the usual process of trying to correct the problem, but it got worse rather than better. After shutting the computer, modem and wireless router down and restarting everything my home network disappeared. My computer wouldn't even let me set up a new network connection. I messed around trying to isolate the new problem and got nowhere. Calling my Internet provider was no help. As usual I got the automated response which told me that all lines were busy and my call would be answered when I got the the top of the waiting line. "Please hold." A little elevator music and then a recording told me that most problems could be resolved by visiting their website. I hate that message. The only time I ever call for tech support is when I can't get internet access. And then as should be expected, my call was disconnected.

Next step. I disconnected the wireless router and plugged the computer into the modem. After the annoying exercise of setting up the broadband connection I finally had Internet access. That didn't help because now my ISP website wouldn't load. I could get onto any other website I tried, just not onto the site I needed. I am convinced that I was a victim of a conspiracy to push my frustration levels to the limit - the websites I was able to access loaded painfully slow.

I started doing a burn. Time to quit for the day.

I was tired, frustrated, and my ankle was swelling and stiffening up. I could hardly put any weight on it. I spent the evening sitting down with the foot elevated. Then I had another night with next to no sleep.

Yesterday, Wednesday morning, was my weekly coffee and Bible study at 6 a.m. We started with 1 John 3:18 which reads: Let us not love with word or tongue but with actions and in truth. The question was asked, Who did each of us need to show love for today?

I knew what my answer needed to be - whatever staff person at my ISP I was going to be dealing with later in the day. OoooKaaaaaaay.

I had another coffee meeting following the Bible study - the weekly get together with my unemployed and underemployed siblings. Afterwards I went to my"office" (the cafe) and ascertained that the problem was not with my laptop computer. I had no trouble accessing the Internet through the cafe's wi-fi.

Then it was off to visit my friendly neighbourhood ISP (can you taste the sarcasm?). It was a good thing I had been to the Bible study, because the staff were no help. I would have to make an appointment to have one of their servicemen come out (at my cost, of course) even if all I wanted was to have the old equipment replaced by the newest available. Not what I wanted to hear. I calmly and politely thanked the young man I was dealing with and left.

I decided to buy a new wireless router but not from one of the electronics box stores. I went into a shop I don't visit very often (they're a little pricey) but I knew I would get good, honest service, and quality equipment. Surprise, surprise - the sales rep was a fellow I knew from a church I attended 20 years ago.  He explained my options to me and let me decide without pressuring me in any way.

I headed home with my new router. I unpacked the router and papers, but there was no software disk. NOW WHAT?

I opened the booklet of easy(?) installation instructions and learned that I needed to go to the manufacturer's website to find and download the drivers and software I required. What else am I going to run into?

Success, finally!

I got a new wireless home network set up and now Heidi and I can once again both surf the 'net at the same time.

Time to get dinner started.

Digitizing the LPs will have to wait until the next day (today).

2 weeks ago I would not have managed this sequence of events very well. My mental health has obviously improved a bit.

Today will hopefully go better. At least it's starting well - I have a therapeutic massage appointment to start the day.


  • If there is a possibility of several things going wrong, the one that will cause the most damage will be the first one to go wrong.
    • Corollary - If there is a worse time for something to go wrong, it will happen then.  
  • If anything can't go wrong, it will anyway. 
  • If you perceive that there are four possible ways in which something can go wrong, and circumvent these, then a fifth way, unprepared for, will promptly develop. 

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