Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Laptop is still here, but headed out tomorrow. FedEx came to pick it up yesterday, and of course, this was at work when it was at home!

Suppose I should get off my butt and redo the taxes on this machine.

Cranky today. My shot at a nap was foiled by the doctor's office that didn't take their phones off of answering service until an hour after they were to take calls. It took another 25 minutes to get a real live person.

Shout out to Liz-she's free from the insane boss who thinks that selling should be a piece of cake because "she knows what the item looks like, and the person she's calling doesn't". Yeah, that might work for a handbag, but not a security access system! Hey, this just frees you up to move to Florida and buy the house across the street. It's only 237k!

Saturday, January 28, 2006

Phone=bad, Tech Live Chat=good

Went back to working on the laptop this morning. Same problems, so I went back to the HP site to find more info.

I found a link for live chat that I hadn't found before. For notebook pcs, it's available 24/7. I have to say, it was MUCH easier typing out my issue, what troubleshooting I'd already done and what error messages I was getting. Marcie NEVER even mentioned an extended service plan!

The lesson for today is to look for tech chat before calling that 800 number, for a 90 minute passage to India.

The good news is that the chat session took about five minutes. The bad news is that the laptop has to be sent in for service. I'll have to go find the box for the laptop later today, but they are picking it up via FexEx. I should have it back in a week.

Guess I should get cracking on the taxes on Ed's computer. They were ready and waiting for one document that came yesterday.

A for speed, grade for accuracy TBD

I give HP points. The hard drive was sitting on my doorstep early this afternoon.

I had errands to run, dinner to make, relatives to visit with, so I didn't sit down to change hard drives until 11pm. I take the hard drive door off the hp, take the drive out of the brackets (yes, you can tell it's toasted by looking at it) and put the new one in. Fire it up and get the same error message.

Hmmm, I'd checked the jumpers. I take it back out, and out of the brackets. I do a side by side of the drives and notice the old one is a hair taller. It's got a pin connector extension. Fortunately, it appears that I can just take it off the old and put it on the new. Puzzled that the new one didn't come that way, but whatever. Double checked the jumpers-yep, in the right place.

I thought it was going well, as the drive door seemed to be a snug fit this time. Alas, whenI fired her up, same old PXE-E61. F10, here we come.

Passed the short HDD self test, into the long self test. I don't think I can wait up that long, though.

Next question: Did they even load the software that originally comes with my laptop ON the drive? The static bag was open, which makes me think maybe. I'm not so confident.

I also thought I had a 40 gig drive, they sent a 60. Need to go back and look at the paperwork.

I'm not into Indian Tech Support Torture right now, so the answer to this mystery has to wait until morning. I know one thing, five minutes into the long test and the drive is pretty warm-too warm for my liking.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

HP and their *lovely* tech support

My laptop is toast. More like the hard drive failed. I can tell this, because the armature sounds like a cheap, plastic metronome when it strikes the non moving platters. No blue screen of death, but an error message saying that the IDE drive cannot be found. Hmm, I purchased the laptop on 1/31/05 and received it on 2/03/05. I remember the dates because I'd had leg surgery and I went back work the day it arrived.

I'm on Ed's pc (the one with the space bar that only works with my left thumb-grrrr) and go to HP's site. I type in the error code, fire off an email to tech support and wait. BTW, they tout on their website that they've won awards from JD Power and Associates for Customer service. Mr. JD Power hasn't talked to me about that award, and perhaps I should contact him.

I got an email back saying they'd contact me within 24 hours. Less than an hour later, James from customer care contacts me and takes me through the troubleshooting steps that I've already done (you all know that I know enough to be dangerous). Hmmm, what do you think of this paragraph?


After reinstalling hard drive then again reset BIOS and perform hard
drive self test. If test fails then the issue is isolated to hard drive
and it requires replacement. I'll provide you the part number and
specifications to purchase the part from HP Part Store or from any
third party vendor which ever is economic to you. >>>

Hmm, this laptop is under warranty. James was ever so kind to provide a phone number (notice how those have disappeared from tech support sites?), so I call.

Hello, India?

Yep, India. I was on the phone for an hour and fifteen minutes, with people who didn't understand me, didn't understand my issue and gave me a buttload of canned responses. It seems that my laptop was listed as being purchased on 12/23/05 (uh no, Ed's generous, but not THAT generous in the gift department). Then the operator (I hesitate to call it tech support when they've got a friggin script and nothing else) tries to get me to purchase another year's tech support and warranty coverage.

Lady, listen here:
1. This is the FIRST time I am calling HP and I've owned the thing nearly a year. Obviously, I'm not clueless.
2. My husband has built the computer I am sitting in front of, I've installed hardware in computers and sold computers. Between us, we have a clue-we can't fix a hard drive. Most people can't.
3. It's still under warranty, so why should I pay for warranty?

Aha, she can't fix her CRT to correct the date of purchase, so she goes to her comfort level,which is push the warranty. I wasn't cooperative, so I got passed on to "Mary". Mary also tries to sell me a warranty and INSISTS I have my purchase date wrong. After explaining to Mary that I:
1. Can get my hands on the receipt in less than a minute
2. Had leg surgery 1/27/05 and bought the laptop because I could not sit at the computer table while recuperating.
3. Know it was recieved on 2/3/05 because that was the day I returned to work and I cursed !$%#$% Murphy that it showed up AFTER I had to go back.

It rapidly became clear that I was not going to fall for the canned script. As soon as I asked for a supervisor, I got assurances that she'd 'fix the date'and get me a new hard drive. She also tried again to sell me a warranty. (So, how many times do you have to push extending the warranty per call to get paid, ladies?)

Then I got the five minute script on how HP is happy to meet my needs, interspersed with info I *did* need, so I couldn't hang up.

Until today, I have never had a problem with the myriad HP products in the house. My problem is more with their tech support than their product.

I have to send the busted drive back within 30 days or get charged for it. I called my buddy Henry up in Hagerstown, and he's willing to take a look at it to see if he can recover it. Oh, and my Toyota is NOT ready. (Henry's shop number is one digit off from the local Toyota dealer) I don't know of a little computer shop like his here-and I'd rather send it to a known quantity.

No, if you're going to watch Monsoon Wedding, A Passage to India or any other movie filmed there, don't invite me over. I might start throwing crap at your tv!


Okay, I do need to amend my previous statement about Disney/Pixar.

The info that had NOT been revealed prior to the agreement changes it somewhat. John Lasseter, the genius that embodies the Pixar creative engine, will be in charge of Feature Animation and will be instrumental in development of park attractions! This is AWESOME.

John, I'm sure you know we don't want a Chicken Little 2!

Monday, January 23, 2006

Be Afraid, Be Very Afraid.

Disney is set to take over Pixar and have it become a wholly owned subsidiary.


For the past twelve years, the cutting edge has been Pixar's films. Fresh story telling, pushing the envelope of what could be done with computer animation. These are the guys who'd be in a meeting and say "You can't do water with CGI" and then they'd push themselves to figure it out.

Disney Feature Animation (DFA) for years has done EXACTLY would Walt wouldn't do. A famous quote attributed to him was "You don't follow pigs with pigs", when questioned about when the sequel to Snow White would be forthcoming. Under the leadership of Tom Schumacher, DFA began the parade of "2" movies, some so atrociously bad they aren't in my DVD library. Pocahontas 2, Cinderella 2, Tarzan and Jane, etc. I thought that when Tom Schumacher went to head the Disney Broadway division (perfect for a guy who likes to follow pigs with pigs) that the movies would improve. Still waiting.

I don't want to see that same fate for Pixar.

Thursday, January 19, 2006


When we moved down here, Ed and I decided that we would explore the restaurant scene. We've made an effort to go to places other than the usual chain restaurants. (We go to those, but we're seeking other places). We were very spoiled in Frederick, that town had some great restaurants (and diners).

Slowly, we're finding places on a par with what we had there, although I doubt we'll find another Barley and Hops. Last night's discovery was Mexican (yes, I know Jill, you won't be joining us!). There's this mom and pop joint called Estela's. Driven by it countless times, always meaning to go. We finally pulled into the parking lot.

Good stuff. Family run, and the dining room reminded us of one of the places in Frederick. The menu was huge. The boys settled on cheeseburgers (wimps) and Ed and I got more traditional fare. I'd suggested an Enchilada to younger son, which he turned down. Why should he eat his own, when Mom's already got one on her plate for him to eat?

Yummy chile rellenos and enchilada and Ed liked the Chimis. We WILL go back. And to think, I was thinking it was 'Fajita night', which is Wednesday's at Codys! :)

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Lazy day

I am so not motivated today. Yesterday, I drove up to Jacksonville and back. 400 miles round trip! It was worth it, got to spend time with Donna and be her personal "Clean Sweep". Now I need to do the same here, and I've been vegging.

Not completely. I have a doctor's appointment tomorrow, and I've taken an idea of Jane's and made a complete medical history for the doctor. She has one saved on her pc that she prints out. Especially good now that she'll be seeing new doctors. It makes a lot of sense when you've got chronic issues. That said, it's pretty friggin scary to see how much has happened to me in 39-some years! I'd type in something and realize that I forgot something else. Two hours and three pages later, it's done.

I'm going to let the kids enjoy a little more time at day care (what a concept, they ENJOY day care) and go grab some dinner stuff. Tonight I'll probably do the cleaning I should have done today, like take down the Christmas tree and lights. Hmmmm, fajita night a Cody's is calling me-maybe I'll continue to be lazy through dinner. :)

Saturday, January 14, 2006


So, I've got this funky looking rash on my leg. It's been growing there for about two years now. Vascular surgeon sent me to a dermatologist for it a few months back and I got some steroidal cream for it. It's still getting bigger. The name that the dermatologist had for it was cutaneous vasculitis. No big, as long as it's getting treated. I was given the impression that it sometimes happens with vascular patients (the old "2% girl" strikes again).

So, today, I'm on the DIS and someone asks if anyone else has this disorder. Yep, I reply. Someone else says that it can be a symptom of Lupus. This is weird, it's not the first time that Lupus has been thrown out at me. When I was pregnant with younger son, I was tested and my ANA screen came out very high-we figured it was my arthritis and didn't do anything else at the time. Arthritis and clotting disorders are two of the symptoms of lupus.

I'm curious, so I go to the Lupus Foundations website. Diagnosis is if a patient has four or more of the symptoms. I have 4, possibly 5. Next stop, rheumatologist to rule it out. I've always wondered why I have quirky problems, and this would be an explanation. Not a good one, but at least I'd know what to DO about the various problems. Kinda like the situation with older son, having a name for it made it a lot easier to seek out treatment.

Ahhhh, the weekend

It's my weekend off, woohoo! The kids were kind enough to let me sleep this morning.

Lots of fun stuff on tap. Taking down the christmas lights and the tree, loading up the iPod with more of the cd collection and probably heading to the mall with the kids. Got the Bath and Body works email for 5 for 10 antibac soaps. I know in a box somewhere in the garage there is a bag with 15 soaps, but heck if I know which one!

Tomorrow is a Animal Kingdom day and scored a dinner at 'Ohana. We promised younger son he could go to the restaurant of his choice for his b'day, we're just six months late on fulfilling it. Okay, so its an unbirthday dinner.

Thursday, January 12, 2006

We now have both report cards. Younger son got citizenship and honor roll. Older son is honor roll, but somehow, the #!$$ teacher he had didn't put it on there. Supposedly, the honor roll is based *solely* on academics. If that's the case, he is definitely honor roll. I let them each get a book as a reward.

Had the inlaws over for dinner. Hope this is the start of a regular thing-never cooked for them before, because we never lived close to each other. The house still smells like eggplant frying. Yum.

I bought tomatos for salad and mom and Ed don't like them in salad. Soooo, I think I'm headed back to the farm stand tomorrow for some cilantro and jalapenos. Homemade salsa, anyone? I made a big batch when I was staying at mom's last year. Stepdad had some right after I made it and complained that it wasn't hot. 24 hours later, it packed a wallop!

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

So, the story is...

Mr Messy Room was lectured by daddy the other night about the state of his room and was told he'd be cleaning it as soon as he got home yesterday. Then, Mr Messy Room decided to be cute with me and tell me to clean up (btw, mostly his and his brother's mess and some mail). That did NOT go over well with either parent.

Champagne and a cappuccino as part of breakfast this morning, woohoo. The mall announced the big renovation and expansion project, but only announced one retailer they were adding. Scuttlebutt is for Williams Sonoma and Restoration Hardware to venture to our neck of the woods. Very dangerous (and yes, feel free to send me gift cards for either place, lol!)

Half day in the morning to return the good deed to the manager who helped me out on Sunday.

Tried someplace we hadn't been before for dinner tonight. Seafood place that was excellent. Ed was shocked that I wasn't in a rush to eat the fried shrimp, but the shrimp pasta was soooooo good. Basically a wine, garlic and cream sauce over linguini. It was so much of a hit that Crustacean kid (small child) ate more pasta than shrimp. He'd eat a jar of garlic if you'd let him. At least I know I'm having a good lunch tomorrow!

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Not a happy camper

Ugh. Migraine. Waiting for the Imitrex to kick in.

So yesterday, I decided to go back to sleep after getting the kids off to school. I was still feeling the effects of inventory. I woke up at 1:30, when I needed to be AT work at 1:30! Ack! Got there at 2, boss says I definitely look like I just woke up. Phew.

Okay, so then mister my room is a mess bitches at me this morning that I haven't cleaned the living room. Huh? Apparently, daddy complained about it last night and the kid who's a slob decides that he's going to give me grief about not cleaning the house. WTF? I am NOT happy, especially with this pounding head. I had to explain that before giving people a hard time about not doing something, you need to be doing it yourself.

Off to clean, before anyone else bitches about it...

Sunday, January 08, 2006

Gimme a T! I! R! E! D!

Okay, so I lied. I thought I'd be done with inventory at 2am. More like 6am! Ack! I was supposed to go back at 11am, thankfully my fellow manager took pity on me and stayed-I went in at 5pm and showed her how to close. Still have to figure out how I'm going to make up those hours and thinking I may ask to use some of the 40 hours of sick time I lose on the 31st.

I went to Cracker Barrel for breakfast with three coworkers, drove one home, and then got home by 8am. I tried to contact the manager who was off today and didn't participate in inventory to cover for me-no dice. Fortunately, I got *some* sleep-kids were very quiet, by their standards.

Probably heading to bed in a few...I'm sure I'll sleep well.

Saturday, January 07, 2006

Busy week and bad news

Knee deep in inventory stuff, but it ends tonight with the actual inventory. Scheduled unti 2am. I'm hoping it's not that late, but realistic that it probably will be.

Got a phone call last night, the kind that you don't like to hear. Two of my oldest and dearest friends dad passed away yesterday. Mr. B was a kind and gentle man, married to his wife for 46 years and leaves behind a beautiful family. Last time I saw him was last year at WDW, and got to see the whole B clan. Just an all around nice person-I pray for strength for his family.

My stepdad called to yack today. Still not used to this, but it was good. :) Commiserating that we moved AWAY from the cold.

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

So, I resolved to buy more wine, right? Perfect timing for our PRP wine consultant to call us and ask if we wanted more wine! Yep, Rosie called tonight-alas, we have to wait for the tax refund to buy what we want.

Son's IEP went well. He starts in the ESE class tomorrow. It's structured similarly to his program up North-it will be a good fit. The ESE coordinator, after seeing his evaluation scores, made it a point to put in the IEP to have his IQ tested for possible placement in gifted and talented. Not something that will happen right away, but it's in there.

Leg isn't going to fall off anytime soon. Doc says it's fine.

It's cold! (for Florida, that is)

Ed had to work today, so I took the kids to school. The thermometer in the car said 45 degrees-brrrr. I'm glad he had to work, we need to pay for those brakes.

We used our rewards gift card yesterday and bought a wine cooler. After the gift card, we only paid 6 bucks for a 16 bottle fridge. Woohoo, I've got a shelf back in the fridge. We just need to figure out a more permanent home for it. I resolve to buy more wine this year. :)

Today's going to be a busy day. Off to school to meet with an IEP team for oldest-he'll be going back into special ed classes. Not a surprise. After meeting with the team, I'll be observing the class in action.

Later, I'm off to the vascular doc. Woohoo. Somewhere in there, I'll be cleaning out the office to prep it for painting. Once painted, it'll become little guy's room. This works better-we won't displace him while painting.

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Ahhh, a break!

I'm in the midst of three days in a row off, a rarity in retail.

Yesterday was great. Perfect weather that makes anyone dream of living in Florida when they are experiencing the cold and snow. 80 degrees and high, wispy clouds.

We were on a mission-to meet friends at WDW. This time, the day didn't get curtailed by a phone call, yeah! We parked at Epcot, then monorailed over to the Magic Kingdom. (2 monorails-it's like the "change at Jamaica" of the LIRR). We met up at Scoop's 1 o'clock pin talk, an event that's always enjoyable. Scoop is a funny fellow.

Then we headed back to Epcot. Heather had an adorable young lady travelling with her this time, and my little man was quite enamoured of her (and she of him). It was rather cute (and annoying because he wouldn't listen to me). We've got some cute pictures of them together.

We went on Soarin, Universe of Energy and Impressions De France. little man and I had Kaki Gori and Ed and older son had pastries from France. In the many visits to Epcot, I never hit the times right to see Belle and Beast-finally did it!

It was time for dinner and we went to Artist Point at Wilderness Lodge-delicious. The day went by in a flash, and I wished we had more days off to spend. If I have the time over the summer, perhaps a trip to Maryland for a few days might be in order. When I'd moved to Maryland, it took a long time to have more than one good friend, but I left several behind and miss them!

Even though it's a day off, it doesn't mean there's nothing to do. We have a car to get repaired (not mine) and a couple of rooms to swap. The room I always thought would be youngest's bedroom is currently the office. The room that is currently his room is wired better for an office (cable and phone jacks). Later on, the swap takes place!