Be Smarter Than Me

I could have called this post something like How To Save Yourself Some Money, but aside from the financial hit I’m anticipating, I’m really dealing with feeling stupid. And careless. I hate that.

So, here’s what happened and I hope you can learn from my (silly!) mistakes or feel good about already taking such precautions around your computers. FYI: sometimes I refer to my computer as a puter.

I fried my new MacBook Pro this week. Fried it beyond affordable repair.

On Sunday morning I was sitting at my desk, sipping lemonade, and doing something on my computer. Maybe tweeting. Maybe messing with the headings on my blog. As a lefty, I keep my drinks and pens on the left side. I reached for a notebook (also kept top left) and knocked over my cup. The lemonade BARELY SPLASHED onto the top left corner of my laptop, but got all over the rest of my desk. And behind it. I shrieked and grabbed the puter. There was a flurry of paper towels, hubs came up to help, and I handed the laptop to him for inspection. He’s pretty calm under pressure. I had a few Henny Penny moments and then got it together enough to dry various things.

We googled, called Apple, I used a hair dryer (on cool), and then we waited. After closing the cover on my laptop, the screen went black and never came back. Eventually, I set the puter on a towel, lid-thingy open, and tried to start it. Nothing.

There’s a local computer shop that repairs Apples, and they weren’t open on Sunday. So, I made a plan to drop it off Monday morning. Then I googled some more. That was bad. I didn’t lurk very long, but it’s both helpful and terrifying to google for answers. If you do it, give yourself a time-limit, otherwise you’ll keep reading until you’re convinced you have cancer. My computer didn’t have cancer but what I saw did not look good. Apple computers don’t like water at all. How I have used computers FOREVER and have been lucky enough not to have this happen, I don’t know.

The rest of Sunday I was kind of numb. I had just finished the draft of my WIP a few days earlier and hadn’t backed it up yet. I know. I just haven’t been in the habit of backing up my hard drive in a regular way. Yes, more stupid. The last time hubs did it was maybe late February? Not good. Because even though I’d spilled a tiny amount on my computer, that puppy was not turning on. There was a chance I’d lose everything I’d put on it–and all I’d have was the external hard drive back-up from weeks ago.

Me Hanging My Head in Shame. Ugh. So preventable. So expensive.

Monday afternoon, Flint the repair guy said we could pay $45 for the hard drive, or $945 to send it in to Apple to see if they could repair it. And, as you all likely know, new computers can be had for less than that or around that figure. I chose the $45 option and was really freaking grateful to have my hard drive. Flint was super nice and showed me a color picture of my motherboard (or the Apple equivalent), complete with blue a “corrosion” spot. 🙁 He said that any amount of water is equivalent to dipping your puter in the ocean. Wow, right?

I’m typing this post on my old laptop. I love this laptop. It’s a MacBook too, but made of white plastic and just feels better to type on. Of course, the old puter has a small crack along one of the corners and we have to use an external mouse because the mousepad no longer works unless you tap it really hard. Oh, and it’s four years old. The new puter made my hands cold. It’s basically a paperweight now. A super shiny one. Bah.

My new set-up, at work and at home, is not to have any liquid even near the computer. Drinks are on separate tables from where I’m sitting or working. It’s weird how deliberate I have to be about this. I had clearly taken it for granted that I wouldn’t be spilling or that it wouldn’t damage my laptop. Lesson learned the hard way. In addition, in a lesson I learned in grad school (a post for another day, perhaps?), I will back up my hard drive on a regular basis. Certainly weekly, as we’re instituting Back-Up Sundays at my house. There’s a dance that goes with that too. Oh, and probably any time I make major progress on my writing.

The other small kicker is that on Sunday, I was prepping for revisions. *Cough, also called procrastinating. I was stressed. I was doing that insecure holy-crap-this-is-crap thing. I was doubting that any work I could do would make a difference. (Remember I tend to Henny Penny at first.) And then my problem was solved. After the accident, there was no computer to work on, no WIP to revise. Eek!! It’s just a strange coincidence, but it stuck with me all day on Sunday. Oh, you don’t think you can do it? Well, how are you going to do it now? Gulp.

I also learned not to complain too much, even to myself, at times, because the solution could make entirely new problems. And after losing my computer and my writing–even just for a few days–I have a whole new appreciation for it.

Care to share any puter horror stories of your own? Ever lost something you were writing on? Tips and advice for those of us who clearly need it? 🙂

Happy Writing. No drinks (or soup!) near the puters. And for goodness sake, back up your work!

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