We went camping this past weekend, for a little Labor Day R&R. Before we left, I was forced to endure a week without my beloved laptop. It has had some… issues… that were not resolving themselves sans exorcism. On Monday, I had ripped all of my vital data off of its beleaguered brain, stored it in a tiny black box that promised to spew it back out unharmed should the brain return rejuvenated and ready to accept new assignments, and sent it off for said exorcism. To the ‘engineers,’ they said. Not just some little tech depot, but the very engineers would be caring for my baby. Little comfort while I twiddled at home, but something I guess.
So we all understand, a week with no laptop for me equals a week with virtually no writing. Every other screen in this house gives me a beastly headache, so I have been doing my best to abstain. It has been awful. It has been painful. It has made me a wee bit crabby. I was assured, however, that their turn-around time was second-to-none, and my warrantied beauty would not be gone long.
It is with this anticipation that I returned from our last summer hurrah. (Commence the bursting of my techno-love bubble, and several others that should never have even been invited to the party.)
No sooner do we return Monday night, burdened with scads of filthy laundry and an arsenal of soaked camping gear, do we discover that the washing machine has given up the ghost whilst we recreated. It is clear that its puny little computer brain is confused and unable to be persuaded to wash clothes. We beg, we plead, and we take our sopping wet load to my brother’s.
Fast forward an hour or so. My baby returns to me, via the angelic Fedex guy (no kidding, on Labor day, no less). She is wiped clean, but otherwise hopefully bursts to life like a brand new box. I haven’t the energy to enter into the process of reloading all my programs and data, so I just pat her gently and lay her by for the night, readying myself for a morning of marathon installing and transferring, all tolerable with my novel’s progress hanging out there like a carrot. I almost forget about that dastardly washing machine.
Tuesday morning, does my lovely laptop arise from its slumber? Nope. Engineers or no, the exorcism was a failure. I am deflated. And I am too busy to do a thing about it.
Wednesday morning (that is today, the prophetic trifecta about to fulfill itself), I am ready to inform my escalated case manager at Lenovo that his brilliant idea didn’t do the trick. I just can’t wait for 8:00 to arrive. He’s going to love hearing from me.
Before he does, however, an alarm is beeping, piercing through the house. As I yell down the stairs to inquire of the screeching, it hits me. My stomach drops. I know what that noise is. It is the voice of the tiny white box that is placed by our floor drain to let us know when the septic pit is no longer being pumped out of the basement like it should be. When its contents are instead backing up all over the floor.
I find 2 of my kids standing in the bathroom, one casually brushing her teeth and the other wielding a plunger and wondering why each plunge makes the sink and tub drains spout foul liquid. The toilet is overflowing everywhere, the plunger is dripping, and there is still an alarm blaring from the utility room, in case I am unaware of the problem erupting from the depths. “Stop plunging!!! For the love of Pete, STOP PLUNGING!!!” (That’s me, holding my cool by a very thin thread.)
Possibly, for those poorly versed in the finer dialects of home plumbing in the country, some definitions are in order. The ejector pit is the little holding tank below the basement floor that… holds… until its pump does its job and ejects the nastiness, sending it on down the line. The ejector pit pump is the apparatus responsible for first world hygiene and general sanity amongst germophobes and other such neatniks.
The pump… is dead. There is no pumping action happening. The autopsy will reveal that in order for the pit to be that full, the pump’s time of death is long past. The pipes are stiff. The seepage is rank. And there is still another kid in the shower upstairs, piling water upon water, unaware that it is slowly coming back up the pipes towards her, infused with organics and botanicals not to be named.
The plumber, sweet man, arrives shortly, hefts fifteen 50# bags of chicken feed away from the pit inlet, suctions all the offensive overflow out and into his trusty shop-vac, and sinks a brand new pump of glory into the hole. He shakes his head into the opening in the floor. “I dunno. These things usually last forever. Strange.” The pump roars to life, draining the floors of the stench that inhabits them, and I almost kiss my rubber-gloved savior as he totes his baggage back to his truck.
Why do they always have to come in threes? As if one disaster isn’t enough to put you on your knees?
The only slightly redeeming thought came from the handyman friend I called tonight, in hopes of his fixing my washing machine telepathically. His first question led us to call the neighbors to check the weather history for the weekend. Turns out, it stormed here while we were gone. Quite a bit. According to reliable sources, the power surged on at least two separate occasions. You see where I’m going with this? The coincidence is pretty heavy, don’t you think?
I have already called our homeowners’ insurance lady. If only I could blame my computer woes on the same lightening strike that I am convinced blew up the north end of my house, life would almost be happy again. Unfortunately, not only was it not plugged in awaiting the surge that could end its misery, it was off playing with the engineers. Alas and alack, it appears I am left to fight a war with the warranty folks over that one.
In case you’re wondering, it appears that the battle will rage with the good folks at Lenovo. My conversation with my ‘handler’ did little to improve the general tone of my day, or week. But it did give me a few moments of pure, unadulterated angst-venting. I was not in any mood to listen to the simpering excuses he was trying to make for my problems. And I was in no way ready to be walked on. I was firm. I had resolve. He sounded scared.
And on up the line I travel, until I find someone who is ready to assuage my grumpiness. They’re picking the wrong week to give me the shaft.
Hoping your week is nothing like mine,