Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Printer, Blogger, Washer -- Just Because You're Paranoid Doesn't Mean They're Not Out To Get You

I noticed that a previous post requires a magnifying glass to read. Blogger and I are in a fight, and I can't face another round trying to fix what surely can't be fixed without too much time, too many choice words, or a stiff drink (and I don't have my glass of wine until 5:00).

Blogger, in case you didn't know, is distantly related to my old friend, Printer. You've heard all the Printer stories you care to hear. Blogger acts up in much the same way. They both have an uncanny knack for detecting any sense of stress or urgency on my part.

It has recently come to my attention that both Blogger and  Printer are close kin to Washer, the little white machine that lives down the hall. Washer has always been a stalwart, dutiful member of the household, wholly unrelated to those trouble makers, Printer and Blogger. Its relationship to the peskier members of the extended family remained obscure. These days he's a wayward son, scarcely to be trusted with anything beyond nasty sweat socks.

A month or so ago I posted on Facebook that I had seen my first laundry disaster. Now, I've had a small slip up now and again. A little bleach here, a color bleed there. But this? An entire load tangled with black ink.

Not fun.

Thankfully not too costly, either. Although a few items were beyond repair, they were old. Nothing of value lost.

About two weeks ago, a huge load went into Washer looking just swell, came out of Washer looking just swell, but emerged from Dryer covered with greasy, raspberry colored stains. Raspberry grease proved slightly easier to defeat than black ink, so all was not lost.

Then there was last week.

Black ink + large number of expensive items = Major Laundry Debacle

If I've learned anything about laundry in these many years of kids (and since I've had three laundry calamities in a month, you could debate whether or not I've learned Anything At All), it would be this:

1. You really can ignore warnings about bleach. Not straight on, undiluted bleach. That's bad and an irreversible sort of bad. But nearly anything can survive diluted bleach. Many persistent stains will eventually cry Uncle in the face of repeated washing with diluted bleach.

2. The theory that once an item goes through the wash, the stain is set -- well, that's not always true either. The big bad load of ink went through Washer again and again and again and after all that only one item was in fact ruined.

I still don't trust Washer.

Or Blogger.

And definitely not Printer.

(Especially if I'm in a hurry).

Meanwhile Tim has spent the past two days feverishly designing a web page for his computer class. I'm half-way intrigued and halfway repelled by the work he's doing. I'm a humanities junkie. I could have majored in about six different subjects -- history, English, art history, linguistics, okay so maybe not quite six. Probably my favorite college class was music appreciation (bitingly dubbed "Clapping for Credit"). I loved music appreciation, though it was called something that sounded much better. I would leave the world of Accounting 101 -- the world of balance sheets and amortization schedules -- and spend the next hour listening to Scarlatti, Handel, and Bach.

Bliss, pure bliss.

In my last semester of college, I came to grips with the fact that I was, technologically speaking, a complete ignoramus. With great trepidation, I registered for a class in computer programming. My hesitation proved a fortuitous decision -- in the interim, punched cards went the way of the Dodo. Compared to current technology, we were barely emerging from the dark ages. I clearly remember watching punched cards rain down from dorm windows on the last day of classes, and I was grateful I wasn't one of those long-suffering students.

So convinced was I that I couldn't do this type of work, I signed up to take the class pass/fail.

Well, I loved it. Loved it! Poured extra hours into tweaking my programs. Loved my Teaching Assistant, a man from Yemen named Ophir.  We became buds.

But there was a certain amount of stress involved in programming, mainly due to the fact that the University of  Michigan was woefully short of computers. We didn't have deadlines; we had "last run times". So, a program might have a last run time of midnight on a Tuesday. From the crack of dawn Tuesday, there wouldn't be a computer available. It was this class more than any other that taught me to avoid procrastination. I finished my programs ahead of time, but still I felt compelled to tweak.

I'd show up at the computer lab and stand in line for one of the "Emergency Terminals." So the deal was you wrote code while you stood in line, walked up to the Emergency Terminal, typed your program as fast as possible for five minutes, ran it, waited for your lengthy list of errors, and got back in the line again to code a little more.

At midnight, silence would fall over the lab. You'd occasionally hear students crying.

Crazy. Totally crazy.

I still loved it.

But as I watch Tim trying arduously to convert a font size, to align this bit of text or that pictures, all the picky, picky details come washing over me. One tiny error, one misplaced backslash or missing comma, and the whole thing's kaput.

Sadly, those little demons of strife that inhabit Printer, Washer, and Blogger most definitely worm their way into HTML.

Note to Tim: Remain calm. They can smell fear from a hundred paces.


Kris said...

Printer, Blogger and Washer must be related to Dryer in Atlanta. Thank goodness for nice sunny days last week as EVERY STITCH of dirty laundry in this house had to be dried on the line until the part could be obtained and replaced. 5 days. Seriously.

Kelly Dolin said...

My sympathies, Kris. I may complain about various appliances, but somehow they keep trudging along.

Kris said...

Well - it's 10 years old. And I'm sure not designed for the pounding it takes doing the laundry for our family!

christinelaennec said...

I tell my daughter always to speak nicely to appliances, computers and cars. Because we don't want to anger them when they wield so much power.