Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Not My Internet!

Few things can send me into a pure, blind panic. Not knowing where one of my kids is when in a crowded, busy store. Turning the key in the ignition of the car and nothing happens, and I'm late. Watching the water in the toilet bowl rising to the rim without any sign that some of it is going down the pipe.

Clicking the Explorer icon on my desktop and getting an error message instead of my pretty, blue Comcast Welcome Page. And knowing it's not just some glitch that needs a reboot to fix.

I'm computer savvy only to the extent that I understand how the entire system works, as long as it works. I get it about servers and wireless networks and all of that stuff. Computers generally don't scare me. As long as they're working. Once they get sick, I'm a wreck.

I have zero patience or problem-solving skills when it comes to fixing a problem on a computer. I think this is because when something goes wrong, it could be one or a thousand of some gazillion zabillion different possible problems. If turning the machine off and then back on again doesn't work, I'm at a complete loss.

Thankfully, my husband isn't so intimidated. He's willing to try all sorts of crazy stuff, like removing programs and disabling key components and messing with drivers and even, gasp, going into DOS if necessary. Usually, he manages to solve the problem, although it might take him a few days to do it.

But, despite him being the Computer Hero in our house, he's also the biggest villian. Last summer, when lightning fried our PC, we bought a new one to replace it. I told hubby we needed to fork over the cash to buy anti-virus software and protect this new equipment vigilantly. When I got my laptop, I obtain Norton Anti-Virus, I run it nightly, and I'm so anal retentive about not letting people download questionable stuff onto it I make them pass a security check before I'll let them anywhere near my baby. And so far, my laptop has remained clean.

Hubby, though, took the penny-wise, pound-foolish road. He hemmed and hawed about not needing anti-virus and then hemmed and hawed about which one would be the best versus cost. In the end, he never did get around to getting anything. Since I rarely use that machine, I shrugged my shoulders and swallowed my "You'll be sorry"s.

And, yes, you guessed it. We now have some mystery virus on the PC that precludes logging on to the Internet. Every time you go into Explorer, you get some funky warning message that tells you the computer is infected and then tells you to go here and here and here to download the stuff you need to get rid of it. Can I tell you that my tongue is nearly bloody from biting back the big fat "I TOLD YOU SO!!!" that's right on the tip of it?

Hubby broke down and bought McAfee Anti-Virus and installed it, although the way I see it, this is pretty much closing the barn door after the horses have escaped. And, sadly, our problem is not fixed. Not only that, he went so far as to call our ISP support for some help, and the "technician" royally messed things up because she wouldn't listen to my husband telling her that it wasn't a matter of modem problems or the like. She was so stuck on her script she had him erase all of the settings trying to make sure that we were getting a signal (which we were, and which my husband knew already). He had called to make sure that he hadn't done something to send conflicting information to the ISP folks, who might now be servicing the wrong systems. She pushed some buttons and he pushed some buttons and in the end it was a text book study in futility.

Except right in the middle of my hopping around the web last night, I was shut down cold. Whatever those two crazy kids did, I was cut off.

And as of first thing this morning, still no window to the world.

Hubby left me this morning with the recovery disc for the router, which he figured just needed to be reinstalled so all the old settings could be replaced which would then let my poor little laptop talk to the router and get back in business. Of course it didn't work. And neither did the System Restore. Nor rerunning the anti-virus scan. Nor rebooting both PC and laptop a couple of times each.

And after about an hour, that old blind panic set in. Because not only could I not fix the problem myself (I'm used to that so it doesn't have the power to do more than frustrate me endlessly), but I knew hubby would have neither the time nor the sense of urgency to fix it himself. After all, he works all day - on a crystal clean laptop with lightning fast Internet connection - and when he gets home he's both tired and not feeling any burning need to log on. He doesn't understand that when the Internet is down in the house, I'm completely cut off. Indefinitely.


Anyway, I tried resetting modems and routers in a last ditch, final solution sort of way, and miracle of miracles, it worked. Here I am, on the Internet. The PC is still all gummed up, but my laptop is humming along nicely. I think the folks in California heard my sigh of relief.

I don't think those who work outside the home have any idea of how important the Internet is to those of us who stay home all day with young kids. Like the television use to, the Internet opens up the world for us whose existence doesn't go much further than the eight or so blocks to school and the White Hen Pantry. I don't even realize how often I turn to it for contact with fellow humans, news, research. Entertainment. I feel blind, deaf and dumb without it.

So yeah, in this house you don't mess with my Internet. Because when it goes down, I ain't happy. And believe me, if Momma ain't happy, ain't nobody happy.

1 comment:

Humaira said...

I'm getting paranoid now. You and Laurell K Hamilton?! This is scary!

But go you for sorting the problem!