Saturday, April 28, 2012

Innocuous events

We had a glitch in our vaccination marathon on Thursday; we were scheduled for lab visits and what we really needed was to see the nurse. Now, needle-wielding ladies all look the same to me, and you'd think that someone capable of drawing blood could also manage to plunge in some DPT. But apparently not. Since the nurse wasn't slated to arrive for another half-hour, we retreated to the Staples across the street to kill time.

I am lousy at shopping as a form of entertainment. I've never liked being in stores (other than to buy books and food), and our budget scaleback has not improved my attitude any. But on Thursday I actually bought something. I bought monitor wipes. It was a heady experience.

Now, I know there must be some way to safely clean off computer screens without paying for it. But frankly I hadn't thought to google that until after I got home and marveled at the inanity of buying a consumer product that only exists to clean another consumer product. The guilt would eat at me relentlessly, except that now I can see my computer screen, and that makes me very happy.

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Yesterday morning the kids' computer wouldn't turn on. The on-button winked teasingly, but went off again. It had teased like that a week ago, and I'd blown some dust out of the fan and gotten it to work again. So before I panicked about having to pay for a computer repair person, I tried blowing out dust again. Nothing doing. Feeling intrepid (or perhaps just cheap) I unplugged the machine, got a screwdriver, undid the side panels on the tower, and took a look inside. Eeeew. If I thought the computer screens were gross, they looked like a photo shoot compared to the dust-coated fans on this clunker.

I sent Little Guy for some cotton swabs and got out the vacuum. Then I tackled de-dusting the fans, with the care and patience of restoring the Mona Lisa. Mind you, I had no idea what I was doing, but I figured that as long as I didn't touch any components I'd probably be okay. And the layers of compacted dust were so dense I thought we were probably getting close to creating coal. Which would have been an interesting homeschooling project, but not on the computer.

An astonishing amount of dust later, I replaced the side panels and passed the GRE-equivalent of re-attaching the knot of wires and plugs. I turned the machine on. The light smiled steadily, instead of winking. And the computer doesn't even sound like a jalopy any more. Amazing.

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The kids all had reactions to their vaccines. Dancer slept all afternoon on Thursday, achy enough to miss ballet. Snuggler awoke on Friday with a fever of 100.1. But Little Guy's reaction took place before his shot; let's just say he was unenthusiastic about the prospect of pain. He is of the opinion that being afraid of something is a valid reason for not-doing it. I am of the opinion that being afraid of something shouldn't prevent you from doing it, anyway.


  1. My mother alway said "Necessity is the mother if invention". I hope you smile everytime you use the computer!

  2. "He is of the opinion that being afraid of something is a valid reason for not-doing it. I am of the opinion that being afraid of something shouldn't prevent you from doing it, anyway."

    Do you think this is a matter of age and he'll grow out of it? Or a more fundamental difference in how the two of you view the world? I'm trying to gently persuade my nearly 6yo son that fear is a good reason to take a deep breath, double check the benefit to risk ratio, and then proceed (assuming it's not something like being afraid of jumping out of a tree fort.)

    1. I think he'll probably grow out of it with a lot of help. He's a kid whose instinctual reaction to even the smallest amount of adrenaline is to assume there's a tiger in the room. Teaching him that there are gradations in fear -- and that we can handle those gradations differently -- is a real project. I figure we've probably got another thousand (or two) times of overcoming various fears before he really believes that it's possible to do more than panic.

  3. Kudos on the computer cleaning. I try to make a point to open ours up and give it a good vacuuming two or three times a year. A few years ago it started just absolutely trudging along, taking forever to load programs, reboot, or whatever. I took it to a friend who services them, and when I went back to get it, he showed me a nice pet hair afghan that he pulled out from the inside.

    I was so ashamed...