Thursday, January 8, 2009

Convenient Alzheimer's

For Christmas, among the other things I bought for those I love, I ordered a new laptop for Beth. It was perfect. The color is "plum" and it has all these cool features - web cam, fingerprint reader, etc. How awesome is that?

Since I ordered it from Dell, I was a tad concerned that I wouldn't be able to keep it a secret, especially since her school was closed for two weeks before Christmas and I wasn't sure exactly when FedEx would show up at my door. Fortunately, they have a tracking system online and after checking it repeatedly, I had it pinpointed that it was arriving the next day. Through some clever scheduling, Beth walked out of the house a mere ten minutes before FedEx showed up. Woo hoo!!

My plan had always been to have everything loaded on the laptop so it was ready to go on Christmas. I was going to have the wallpaper say "Merry Christmas, Beth!!" and have it sitting at the table waiting for her to discover after she opened all of her other Christmas gifts. I couldn't wait to see the surprised look on her face.

But alas, it was MY face that was surprised.

I took the machine out of the box and plugged her in. The touchpad didn't work, but I figured that was because it hadn't really loaded up yet. I plugged in a USB mouse and was able to get the initial setup started. Five minutes later, the mouse stopped working. Do you know how hard it is to work a computer with just a keyboard? Finally I just restarted the thing, because that solves all problems.

Nope. Same thing. No touchpad. Mouse worked for a few minutes and then croaked. Keyboard worked for a bit and then bit the dust.

Instead of setting up her computer, I spent two hours on the Internet trying to solve the problem. Among the things they had me do was to "reinstall Windows." Unfortunately, the computer froze midway through the reinstallation. Now, all that would happen is that it would go through a vicious damn cycle of starting up, showing error message, shutting itself down, starting up..."

At that point, I got to talk to an actual live person all the way from New Delhi. Two hours on the phone later, I finally said "STOP!! I've been messing with this piece of crap for 5 hours now. It's time to give up and send me a new one." He agreed. First, they had to send someone over to put in a new touchpad and a new hard drive. Yeah, like that's gonna fix it.

The worst part about someone coming to the house to fix it was that I couldn't get Beth out of the house again. So, a week before Christmas, the secret was blown.
"Surprise!!" And she, of course, was blown away.

The repairman came and left and the computer was still trashed. I called Dell and they ordered a new one right away. It shipped, ironically enough, the day AFTER Christmas. So much for her Christmas gift.

Once it did arrive, though, it was perfect. I think her fingers have been glued to the keyboard nonstop since we opened the package. She's gonna be the first teenager on record to have carpal tunnel syndrome.

When it came time to return the trashed computer, my devious brother suggested that I forget to return the battery. Well, I think they would notice. However, after having the Christmas surprise ruined, I decided that would be worth having an extra AC adapter, right?

My "selective Alzheimer's" kicked in and I conveniently "forgot" to put the AC plug in the package, even though there was a convenient empty spot in the box for it. I'm hoping they don't notice. For now, she has a plug that is wired behind her desk and she has one that she can take with her when she needs it.


  1. Hmmmmmm! 2 devious children. You must have gotten that from your father.

  2. OH! Now it's going to let me comment since I sounded off to you in the dang email.

    What a great present, though. I love the idea you had to surprise! A plum colored laptop? Does it get hot? (Ask her.)

  3. It does get hot, but I have a cooling fan underneath it at almost every moment to prevent any issues. Mom is right though, I absolutely adore my new computer.

  4. I wonder how long those hot laptops last...

    So, the fan? Is it just a standard floor fan that you've aimed upwards?

    I saw an infomercial about a book/laptop prop. It's supposed to help with the heat. Hmmm.