Saturday, March 9, 2013

Take 3

Take Three
    When we moved back out in the country, it was our intention to escape the hubbub of the urban/suburban rat race. It did not take long to realize that Appalachia has a sort of hubbub too, it is just pronounced with a slow rural draw. In our relaxed style of living, I am two days behind in my billing, I don't want to even speculate about the number of pages waiting in my work queue, my truck needs to be inspected and registered, and I haven't been to the gym in so long, that I am afraid they may not recognize my membership number, and that is just the beginning. 
    Yes, it has been another chaotic week. To put it in easy terms, this is my third attempt at getting this written. And this time, hell or high water (translation: snow storms or computer crashes), I am going to finish this.
    The week started with Shirle arriving back home after a two week visit in Florida. She arrived a mere 24 hours ahead of the fore-announced visit of my grandson, Josh, and his beautiful girlfriend, Thao. With guests coming, the house needed a good cleaning (I did mention Shirle was gone for two weeks, right?). The weather forecast was ominous and a trip to town to stock up on provisions was very necessary. The heavy snow was predicted to start about the same time Josh and Thao were scheduled to arrive. They live down in the Sunshine State, and have no experience with driving in winter weather or on mountain roads.
    Now if you think all of that is enough to set the stage for fun, while my wife was off socializing, I made the difficult decision to replace the central hub of my home network because it was less expensive to buy something new than attempt to upgrade the antiquated guts of the old system. I also decided to buy some additional RAM for the old machine with the intention of having backup and a working alternative while I licensed and loaded all of the software I would need for the new server.
    Fortunately, both UPS and Josh beat the onset of winter's (hopefully) last hurrah. The snow settled in overnight and we awoke to the picturesque vista of snow-capped Smoky Mountains and a pure white valley below. Knowing there was no way off the mountain, I secluded myself in the office to begin the necessary work on the computers. I carefully grounded myself, opened the case on the old machine, installed the new memory, closed it up, and booted the system. Everything went as it should right up until Windows began loading the system tray; it shut off (not down, off!). After enough resuscitation attempts that it was obvious that I needed to pronounce it dead, I realized that I had no choice but to begin the arduous task of rebuilding my network on the as yet unopened new CPU.
     Meanwhile, while I'm wearing my "computer nerd" hat, the long, warm rays of sunshine that foretell the onset of spring, melted the snow on the driveway and roads. I was unimpressed because I knew the storm was not over and we were expecting a lot more accumulation; I kept going. I had no idea that down in the kitchen, my thin-blooded relatives were hatching an ill-conceived plan to drive into Asheville for a day of fun and exploration. By the time my workday was over and I discovered them missing, the kids were on their way back, the snow had started falling heavily, and the temperature had dropped so much that my attempt to salt the driveway for their arrival was thwarted by my inability to walk on its icy surface.
Josh and Thao
     Josh made it within about a quarter mile. I could see his car down below but the traction was gone. He parked off to the side and he and Thao set out on foot. Thank goodness for cell phones; I watched and directed him to the easiest path and warned them to walk in the snow and stay clear of the slick pavement. Their short trek encompassed a 150 foot rise in elevation. Out-of-breath and chilled to the bone, they couldn't wait to enter warmth and shelter of my mountainside home.
     The storm is gone and so is all of the snow, the kids are back in Florida, my new server is up and running, the old one slated to be donated to a worthy cause PCs4GED (if you have old equipment consider this:, everything is returning to abnormal. Oh yeah, don't forget to set your clocks ahead, we get to lose an hour of sleep tonight; who needs sleep anyway.

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