Cannabis and Chemo
It's Friday. That's the Best I Can Say For the Week

Crabby Old Lady's Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day(s)

(With apologies for the headline above to the wonderful Judith Viorst)

Crabby Old Lady should have known last week that something awful was brewing. Her desktop PC was becoming more unsteady and rickety by the day with programs not responding, warning messages, long delays loading pages, screen freezes and such. Then it would seem to recover overnight, work well enough for an hour or two the next day until it started acting up again.

Monday morning, the blue screen of death appeared and the computer has been dead since then. None of Crabby's jiggering around has helped.

Sometimes when disaster strikes, it's not immediately apparent. Okay, said Crabby to herself, until you can figure out how to fix this, there's always that cheapo, little laptop in the cupboard.

Yeah, right. It wasn't until Crabby got it set up that she remembered everything on it moves at about the speed of a 1990's dial-up connection, that the keys on the chintzy keyboard are all positioned slightly out of place so that a lifetime's practice at touch typing is useless and the online email she's forced to use for the duration is slower and clunkier than the machine itself.

Bottom line: whatever takes (took) a few seconds to do on a Crabby's desktop machine, takes five or more minutes on the laptop. Translation: hours more a day at this cheap keyboard.

And that's not the worst of it.

Did Crabby just say that sometimes it's not readily apparent when disaster strikes? No kidding. What she forgot during the two or three hours it took to get everything humming on the laptop (as much as it's ever going to hum), is that everything she needs – in her personal life, for the blog and everything else – EVERYTHING – is on that computer. Currently unavailable.

Here's what the disaster means for TGB:

Outlines for planned and/or nearly finished blog posts along with the ongoing list of ideas for blog posts and the research for potential blog posts are all on that machine

The ongoing collection of items for the Saturday Interesting Stuff is there

So is personal documentation of Crabby's newly busy medical life

Along with all email records,

All photographs,

And numerous bits of information and facts that are useful for blog posts

You wouldn't be far wrong to say that Crabby Old Lady's entire life is on that computer.

Although there are a couple of good leads, Crabby has not yet found a person to investigate and - Crabby hopes – repair the machine or at least save the hard drive. The one she is most interested in so far is not available until November 1 or 2 but she is still looking around. Meanwhile, Crabby could use a little help from you, dear readers.

This mostly relates to email. Readers send a lot of ideas for blog posts, items for Interesting Stuff and other missives with their thoughts. All are always welcome but Crabby wonders if you could be a bit more discerning until the computer issues are resolved. Such as:

  1. Please, especially if you read TGB via email, do not hit “Reply” to send a comment. Reply, just as with any email, goes only to me. To leave a comment on the blog post so others can read it, go the the website by clicking the title of the story in your email. It will open in your browser and you can then comment at the bottom of the story. I get about half a dozen emailed comments a day and it takes a long time to respond to each explaining how to comment.

  2. If you have ideas for Interesting Stuff, try to recall where you've seen it. Crabby gets a lot of duplicates, items that have already been featured on previous Saturdays.

  3. If you want to send a news item or other kind of story, consider first how widely reported it is. Crabby has at least 40 news alerts so anything on the front page of the major papers in the world lands in her inbox. Features related to ageing, retirement, elders, seniors, Medicare, Social Security and other topics of common interest to elders are often included in her alerts too but not always. So on this you'll have to guess and there's no penality for being wrong.

The reason for these requests is that the poky email system Crabby is stuck with for now is so hard to use and so slow that it takes forever to read through the inbox without automatic sorting or color-coding, even longer to get them organized and with the off-kilter keyboard, it is excruciating to try to write (including this post), hitting wrong keys every few words.

This also explains why, if you have emailed in the past couple of days, you may not have received an reply. It is difficult in so many ways to use this laptop and this email program that Crabby throws up her hands several times a day and walks away.

Crabby hopes you will understand she is trying to reduce the “terrible, horrible, no good and very bad day” aspect of her computer troubles until they are fixed. At worst that will be sometime next week. Meanwhile she's paddling as fast as she can.


Oh dear, Crabby!! I can really identify with you because two weeks ago I accidentally deleted my calendar from my iPad. Life came to a screeching halt because I had no idea what I was supposed to do or where I was supposed to be on any particular day. That calendar was my memory. Fortunately, my daughter was able to restore it for me and life resumed.

So sorry to hear. I hope your computer wizard comes ASAP and works some magic.

Hate to be an "I told you so", but as a computer savvy person, why didn't you back up your data to the cloud? That way you could have done a complete "Restore" and retrieved your data.

Just glad, very very glad, that your "terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day(s)" were related to your computer and not to your health ... but I AM sympathetic to the frustrations of being disconnected from one's usual computer and from one's habits. FC!

Bruce Cooper...
There are as many good reasons as bad ones to use or not use the cloud although that's not the problem. Also, I've removed your recommendation for a repair service for two reasons:

One: I used them some years ago, they couldn't solve the problem and made me pay anyway.

Two: No one may promote a commercial product or service on this blog.

You need my grandson, who has always been able to restore ours.

Awful, awful. I hate it when computer problems rear their ugly heads -- it always takes hours or days to fix things. My latest episode was with a bit of malware that snuck aboard my computer and took forever to get rid of.

Re saving to the cloud -- an extra hard drive serves the same purpose, and they're not very expensive. Maybe that would be a solution?

Now, Crabby, I totally understand, we do feel that our computers are our connection to the world, and even that our "EVERYTHING" is on it. And we are blasted when it goes haywire, which, despite all precautions, it will. We do this with other material objects, like cars and houses, probably lots more stuff. And it is stuff, I remind myself, it is not my soul, it is the outer stuff that is great, helpful, useful, and necessary to maintain our lives as we now know them.
I freaked out several times when the burn feeder (?) didn't work right, and your blog was lost to me. Several times when the phone and computer and TV were all out (my radio has backup batteries) I felt, for a while, desperately isolated and alone. As the days went by (hospitals and more populated areas have electricity restored before rural) it came to me how my life was filled with myself, nature, the universe! Kinda fun, really.

Ditto what Jean Gogolin just posted: an external hard drive. I also back up my writing to Google Drive, and have a Chrome laptop that can sync with Google Chrome browser, which has all my bookmarks/banking, etc. should my main desktop PC go down.

I consider myself fairly computer savvy -- but even so, a couple years ago I fell for one of those schemes that freezes your screen, then gives you an 800 number to call that will "fix" your virus problems. Fortunately, only lost the cost of their service, and then later, that PC died anyway. Just always be wary of a screen popping up with flashing and sound saying you're computer has a virus and needs removing. I didn't even know that was a scam until a few months ago; apparently it was happening a LOT!

Sorry for your bad week thus far. Hoping things improve soon. (Honestly, when one of my computer's starts acting up now, I just get a new one. Not worth the hassle of trying to fix, since I have backup of the hard-drive.)

So relieved to see your "no good very bad" day related to your computer, not your health. On the other hand, I understand completely how a non-functioning computer can wreck everything. Everything! For me it would be a disaster of the first order. Everything I do, everything I enjoy during the day, is based around my computer and my TV (both held hostage by the same provider). Fortunately my son is a tech person who can figure out almost anything. One of these days, however, this old laptop will give up the ghost for good and I'll be forced to replace it. In the interim I won't be fit company for anyone.

I'm so terribly sorry! I wonder if your desktop has a disk drive AND if you have a disk with the OS (operating system) on it. If so, you can try booting from the disk and repairing your HD. I'm also so terribly sorry that no one can help until November. I like what Cara said about Google Drive and a Chromebook.
I hope the week turns around for you soon!

Oh my goodness, Ronni, so sorry to hear! I am a huge fan of your writing!! Take heart. Don't despair!

Please tell me you have an external hard drive running alongside your computer. I learned the hard way (no pun intended).

Faith, of course I do. And all the other things readers have mentioned. It's not all that easy for a non-techie to restore if the computer won't boot, etc. (I've been here before) and - oh never mind. I could explain why each of the above solutions would not work but it is just too boring to write.

When I wrote this, I wasn't looking for solutions - they are always too particular to the computer and the problem to be useful. I just wanted you to know why there is no "real" post today and that there might not be for awhile - all my everything about TGB is on the broken computer.

A recurring nightmare is losing everything on my laptop - it is my lifeline to, well, almost everything. I should backup frequently, think about it, but don't get around to it. I hope your computer issues are fixed quickly.

And some days are like that, even in Australia.

Hi Crabby,

So sorry about your computer that has aged out. Or taken a sick leave of absense.
Like you, I am a writer. So I understand the agony of not being able to reach my work, my life...

Whoops. Forgot to proof-read in my haste.
Yes, I now see the misspellings and the .... gaps.

Lynda Bernard...

As noted to Bruce Cooper above, no one is allowed to promote commercial products and services in the comments so I've removed your love letter to a certain computer.

This is the number two directive of TGB: you may not recommend, promote or try to influence others to purchase any product or service.

If you are wondering, the number one directive is: you may not make personal attacks upon other commenters or the proprietor of this blog. Argue facts, debate opinions, let us know what you think. But no personal attacks.

After losing much of my life in crashes, I can tell you what we did. 1.replaced the old computer with something from Costco. 2. Got the old computer fixed. 3 Put all the old stuff on the new computer. 4. Bought a back up system. 5. Once a month...which really isn't enough, saved the new stuff to both the old computer and the back up.

I am so very sorry.

I'll add my condolences to those of others on the "Blue Screen of Death" situation you are dealing with.

We all have our ways of coping with the perfidy of our trusted machinery - after two hard drive crashes - mine is presently a backup drive and two (yes, two) local repair businesses on speed dial.

Nevertheless, it is inconvenient, a nuisance and annoying as all get out when it's not possible to access our stored lives.

Hang in there...

I'm glad that your terrible news was related to your computer not your health.
I had such a crash last year which required sending the computer back to the manufacturer for a new motherboard, under warranty, and being without it for several weeks. Thankfully everything was still there and fine when I got it back, but I had a very tough few weeks without my lifeline to the world.
Hopefully, your problem can be resolved sooner, and locally.

I have and use an old fashioned address book and my husband is always trying to get me to enter all my contacts on my android phone....but I do not trust it...ha ditto my computer. Of course, I can just go to "recent contacts" when I want to call a friend, or family member because their #'s are always there.

I also use a desk calendar and buy a new one every year when they go on sale after Jan. 1st. Couldn't get along without it, nor the one by my kitchen phone.

He has all of his info on his cell and computer. Fortunately, he can fix my computer when it acts up and takes a time out.

Your blog today is very helpful so never worry about what you cannot post, the best laid plans of mice and men etc. As other have commented, it's only "stuff" not the important health challenges you have right now.

Now I need to meditate after chasing around to get plants watered in what is yet another 95 degree heat wave here on the Calif. coast.

Hugs...just hugs, no advice. You don't need this on top of everything else! Hope you get excellent service and a total return to full function (of your computer as well as you!) or a new computer with all the old information present and working well! We all love TGB. I am going to hit the 'Donate' button and contribute to your repair and/or new computer, and I hope that other TGB subscribers will do the same! You add so much to our lives! ...and I'm with you on the medical marijuana, since I am dealing with an MS-like condition.

Oh, Ronnie - - take heart, and perhaps smile now and then. To quote your final thought: "Meanwhile she's paddling as fast as she can", - - It would seem more as tho you're up that well-known "s--t creek without a paddle", 'till somebody fixes your paddle.
Love & kisses, Kiddo

Please pass along my fervent sympathy to Crabby.

And once she has a reliable computer of some sort, tell her to get two (2) external hard drives: one to connect to the computer and the other to live in a safe deposit box at the bank. And then to switch them out every month.

Crabby thinks things are bad now, she should try having a catastrophic HD crash in which ALL THE DATA IS UNRECOVERABLE. Crabby should not let this happen to her.

Bummer. Hang in there. This too shall pass. So sorry. Feel for ya. Hugs. And etc. :-P

OMG! This has happened to me in the past but not recently, thank goodness. I have an external hard drive that supposedly backs everything up daily. However, as someone else noted, what good is it if the computer won't boot? How would I access the data--except perhaps on another computer? Also, it stores the data in unidentifiable files with unidentifiable names so I'm not sure how useful it would be on a practical level.

In order not to be totally helpless if/when my computer crashes, I still maintain a written check/ATM log, desk calendar and manual address book. It's "all on the computer" but also backed up the old-fashioned way. (Of course, this wouldn't work for blog posts, email, articles and research--those are hugely inconvenient data losses.)

Also way up there on the nuisance list: mailbox thieves! The perpetrators crowbarred 6 sections of locked mailboxes off the wall in our 55+ community a few nights ago and stole the contents. Unlike some residents, we pick up our mail daily so the thieves came up with nothing from our box. However, 274 units of elder housing must now retrieve their mail physically at USPS every day for 8+ weeks while management rebuilds a more secure mail area, if there is such a thing anymore.

This isn't very charitable, I realize, but I hope something equally inconvenient happens to the perps when they get old--if not well before then. Karma!

Take your time, Ronni.

I can relate..

There have been many moments where I feel like taking my laptop to the lake, winding up and drop kicking the $&%^# as far into the deep as possible, but then I think about the environment and that line fisherman out there who thinks he's finally got a dory on the line, but no. Surprise. He reels in my laptop, has a five star rooster dance, tumbles off his boat and sinks like DT's a$$.

Meant to make you laugh from Montreal.

Big hug.

I am so sorry, Ronni. It happened to me once , but my stuff wasn't nearly as important as the things you need access to. I hope you are able to resolve this issue speedily.

Modern life. Yuck! If it's not one thing it's another and of course we're complicit since we depend so completely on technology. I haven't had a major computer crash since my workdays---those halcyon days when you could get one of those crabby guys from IT to fix things if you'd just get out of their way.

Now that I hear about Ronni's disaster, though, and all the different advice for avoiding or fixing things, I am scared to death. Because although I can "drive" this thing just fine, I have no idea what's under the hood.

Then of course there are the evil ones screwing up the non-tech part of our lives, like the mail thieves Elizabeth Rogers cites. We've had those periodically in my neighborhood as well as the rats who follow the UPS truck so they can steal a newly delivered package, then open it and strew the wrapping (and sometimes contents if they don't want it) all over the street.

There are, of course, the spammers and hackers trying to make our lives miserable. There is a special place in hell for people who cause such difficulty for other humans. Bad Karma is just not enough.

Ronni--so, so sorry! I had one die like this once. I also had excellent backups, except (and you knew this was coming) for a picture I had just scanned. It was of ... me.

Ever since I hit my mid-forties, photography has not been my friend, but I rather liked my driver's license picture from three states ago. Plus, it is (or rather, was) pretty much the only picture of me that exists from that entire period in my life. Gone.

The boring stuff--tax records, long-forgotten letters, old Christmas card mailing lists--was easily restored from flash drive backups. But loss of that picture hurt. So I know how you feel.

Two months ago the logic board on my marvelous laptop croaked. Because it was "old," having been purchased new in 2011, I couldn't buy a replacement except off eBay but it wouldn't be guaranteed. After investigating options for 2 weeks I finally decided to splurge on a large desktop with a huge screen, which helps me see my photos with macular degeneration eyes. Fortunately I had backed up everything onto an external hard drive. Altogether it took a full month to be back to normal and not grouchy.

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