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Well it's been an interesting week.

My left little finger is more crooked than ever. Up in Rockhampton two weeks back - and didn't I wish I was back there a couple of nights ago with the wind and the rain and the cold here in Canberra - I managed to bump my finger awkwardly on the handbrake in my brother's 4WD. I was reaching for the seatbelt catch, I think, and my body didn't realise it wasn't in the familiar shape of the taxi.

Hurt like blazes and I said a word or two I shouldn't have with my nephew sitting beside me. Thought I'd broken it, but Kerri tells me the tendon is partially detached, and if I leave it alone it may heal up.

Think I'd be used to strange cars. I would have driven fifteen or twenty different cars in nine different countries over the past year, some of them very strange indeed, with the stalks on the wrong sides, not to mention the steering wheels, but, here I am, undone by a handbrake.

My laptop is still in being repaired. All the travel has gotten to the Mac Air, skinny thing it is, and the hinges collapsed and eventually the screen flickered and went dark. In the meantime, I'm using Kerri's, and when she's using her computer, I've lashed up another from bits around the house. It's an old Windows XP box, and I hooked it up to my son's old monitor. Then I found a keyboard for it. A wireless keyboard, so I had to find the dongle for it and stick it into one of the two USB slots in front.

Couldn't even log on without a mouse to move the cursor to the button, so I hunted around and found a wireless mouse from my old Vista laptop, nice little bit of junk that was, bluescreening and freezing.

Right. That's two different wireless dongles filling up the two USB slots.

Try to get onto the internet, but it can't access the home network, not having a wireless adaptor, and so I find the wireless dongle from the Air, which you will remember is off being repaired.

Needs a USB slot, and both of them are occupied.

Right. I hunt up an old expansion thingie, which plugs into one of the slots, but gives me four more for a net gain of three. Sweet. I sit that on top with all the other leads and dongles and plug my wireless network dongle in. Now I'm online and all is good.

Just want to charge up the iPhone now, so I get out the cable, plug it into one of the proud array of USB slots, and it tells me I need more power. So I have to hunt out the AC adaptor, in a house where AC adaptors of every size and voltage lurk in the corners, some of them going back well into last century, and find a spare power point to plug that into.

The spare power point is on an expansion powerboard plugged into another one, I need hardly mention.

About this time, with everything humming along nicely and the air so full of wireless and the room so full of cables there's not much af anything left over for an actual person, I notice that the rear of the computer box has four USB slots going to waste.

Powered USB slots, I make no doubt.

Ah well, at least it all works, and we won't mention that I was downloading a new virus protection program when I was juggling everything around and interrupted the download and had to start it again and I now have zero confidence that I'm protected from anything at all, so I'm not keen to turn it on and oh how I wish the computer repair place would ring and tell me that my dear sweet little Mac is fixed and can I come over and take it back off their hands?

There's the buying of the new house going on fine, with the forms to be lodged and the signatures to be witnessed and never a clerk to copy down a name correctly or get the numbers right. There are numbers so big I'm thinking I could never drink all that much beer, not if I enlisted my son and we passed on the job to grandchildren yet unborn.

Between the houses and the mortgages and the insurance and the curtains and the credit cards, we are going to be so filthy rich we'll have to save up for a cup of coffee to share between us, Kerri and I.

The children brag about their paypackets, and I moan about how if one more passenger pays for a $7.50 fare with a fifty dollar note, I'm going to have to pay them out in five cent pieces. I've got a mountain of five cent pieces. They are useless for parking meters and vending machines, the new meter in the cab doesn't even count in five cent increments and there's nothing to do with them but save them up and pad out the milk bill with them, the milk delivery business being conducted entirely by fifteen year old children running down driveways in the dark, thinking that if the little plastic bag is extra heavy this week it's probably got a lot of money in it.

It got to the stage last week where my coin dispenser was empty of everything but five cent pieces and a few tens. I had a ten dollar note that I tried to feed into the change machine at the airport for some two dollar coins to help me out but it wouldn't accept my poor scraggly note. Or - more likely - the machine was out of gold entirely, having been emptied by equally desperate but somewhat speedier cabbies.

Last night some darling old lady, paying a small fare coming home from the club, apologised for having to pay with a handful of coins. I almost leaned over and hugged her, and blessed her so many times as she was getting out of the cab she is going straight to heaven.

OK. I worked out how I can afford a coffee. Eighty five cent pieces will buy me a slender latte at the bakery.

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Skyring

September 2010

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