Home Works

We work at being at home; our home works for our family. We are regular; regular seems rare. I try to look at the stars like my mother does each night -- proof we are all under the same sky.

Saturday, October 22, 2005

October's Heroes

October happened while I was not looking. I was felled by lots of minor mechanical difficulties, thinking all the while of my Mississippi neighbors who lost their homes and lives in the hurricanes. Survival guilt seems to have no statute of limitations, but October is proof I can be irritated again, not just aggrieved.

The garage door opener went out. I am 5'1," and my recently diagnosed torn rotator cuff makes standing on my kitchen stool in the garage trying to raise and lower a heavy door by hand Some Big Deal. Not too bad when one of the older boys is home and can be commandeered into being doorman, but otherwise, a bit claustrophobic. You're not going far in Mississippi without a car. Preferably one you can get out of the garage.

The hard drive in my computer went out. Hours spent on the phone with Dell, being disconnected and returned to the queue, transferred to departments that were closed, promised that That Department will resolve my problem only to finally manage the wait and be told that only The Other Department that I just spoke with has the authority to resolve my problem. During one of my hold times I read four chapters of Harry Potter to my son and took a bath. I wrote to Dell's customer service department, pleasantly (I mean that) offering to explain to them why they've dropped so far in customer satisfaction, but no one responded.

The futon broke. The retail store where we bought the futon is out of business; the manufacturer which once before honored the 5-year warranty now denies that such a thing ever existed.

The MRI showed the rotator cuff tear. I felt it Thanksgiving Day 2004, when I went out to toss the proverbial football after the proverbial feast. I kept thinking it would get better, and over the months, now and then it did. But I began to notice in my work-outs that I was overcompensating with my left (non-dominant) arm and my right arm seemed to have created, all by itself, a very special new limited range of motion. Time to really find out what was going on, and my doc, showing off for his medical student - first name "Sledge," no kidding - nearly had me on the floor last week proving to me it was my shoulder and not my triceps. Not sure what he needed the MRI for after that demonstration, which would have been right at home as a feature on WWF.


Genie Garage Door Opener company, one of several heroes in this story, turns out to have wonderful customer service, talked me through diagnostics with little time spent on hold, sent a new circuit board -- under its lifetime warranty for our particular model, and my husband, another of the other heroes in this story, installed it. I can get in. I can get out. I can do it all without hurting my shoulder.

Dell replaced the hard drive under our extended warranty, and the technician who came to fix it is an Eagle Scout and member of BSA's Order of the Arrow, which was a good connection for our scouting family. That part was a good experience, tho' Dell is unconcerned about the fact that we've had multiple hard drive failures (more than three) on the same machine and are just weeks away from being out of warranty.

In the mean time, Middle Son is just about to order the parts for his build-your-own computer, and he's gotten great help from Tim at Olive Branch Computer Repair (another hero), and I'm hoping he'll be able to work on my oft-not-working Dell in exchange for continued provision of pork chops and rides to soccer. And, we won't have to buy from Dell again.

Hero Husband fabricated the new parts needed to repair the futon, which involved the purchase of a new router bit, which seems to be an appreciated consolation prize for spending a lot of time on the honey-do list. He used pecan, which should be very strong, and has the sentimental advantage of having originated as a tree from his father's farm in Virginia. This load of pecan boards has now lived with us in Virginia, North Carolina, back to Virginia, and now in Mississippi. Yes, folks, we are carrying around milled and planed Virginia pecan boards, which gradually get used on the winters-only project of building an entertainment center and bookshelves, but in between, are called upon to fix futons.

Best of all, Hero Husband let it be known he had been "sneaking" and backing up the digital photos on our hard drive because he was worried about how sporadically I did it myself, so he had everything on CD, and we did not lose a single photo during The Crash. He managed to let me know this without ever saying "I told you so" or giving me a lecture, so his hero status has increased another tenfold, and I am feeling optimistic about the next 23 years.

The appointment with the orthopedic doc about the torn rotator cuff is Tuesday, and I've gotta tell ya, I'm hoping for another hero.