For some time now, our little family has enjoyed a daily morning ritual. The three of us - son Tim, hubby George and myself - gather around my desk to read our daily e-mail messages together. We routinely exchange notes with daughter, Sherri, and other pals both near and far.
But a couple of days ago, as soon as I fired up my electronic pal, Delbert - my Dell computer - I knew I was in trouble. Instead of my normal Outlook Express e-mail screen, I was greeted with several unusual messages. One warned that my disk space was full - which I knew couldn't be true - and a second stressed that my program wasn't installed properly - another error, I was certain.
As a writer, I naturally rely on my computer. And, when I learn this vital tool is ailing, I go into panic mode.
Since my Moseyin' Along deadline was looming, I wasted no time contacting my local computer repair gurus at their nearby shop.
Within the hour, Delbert and his necessary accessories were checked in to the shop's computer hospital, receiving emergency care.
The spot on my desk, normally filled by Delbert, sat empty while I experienced a growing concern that something dreadful had happened to my electronic pal.
Several tense hours later, I got the call from the computer ER. Seems my poor ailing buddy had come down with a malicious virus that had corrupted his e-mail program and resulted in some other damage.
The computer geeks outlined their treatment plan and assured me they would return Delbert in time for my weekly session of Moseyin' Along.
True to their word, they saw to it that my vital writing tool was back in place on my desk by the next afternoon.
Ah, I thought, all's well.
But not necessarily.
The problem arose when I tried to print out a document. That's when I learned that Delbert no longer communicated with his desk companion of many years, my HP printer.
I made a call to the folks at the computer shop and learned they had been forced to delete the printer from Delbert's memory, due to the damage of the virus.
They told me if I'd just bring in the printer, all its software, its cords, the interface with the computer along with the computer and all its accessories, they would be happy to reinstall the printer.
When I thought of the monumental job of disconnecting, loading and transporting all that equipment, I made the rash decision to try to reintroduce the computer and printer myself.
I'd like to tell you that, due to my brilliance, the project went smoothly and I experienced absolutely no trouble.
But, since you know me so well, I realize I can't get away with that tale.
No, it took me one whole day and into the night to fumble through installation programs, the "hardware wizards," the test prints and other attempts in order to get the printer up and running.
I can't really say how I finally accomplished the deed, but today Delbert and the HP are once again speaking to each other. Given the roundabout method I used to accomplish that goal, I hope I never have to try to retrace my steps.
Oh, for those early writing days when I simply relied on a legal pad and a pencil.