now playing: harry potter (via audiobook)
nothing caps off a 14 hour workday like coming home to the smell of an electrical fire.
it’s a nasty-assed smell…and it smacks you in the face pretty hard the second you come across it.
i came home with dylan at around 9:15 or so, after spending over two hours sitting at dave walton’s house, trying in vain to coax the onboard USB adapter into talking to dave’s new printer. oddly, the one thing that i thought would present a challenge – trying to read the mind of dave’s other PC-literate friend who’d set up his cable modem and wireless router – turned out to be a piece of cake. he didn’t bother to change any of the default settings, so it detected everything right away, and his PC was on the ‘net in no time.
it was the printer – the thing that was supposed to be a no-brainer – that turned out to drive me to the edge of insanity.
now the plan (as it existed in its initial, naive form) was to pick up the kids (done), drop jayda off at a friends’ house (done), and then go back to dave’s house to drop off the PC and install everything and get his printer and internet connection squared away (herein lies the rub).
dylan came along – after all, we weren’t going to be there long – and waited more patiently than any kid should have to while i did battle with a stubborn-assed NTKERN.VXD file that refused to load the USB root hub driver…and, as such, couldn’t talk to the printer.
i tried EVERYTHING. i uninstalled and reinstalled it in device manager, i abided by the micro$oft sanctioned solution, and renamed the three specified driver files to *.old, and then used system file checker (yeah, it was a win98 machine) to extract fresh copies from the disk…i downloaded the chipset drivers from the motherboard manufacturers’ site, just in case…none of this worked. i had the dreaded yellow exclamation point staring back at me after every restart.
what was supposed to take roughly half an hour, after which time we’d bolt from daves’ house, stop at home and pick up a guitar for rehearsal and dash to darryl’s house for band practice. then, when practice was over, we’d pick jayda up and i’d drop the kids back at the house while i went to work and finished the end-of-day formalities (stopping long enough to toss a load of laundry into the washer, which would be finished by the time i got back from work, in time to throw it into the dryer, thus sparing me from the need to dip into my emergency stash…and waddle off to work on “tightey whitey friday”).
well, nothing in my life ever goes as planned…as i seem to have occasion to say all too often.
dylan patiently sat as i rebooted, reinstalled, deleted, rebooted again…until 8:45 or so. dave walked in just as we were leaving, and i told he and his wife what had happened, in terms of the printers’ inability to talk with a USB port that refused any and all drivers thrown at it…and we bolted after jayda, unable at this point to even make a half-hearted effort to salvage a band rehearsal (which will earn me points with the boys, i’m sure.)
(now it should be mentioned that this is two rehearsals i’ve missed within the space of a week, for two separate bands…why the fuck does anyone call me at all anymore?)
anyway, after getting back to the house with the kids, the smell filled the whole downstairs of the house.
i don’t freak out easily, but i was freaked out.
the thing that got to me was that i couldn’t pinpoint the source of the smell…it was definitely coming from the kitchen, and it started right after starting the dishwasher, so that had to be it, right? well, ok…but there was no outward evidence that it came from there, and we were all having a hard time figuring out where the smell was most intense…and i had resigned myself at this point to the fact that it had to be some kind of wiring behind the drywall, and i was on the phone to the kids’ mom, telling her that i was bringing them back to her house for the night, as i didn’t want them sleeping in this house until i knew what the deal was.
SO – i dropped them off at their moms’, and went back to work to finish end of day…that took me past midnight – totalling my workday out at sixteen hours, all together.
it’s now 1:30 in the morning, and my tightey-whitey bailout load of laundry is spinning beneath my feet in the basement…
…and people wonder occasionally why i sleep until nearly noon on weekends sometimes.
dylan and i were talking on the way back from daves’, and dylan said, “whatever happened to your plan to do freelance computer stuff and sell guitars on eBay?”
and i had to say – in my head, anyway – that i didn’t realize he was paying attention quite so closely.
but i told him that right now, it feels more secure from where i sit to be able to work during the day and have that job available to me and then take on the work after-hours so i could have the financial security to be able to do things for them…and that maybe after they were out of school and established, then it might be time for me to scale back. but right now, i’m really enjoying being able to provide for them and to make sure that they don’t want for anything.
another interesting dylan moment from the evening…we went into daves’ study to begin working on his computer, and there’s a picture of dave and lilliane on dave’s desk…now dylan met dave as he was walking out of a chinese restaurant that we were walking into many moons ago, and to the best of my knowledge, i can’t remember any other time that dylan’s had occasion to bump into dave for any reason.
but we walked in there and dylan saw the picture and said, “that’s the guy we met at the chinese restaurant that time….”
people who don’t have kids just don’t understand how that feels, man.
my kids kick ass.