Aug 04


Have you ever inadvertently avoided a disaster you didn’t even know was looming? And then, once you realized — Whew! — that you’re ok, you couldn’t stop thinking about how absolutely HORRIBLE it would have been if said disaster had actually happened? And in fact you can’t stop thinking about it, giving yourself goosebumps, just like you couldn’t stop sticking your tongue in the holes your wisdom teeth extraction left behind?

Lemme tell you my story.

What’s that? Oh – <teenage eyeroll & big dramatic sigh>yes, I’m writing. Rock star book coming along. Even working on Seth’s manuscript and Nick/T&J’s story line</teenage eyeroll & big dramatic sigh>. (Nick’s an asshole. No matter what I do, he keeps being an asshole.)

So, anyway. Back in May I missed RT for the first time since 2011, but I did drive up to Dallas on Friday and stayed with my NNN bud Kelly Jamieson through Sunday. I saw a bunch of friends, went with a bunch of fellow rom authors to see Pitch Perfect 2, and had dinner with my first editor, the infamous Angela James and some really nice people I’d never met face to face before.

So….that Friday night, following the Pitch Perfect show — which we saw at one of those theaters that serves food and drink, emphasis on the drink – and this was after I’d had drinks in the hotel bar, and then more drinks at dinner – I stumbled up to my room, flopped on my bed and pulled out my shiny new 8 gig hard drive, superfast, hella RAM Lenovo Thinkpad Edge to do some work before I passe fell asleep.

I’m not saying I wasn’t a wee bit more than cocktailed, because it took me a few days to remember what happened after I got settled in the middle of the bed and arranged my papers and took a sip of water and turned to my laptop, sitting there on the comfy, fluffy, slippery soft bedspread and  what wait hey OH JESUS NO IT’S SLIDING OFF THE BED (AND HOTEL BEDS ARE KIND OF HIGH) AND I CAN CATCH IT I CAN CATCH IT I CAN AW FUCK HELL NO I CAN’T CATCH IT AND boom it hit the ground.

I picked it up with shaking hands (from terror, people! Not because I was drunk! Ok, I was drunk), opened the screen, and…it was fine!!! I swear to you, It. Was. Fine.

That night, at least. Next morning, not so much – by then, half the screen was white with wavy, moving back smudges – like someone was continually shaking an Etch a Sketch. The other half of the screen was fine – and I even managed to figure out how to get to my most important apps and programs using only the right side of the screen. But I knew I couldn’t live with that forever. And then I discovered that the housing at the back of the laptop, where it’s connected to the screen, was not snapping together properly.

So I take it to the hole in the wall computer repair shop where I take all my electronics – the guy who owns it is friendly and reasonable and can fix anything. He’s also slow as hell, but that’s okay because by now, I have 3 old laptops that I don’t use anymore but still work. So – backup computers. And — this is the most important part of the story, folks — I’ve subscribed to Carbonite for years. So I just have to jump on a backup laptop, download my Cloud-dwelling backed up MS of Rock My World, and get to work!

Well, not right away. I got sidetracked with Seth, and with Nick and TJ. Which was cool, because they were backed up too.

A month goes by, the guy still doesn’t have the screen and housing fixed. One of my backup laptops is beginning to fail — sometimes it can’t find a drive to boot from, sometimes it can. So I set it aside and pull out another one – a Toshiba.

That one’s a workhorse. Until one day, the screen won’t come on. And it still won’t. All the lights are on, nothing’s showing up. I hook it up to an external monitor – nothing.

Okay. Down to the last backup – the newish Toshiba I passed on to Diva a while back. It’s Windows 8, which I loathe, but I can’t afford to be picky at this point.

And then that one died too. Not just the screen –  it just died. It won’t turn on. No matter what. I could buy a new battery and see if that works but what’s the point, you know?

At this point I’m seriously stressed. I need a laptop, stat. I have no desktop, and I can’t sit at Hub’s desk out in the Barn and work on his desktop because A) it’s uncomfortable as hell and B) he wouldn’t turn it over to me.

I begin to despair.

Then Moriah Jovan’s husband points me to a very reasonably priced Acer Chromebook on Amazon. Now, I’ve never used a Chromebook but Diva lives on one at school, and this Chromebook is WAY cheaper than any decent Windows laptop I’m looking at. And she’s been begging for one of her own. So – Diva gets a new Chromebook, but Mama gets to use it till the Lenovo comes home which, please God, must be before school starts – right?

So I get the Chromebook and I play around and I discover that I freaking HATE THE HELL OUT OF GOOGLE DOCS and, oh yeah – THE WORD ONLINE APP SUCKS BUTT, TOO.

I am 51. I have used Word in a Windows environment far too long to ever be comfortable enough with Google and the whole “oh you don’t need a disc drive, silly! It’s all in the Cloud! And Google Docs just streamlines your document formatting needs and you’ll LOVE it — it’s all unicorn farts and rainbow kisses, you’ll see!” bullshit. (Ok, it’s not bullshit if you’re young and don’t know any better. But I’m not, and I do.)

No, thou smug and annoying hipster children, I will not see. I will not see at all.

But discovering that Google Docs and the Word Online app suck much butt was not the worst part. Oh, no. The worst part was going into the Lenovo’s backed up files in Carbonite to discover that THE LAST BACKUP OF THE ROCK STAR WIP DID NOT HAVE ANY OF THE CHANGES I CLEARLY REMEMBERED MAKING.

It was….Not Current.

But I didn’t panic.

Oh wait, no. No. I did panic – I totally did.

I run up to the computer shop (it’s in a strip center on the edge of my neighborhood) – and ask the guy if he can please hook my laptop up to an external monitor – because he’d already called to tell me that, while he can see everything fine on an external monitor, the new screens he’s tried don’t work so it’s a vid card problem or something – and let me get to the document I need and email it to myself. I took the computer into the shop on May 31 but Carbonite said the Lenovo was last backed up on May 20. Why the 11 day lap, Carbonite, huh? HUH?

Alas. The laptop is not there – it’s out at the technician’s. (I thought my computer guy was the technician, but apparently not.) But — and this is why I love the shop – they’ll have the technician bring the laptop in in the morning. I just need to show up at 11, they’ll hook the laptop up to an external monitor, I’ll get my file — cool. I can breathe again.

Okay, yeah, I know, this is going on too long. “Bring it in for a landing,” as one of my cousins used to tell me when I went on too long.

They plug the laptop in but it won’t turn on because the housing crack is keeping the laptop from charging. So he opens the laptop, takes out my hard drive, pops it into one of those external drives, and….


…there’s nothing there. (At this point I don’t have the heart to use all caps.]

My hard drive resembled nothing I’d ever seen before. Those were not my files, and my files were not there.

The guy had no idea what happened. He kept trying to come up with ideas of what might have happened. At times I give him the benefit of the doubt, at times I don’t. Hub thinks I need to find another computer guy, I think — where? Geek Squad? Some other hole in the wall?  Meanwhile, my guy’s still got my Lenovo – with the now empty hard drive — and it’s at the technician’s getting fixed.

My manuscript problem turned out okay — because I remembered that I’d emailed it to myself in its most current version, so I didn’t lose anything.

And everything else was backed up to its current state.


So the moral of the story is — BACK YOUR SHIT UP. And if you’re like me — ADD, forgetful — don’t trust yourself to back up to a drive or DropBox. Invest in something like Carbonite, or DropBox’s cloud service, or something else. Use something that backs up without your having to do anything.

And, most importantly — don’t try to work on your laptop when you’re drunk off your ass on a hotel bedspread.

Yeah — that. That’s the moral of the story.

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1 comment

  1. Alexis

    I am seriously laughing my butt off at 7:30 in the morning. Oh, I am so sorry, that is frustrating and scary as — well a word I won’t use in a public forum. A similar thing happened to me in the middle of grad school. I didn’t back it up as often – lost half my final papers.

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