It was the best of times and it was the worst of times. My week has had its ups and downs to date. The ups have been that we were able to get a good jump on painting the front porch. This of course was my second painting project of the summer. I think the novelty wore off as Kathryn relegated herself to mostly supervising her parents and her grandpapa who wanted to assist us. Of course that was in between rounds of Elmo or Curious George on PBS.

The porch is cement or masonry with a rough stone finish to it so it is quite a challenge to paint, but in our first pass we seemed to have few specks of unpainted surface showing through the coat. I like wood because you run your brush over it and there is no problem. With masonry at least for me, it seems like you need to go slower and give the paint a chance to leave the brush and coat all of those tiny cracks and crevasses in the rough stone finish. Fortunately the rails were smooth so the cement wasn't so bad to do on them.

Tuesday was a beautiful painting day. The weather was perfect with a slight breeze, a marked contrast to the beastly heat of the previous week and its deck painting assignment. Even though we were busy painting for several hours, it passed quite nicely and quickly unlike the deck which seemed to take forever even though the actual time spent on both was about the same.

It's interesting how time is distorted depending on what we like to do. The four hours we worked on the deck were sheer torture due to a combination of the intolerable early June heat coupled with the monotony of painting spindle after spindle on the railing.

In contrast the four hours or so we worked on the front porch passed rather nicely. Of course there were no spindles to paint it was basically a straight wall and a few columns. While the slowness of making sure paint was absorbed in all the cracks could be trying at times, it was a much easier labor than the deck.

That evening I thought about how pleasant the day was and I was looking forward to just staying home the next day and watching the rain fall. My computer had other plans for me. I woke up to find my computer would not turn on and then when it did try to run, it hit the infamous blue screen of death the moment that drains the blood from your face as you realize your computer has bought the farm especially if you have saved it a few times before that harbinger of cyber doom.

It's at that moment I dropped to my knees and pray for one more little boot to Windows to allow me to back up what I believe are critical files since the last time I saved them somewhere. But the cyber goddess is a fickle mistress and alas, no mercy is shown on me. It's a feeling I'm sure most of us who have had a computer for more than a week have experienced. I can see where the day is heading and so can my wife who found it amusing to spy me sitting on the floor of my office giving a pep talk to a computer tower which obviously was not going to be swayed by groveling.

Inevitably, I made "the call" to technical support for my PC which was manufactured by the place in which a certain farmer's life revolves. A mistake on my part from reading the computer's service tag at a perpendicular angle with a flashlight wedged in the tightest corner below my desk leads to quadrupling my frustration as I get bounced all around tech support greeting practically every division until the last bounce landed me in the ear of a guy who listened to me, asked for my tag and then proceeded to tell me I stole my computer because the tag doesn't match where I claim to have purchased it.

Only then did I review the tag for the third time on the floor with my neck stretched like an ostrich trying to jam my head into a space that makes a tight glove roomy. Upon that second glance I realized the ambiguous looking "5" was actually the letter "S". When I told my American sounding support rep this, he quickly washed his hands of me saying that I was out of warranty and needed basic support. "I will be happy to transfer you," he said. I thought, "Yeah, because it's less you probably need to do now."

So he transfers me to a representative from New Delhi or somewhere close. This guy proceeds to work on making me buy a warranty worth 75 percent of the machine to fix it. I love when they insist you also will "need a technician". I told him, "Dude, up until last October this is what I did for 20 years. I don't need a technician. I just need a hard drive."

No matter what though, he insisted we need to do things his way and that it would take until Monday. I told him that was no good since I need the computer to do my work. Fast forward 12 hours and I'm sitting in front of this new build looking at all of the work I have to redo to reach my comfort level in an upgraded system. At least I don't have to wait until Monday to use my PC again.

Til next time ...