Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Murphy's Law

They say if I can happen, it will. I always find it interesting that just when we're under the greatest amount of pressure, or in a situation that requires the most intense focus and relief, something goes wrong. This weekend after traveling to four cities in eleven days, I was finally home at my computer, ready, willing and able to complete edits on a story due yesterday, July 20th. Then, suddenly, Microsoft Word did not want to cooperate. I was working on my desktop, and Word simply would not open. I think in one instance the word, "corrupt" came up. Inhale - exhale - inhale, well, you get the picture.

So, I took the file from my desktop, loaded it onto a flash drive, and starting working on my trusty laptop. After about an hour, Word froze up there, too! What? By then it was very early on Sunday morning and I still had a couple of full days work ahead of me. I restarted, kept working, made sure to continually save my work, and again, it froze. This time when I restarted, the message was, "not responding." I took an even deeper breath, decided to uninstall and reinstall Word on my desktop . . . and stayed positive, or let's say I stayed semi-positive. However, the reinstalled version would not take. I spent a couple of hours trying that, and even more time trying to restore my laptop, or set it back to the factory settings so I could reinstall Word there, too.

By that evening, after realizing I'd had my desktop since about 2002, I remembered that this old Compaq had hung in there with me through many books, even though it was moving slower than before. I won't call it a fossil behind its back, because I hadn't had a problem with it until then, but it should not have been a computer fit for an author. And, it had not failed me before, up until then. And so, I headed to Walmart and got a great deal on a new Dell, and I mean GREAT deal - the monitor is great and way bigger, it's faster, the specs are way more than sufficient, it has all the bells and whistles - and the bottom line is, I friggin' deserve it.

Surely the frustration of meeting my deadline contributed to the fact that this seemed to be some sort of unlawful conspiracy against me. After all, if it can go wrong, it will, right? But, I worked hard at staying mentally kind to myself, and to the situation (I'm older and wiser now, thank God), and I rode it through. Actually, I finished my edits just this morning, only one day behind schedule. I have a new computer, and of course - you know that once I brought the new computer into my home, the laptop started working just fine.

Bottom line is, be prepared. Focus on the resolution, meaning a plan B, not the inconvenience. And know that sometimes, that's just how it goes. After all, life is not so much about what happens to us, but about how we react to it. Write on!


Anonymous said...

After all that stress you deserve a massage, too.

Liane Spicer said...

True words, Marissa. I have to keep reminding myself, but like you, I've gotten (much) better at handling times like these. One of the benefits of growing older!

Jewel Amethyst said...

I understand your pain. Happened to me just when I had a deadline. First my husband's laptop got a virus, then mine. We had to reformat both. I lost a few chapters in the process. Good thing I'm a save-aholic. I had copies saved on the laptops, my work computer, flashdrives, and portable harddrives. Between all those locations I was able to retrieve the lost chapters in time to meet the deadline. Of course I wasn't as calm as you. But hey, I'm still learning....

Phyllis Bourne said...

How on earth did you stay so calm? I would have been a panicky mess.

Funny how the laptop works fine now.