June 28, 2010

A Tale of 5 Laptops

About two and a half months ago, a friend of mine asked me if I'd like to go on a trip. I wanted to go so bad, for any number of reasons. It was going to be kind of like my 29th birthday present to myself. I knew I'd have to cut some corners financially but I was at a place where I thought I could handle it and told him that assuming nothing crazy happened, I'd like to go. By something crazy, I said, I mean like my laptop or my car dying. I had no idea I'd just jinxed myself.

The very next day, my laptop died. I'm pretty sure it was a virus. My cousin has mentioned this website that allows you to make a playlist of any song you'd like to hear and I'm pretty sure I got said virus from this website. I spent the next 24 hours trying to fix it. I tried to save whatever data I could access. I began talking myself out of being upset at what all I'd lose if I had to reinstall windows: pictures, stories and poems I'd written, stuff I'd written for work, saved games, programs that I no longer owned the software for, etc.

Once I got over the fact that I'd lost everything, I spent a day unpacking boxes that still sat in my bedroom (ten months after I moved in), looking for my Windows disks so I could reinstall. When I found them that afternoon, I started the process and realized that wasn't going to work either. That's when I began to panic. A day or two without a computer means a day or two without work. And a day or two without work potentially meant no exciting trip. I called a local computer repair shop and he told me it was going to cost over $300 to fix and take about a week. I didn't have that kind of time or money. My aunt and uncle happened to be going out of town for a few days and my cousin was staying at their house to dog sit. He offered to let me come over there and work on one of their computers for a few days. I tried, but it's hard to work on a foreign computer in a foreign place. He also mentioned that his roommate fixes computers on the side and could probably fix mine. This was on a Wednesday, I was told it would be done by Saturday.

I called and called and harassed my cousin who swore it was "being worked one" and finally, on Wednesday of the next week, I was told the hard drive was fried among other things and it was basically not fixable. I was so upset. I'd lost nearly a week of work. I'd lost all of my files and data. I'd lost the best computer I'd ever had. It was a Toshiba Satellite that I'd bought in the fall of '07 for about $1500. But I was really worried about losing my trip. Luckily, the place where I work agreed to sell me a relatively inexpensive laptop and shipped it to me the next day. I got it about two -three days later.

It took a while to get used to Windows XP again and it took a while to get over the fact that I swore up and down I'd never use another Dell product, but I got my new laptop set up, installed the important programs and got to work, trying to make up for lost time. I told my friend I'd still like to go on the trip, I'd just need a little more time to pay for everything. Everything was seemingly fine.

Next next Monday, I got up and spent a little time online, playing around on Twitter and catching up on some emails. I had to go somewhere that day and the computer was acting sorta strange, so I reset it before I walked out of the door. It wouldn't come back on. I didn't panic because I didn't really have time to fool with it, but when I got home from wherever it was I went that day, I quickly realized it wasn't going to come back on. I played around with it for a little while before calling my boss and telling him the laptop was dead. He agreed to send me a replacement ASAP. I started to feel a little sick about my trip.

A few days later, my new laptop arrived and I got busy that night, but a bunch of other stuff happened and I had to cancel my travel plans. I was disappointed, but at that point, I was so stressed out and there just wasn't much I could do about it.

The new laptop - number three if you're keeping count - wasn't great, but it worked. The battery was better than the old one and it was a lot more light-weight. I took it to Florida with me last week and it held up through that trip. It almost lasted me two whole months, which with my luck lately, is a lifetime, but this last Tuesday, something happened. It started acting slow and out of the blue, I saw that infamous "blue screen of death." No problem...it's happened before with previous computers and it was nothing a simple restart couldn't fix. Only this time, when I restarted it, the blue screen came back. I tried again and again, I tried starting it in safe mode, I hit F2 and F8 and Feverything else. Laptop number three was a goner and I knew it.

Granted I don't have a trip to pay for but I am working my butt off trying to get back into school in the fall and move and all that good stuff and I didn't get a whole lot of work done when I was in Florida. Not to mention, my mom is really sick again and happened to be in the hospital when this happened. I literally just sat in the floor and cried.

I went out the next day and took some cash that was totally supposed to be for something else and bought a little $250 netbook at Target. It was the cheapest laptop I could find this side of Atlanta and I was desperate to get something. I got it home and tried to find a brightside. Hey, it fit in my purse. It'd be great to travel with. Sure, I couldn't seen an entire website on one screen, but it weighed less than the book I'm currently reading. A few hours and hand-cramps later, I made a late-night trip to Wal-mart to buy a mouse and keyboard to connect to it. No way I'd be able to work like that, but that small screen still drove me nuts. The next day, I took it back to Target and told them to they could have it back. I wanted no part in it.

I drove to Best Buy and looked at the lower-end laptops. I ended up paying an extra $100 or so, and purchased a much cheaper Toshiba Satellite. Do I love it? Absolutely not. Windows 7 is pretty cool, but it's kind of big and heavy and it gets hung up with certain programs. It's not perfect by any means but it works. My hands don't cramp up when I use it and all that good stuff. But hopefully, it'll be the last laptop I have to buy for a while. Hopefully, the fifth time is a charm. Sigh.

June 19, 2010

To the Beach and Back

OK, so I didn't post an update while I was in Florida. I started to a few times but I had zero desire. I am back today, though, and figured I'd go ahead and post a few thoughts and pictures because I know everyone's dying to know about my trip!! Ha, ha.

So, I stayed up all night on Friday night before I left, packing and cleaning, and that morning, I dropped Gabby and Sadie off at my parents' house and my aunt and grandfather picked me up. It was the beginning of an awesome week! There were a few stressful moments (mostly to do with stuff I had going on back home, work, etc.) but for the most part, I had a really nice time. It was nice to not have to worry about everything I've had to worry about lately and just let go and relax. I've had a really hard time doing that over the last couple of years.

So, first of all, as you may already know, I could live in the water and I did a lot of that this week. No one would really go out very far into the ocean with me and for some reason, I was a little freaked out to go out alone, but when I finally did, I had an awesome experience. On Sunday or Monday, my cousin, her boyfriend, and I had gone pretty far out in the water when she started freaking out over some dorsal fins she saw pretty close to us. I never saw them, but we went back to the beach and soon realized there were about 15-20 dolphins in the water, just beyond where we'd been swimming. I thought this was really cool, but no one else seemed to share my enthusiasm.

However, yesterday's experience was even better. At some point this week, I bought a float, and spent a good deal of time out in the water with it (yes, I felt like I was 10 but it was fun). Well, yesterday, I stayed in the ocean for at least two hours and went out pretty far at one point. I was floating around and watching for creatures (the guys fishing beside me had caught several sharks already), but eventually I quit paying attention. I closed my eyes and when I opened them, there was another dorsal fin sticking out of the water, about ten or so feet in front of me. I didn't get a good look at it, so I panicked a little. I started swimming backwards so that I could get to where I could stand up better and suddenly, I saw it again, only it was coming at me. Luckily, it was just another dolphin, but it got so close to me! It swam towards me and I tried to swim towards it, but these two guys who were out there, after I explained to them that it was not a shark, came swimming up and it took off. Sigh. Anyway, that was truly the highlight of the trip.

I got a lot of exercise while I was there- many night walks on the beach, a few days of walking around town, and lots of swimming against currents, but I also pigged out on burgers & fried chicken. Yeah, I don't like seafood. But hopefully, I can keep the working out up. And fortunately, I can't afford to eat out every night on my own.

Anyway, I absolutely love St. Augustine and am sorry I haven't been tagging along over the last few years. It's a fun, goregeous place and I had zero desire to leave. But I did miss my babies and I am ready to get started trying to make this UGA thing work. If it doesn't work out, who knows, maybe I'll just load up my car and head back down there... to stay! I want to move somewhere, why not?

OK, here are some pictures. They were taken with my phone and weren't really taken with any purpose - mainly just snapped when I was bored, but I figured I'd upload them anyway. Also, they are in no particular oder because that's a pain to deal with on Blogger.

I wanted to get a specific gift for a friend while I was there, but I looked all over town and couldn't find what I wanted. No one in the family really does the tourist thing anymore, but I did drive myself to downtown St. Augustine on Friday morning to try one last time to find said gift. Just snapped this pic while I was walking down the street. Such a pretty little town.

And another picture from the town:

Just a random picture of the ocean from Friday, when the water was particularly clear (it was very murky earlier in the week).
My aunt's little dog laying in the sand. He had a good time digging.


You can't really see it, but this is a super old cemetery downtown.


Driving over the bridge into downtown St. Augustine.
My baby cousin, Michael, and his new sunglasses.


You can't really see it but there was this really pretty house about five or six houses up from us. Don't get me wrong, most all the houses in the area are really nice (if I had 1.2 million, I'd so buy the one we stayed in, as it's for sale), but this was was beautiful.


And just another random ocean picture I took while I was walking one evening.

A picture of my horribly sunburned shoulder.


A huge crab I saw on the beach. I didn't see as much wildlife as I would have liked, but as I mentioned, the water was pretty murky. Besides, I'm getting certified to scuba dive later this year, so that will more than make up for it, I think!

Our beach was super private and at times, practically empty! I loved it!

We went bowling one night. I suck at bowling. Here are the backs of my aunt, uncle, and two of my cousins.
And as I mentioned, I ate only chicken and burgers every night. Here is my huge plate of chicken, fries, and hush puppies from The Seafood Kitchen.
And here is a picture of my cousin, another cousin's hands, and another cousin's boyfriend. I can't remember why I took this but we were playing some sort of crazy weird game.
And another picture from a walk on the beach.

The Castillo de San Marcos/oldest fort in the US. I really would have liked to go see it (I've been but it's been several years). Maybe next time. So much history in that town!
And this is a horrible picture that I snapped when i was laying on my bed. I was trying to get a picture of my suburn. Ha ha.

A pic I took when I was out in the ocean.

A view from the screened in porch where I did a lot of working.
I took this picture when I first got there. That is our little walkway from our house to the beach.

OK, there are a few more but you get the point!!!

June 09, 2010

3 more days...

In about 68 hours, I will be here. (This is really where I'll be...stole the pic from the real estate listing.)


But getting through the next two and a half days will be pretty crazy in itself. Tonight, tomorrow, and Friday, I need to do the following:

- Get in about 20 more hours of work
- Pay all my bills that are due next week & sort out how much money I'll have for Florida
- Bathe Gabby
- Clean out my car
- Run a few errands & make a few purchases for the trip
- Pack
- Clean up my bedroom, kitchen, and mop my living room floor
- Do laundry
- Pick Sadie up from the vet (she was spayed today and has to stay overnight, my poor baby)
- Get my financial aid appeal in the mail
- I'm sure there's something else I'll think of before I finish this post.

My point? Blogging will probably be light over the next few days. And the 72-Day Boot Camp is currently on hold. I know I said no excuses but hear me out. First of all, I have been working out each day (with the exception of Sunday - I was sick). For example, yesterday, I swam 64 laps. That didn't even take half an hour. So, while I'm still working out, I'm just not posting it. But one reason I'm trying to get everything cleaned up and out, and get caught up on work before I leave is so that I can be on a regular schedule when I get home and not have to worry about other stuff hanging over my head.

I still plan to walk on the beach for an hour every day and I'm taking some light weights. I also have to work while I'm there, but I've already decided the room you see below will be my office. (Yeah, I stole that pic, too!) If that were always my office, I'd probably never get behind on work.


And now, I need to go get busy. See y'all from Florida. :-)

June 06, 2010

D-Day


"And when he gets to heaven,
To Saint Peter he will tell:
One more soldier reporting, sir
I've served my time in hell."

June 04, 2010

72-Day Boot Camp

Last fall, I started working out... a lot. I borrowed my parents' stationary bike, I discovered Exercise TV On Demand, I was taking Gabby for five - six plus mile walks everyday at the park, lifting weights, etc. This lasted about a two months and then my mom get sick and I had to deal with that, Christmas, and then I got sick. I'll just say my workouts have been far and few between since then. I'll get a good day or two start and then I'll get busy and keep putting it off. But that all ends today!! Woohoo!

So, I've also decided I'm going to try to do whatever it takes to get to UGA this fall. Everything else aside, it comes down to needing a change of scenery and it just seems like the perfect opportunity to do that. School starts August 16th, and I'm going to have to do a lot between now and then to make it happen, but I'm gonna give it my all and hope for the best. Anyway, these two things are related because I have exactly 72 days from today until then and one thing I'd really like to do between now and then is get into some kind of shape, after all, I'm going to be surrounded by 18 to 22-year-olds. So, I'm officially starting today.

As soon as I finish this post, I'm going to go swim laps. Every day, I am going to workout for at least one hour, no matter how behind I am on work, no matter what the weather's like, what else I have going on, etc. I haven't exactly worked out what I'm going to do while I'm on vacation next week - I'm sure long walks on the beach will be the best I can do - but that works. Some days, hopefully I'll get in more than one hour. Around here, my workouts will probably be mostly swimming laps, taking the dogs to the park, lifting weights, and I have some kickboxing & aerobics DVDs.

And why am I posting about this? Well, I figure if I do, I'll be forced to do it just so I don't embarrass myself. Unlike the "year in pictures" which didn't work out so well, this is a little more goal-oriented. So, every day, once I've completed my workout, I'll be posting it here, at least for the next 72 days. And now I'm off to the pool!!

June 03, 2010

Raintree County

Quote of the day: "If you fall in love with a Southern woman, then problems are just around the corner!" - Raintree County

So, I decided to kick back and relax a little tonight since I've spent just about every night working for the past few weeks. I wanted to watch a movie and I've got Netflix on hold, but I do have some old movies I DVR'd around Christmas and never got a chance to watch. The first one on the list was "Raintree County," starring Montgomery Clift and Elizabeth Taylor. (Fun fact: I am related to Montgomery Clift. Conceited fun fact: when I was little younger, I was told I looked like a young Elizabeth Taylor.) OK, full disclosure I didn't watch the whole thing - it was three hours+ long and I didn't have time- but I did watch most of it and will finish it at some point this weekend.

Basically, it's about a guy in Raintree County, Indiana who falls for a Southern girl who turns out to be a little nutty. The quote is from the movie and kind of funny because that was the theme of a conversation I had with a guy today. Anyway, it takes place during the Civil War (the guy eventually joins up to fight for the North) and I'm kind of into that sort of thing, so that was pretty cool. I reserve judgment until I see the very end, but it all in all, pretty good so far.

Other than that, it's been a pretty uneventful day. I've been trying to fix my sleeping patterns but despite going to bed around 12:30 last night, I still slept until 10:30. I'm counting the days until I go to the beach next week!!

Here's something random. I just got a text from an unknown number that says: "I apologize 2 u & yo gurl i got da wrng info my bad AINT NOBYD STR8." What the...what language is that?