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(from wertperch's nodeshell challenge, not to be confused with the British maternity retail business)

Somewhere after the current Quest started, we had a small series of power outages. Nothing remotely like Hurricane Sandy times, but mildly annoying. I had been watching TV in the AC alone when I heard thunder, brief heavy rain and the lights, TV, and AC all shut off. Then back on, then back off, then back on. The one digital clock in the room went on the fritz; I watched the end of whatever I had been watching. Went downstairs to check what I call the tech center in our house, formerly an apartment for my mother-in-law, but now the domain of my sons' software company, full of computers.


My desktop is still back there from Christmas, (please don't ask why). I went over to check my email, expecting to hear from several people I had emailed earlier in the day; my two sons were working with headsets on, listening to different music from their shared file of 80,000 bands. No light on the tower to my computer. Nothing but a blue screen on the monitor. I made the signal MOM NEEDS HELP and simultaneously, my sons each moved one earpiece off an ear. I said, "Did you guys lose power on your computers because mine won't do anything?"


They asked, "Did you try rebooting? Did you try unplugging? Is your powerstrip on?" Yes and yes and yes.


This got one of them to put down his headsets and walk approximately 15 feet to my computer. "Get out of the way, Mom." He tries unplugging and rebooting. Same results. Then he starts ripping off the front of the tower, pulls off one side and said, "Here's your problem. Your motherboard is fried." I asked him if that meant everything was lost forever.

"Oh, no. I can transfer your hard drive, but see these wires..."

I look inside, like a squeamish intern; it's mid-operation and my son is the doctor, shaking his head. "These wires are...(he lost me at red and yellow and thin, incompatible...) That's not good. But these wires mean your graphics card is...(long explanation)..." He goes off, holding the fried motherboard and rummages around in his closet of spare computer parts. (The fried motherboard only had PCI slots for graphics cards so he had to replace the graphics card with AGP so it'd be compatible with the older replacement motherboard. This was how my other son explained it. I still am clueless.)

The closet was once the pantry for our old kitchen, then it was transformed into a shallow cupboard for tablecloths and dish towels, my mother-in-law getting the larger part for her bedroom closet. (That's the very short version of the closet story.) In it's current incarnation, I feel like a giant in a small, but well organized hardware store, that also has old familiar toys, pencil marks on one wall, indicating heights of children, with dates going back to 1987.


He comes out with a few things, muttering to himself about RAM and Debian. I dare to ask, "Is my computer going to be okay?" He answers, with a sigh, "It will be different, Mom. Slower. Your resolution will not be the same...(patient explanation of what I didn't know I had and what I will have now)..." He sees the sadness and horror on my face and softens his approach. "Remember how I've been wanting to install Debian for you? I know you're used to Ubuntu and Firefox, but this is better. It's a more static system; they won't keep asking you if you want the new version."


It's a good thing I trust his judgement because I was fighting back tears. "Too much is changing in my life right now. I don't want to have to struggle with a machine." He knew what I was referring to, and in less than ten minutes, the computer was good to go, or so I thought. He suggested I give it a try right away.


That's when, instead of my screensaver of Hugh Jackman as Wolverine with the signature musical announcement from Ubuntu and where the curled up little Firefox used to appear, I was greeted by an iceweasel. So, if my writings have had odd formatting or whatever, I don't blame the iceweasels. I blame myself, for my lack of computer knowledge and my fear of certain unknowns.

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