Okay, so here’s the gist of what has been going on this week.
- Florida Writes. This inhuman test of an 8th graders ability to barf an essay onto a piece a paper is a major hassle and an inconsistent way of judging whether or not a student can write. I’ve kids who can write brilliantly if given enough time. I’ve no love for standardized testing though I understand the concept. I would rather go to a portfolio based assessment program, unfortunately, many teachers are too lazy to want to keep up with all that paper and a portfolio system would cost the district more money since someone would have to collect the portfolios and “grade” them. Anyway, the test was on Tuesday and the week leading up to it was so incredibly stressed, I have no words for it. I can say that I am exceptionally proud of my homeroom. For a group of kids that had barely given me an inch all year long, they showed out well on test day. They all planned and all but one of them wrote a full page and most of them wrote front and back - a whole actual essay! We’ll see how their grades turn out in late May, but I am hopeful. Besides, if they do well, my principal is more likely to keep me on in the face of HUGE budget cuts coming down the road.
- Wednesday I got home to pretty crappy news. My non-tech savvy husband managed (and I’m still trying to figure out how) to perform a complete system wipe on my computer. I know it involved one of the cats and the keyboard, beyond that, I’m at a loss, as is he. So, I yelled, screamed, cried, begged the computer gods to wake me up because you see…I did not have a backup. So, I got on the phone, to my tech geek buddy at work who said, “that sounds bad.” And he referred me to a geek company, who said, “Wow? Really? A complete system wipe? Wow. That’s bad.” Then they offered an outrageous fee per hour to attempt (attempt - not guarantee) to recover some (SOME) data. I called my big brother. Still crying, and was informed that “yup, it is bad and really there isn’t much hope.” I believe my big brother. I do. I put faith in his knowledge of computer geekiness but that did not stop me from calling an additional 12 computer repair companies in town to try to get my data back.
So where did this leave me? Well, fearing for his life, Scott slept on the couch after I threw a phonebook at the wall, screamed, “Fuck all this, I’m going to bed” and slammed into the bedroom at 7:00pm. Thursday was not much better. I kept thinking about the lost pictures, the lost stories, the lost everything! I moped through the day, grouching at my students, not yelling at them, but just in a funk and they knew it and for the most part left me be and actually worked. By the time I got home, I was still upset but not mad anymore. After all, Scott didn’t do anything on purpose. It was just something that happened. I made some attempts to get the computer back up in working order and realized that a daunting task lay before me.
My computer was 6+ years old and while in human terms that isn’t very long, in computer terms, my faithful tower should have already been put out to pasture, sent to the great PC pile in the sky. I started in with updates and downloads from Microsoft. Even with high speed internet it took about an hour to download everything. Then I tried to open Word. My product code have been deleted. Yikes! So I called up HP and begged for them to give me my product code so I could reinstall it. The nice foreign lady explained to me that it would cost a nice shiny credit card for them to remotely access my computer and manually input that information. And that it would take up to three - five days and would cost me $56.95 each day! What? I politely declined. By the time Scott got home Thursday night, I was no longer mad or upset, just frustrated with the reality of the situation. I told Scott that I wasn’t mad at him. I was just sad at the loss. He said he was sorry, and that I could blame him all I wanted. Instead I spent a good ten minutes hitting him with a throw pillow. While I felt better afterward, it was kind-of pitiful because he just took it.
That left me Friday to think about what to do. I had already had plans to purchase a new graphic card so that I could play Spore. The more I thought about the amount of money I needed to spend to update the system the more I began to think maybe it would be more cost effective to get a new system. I researched. Which is what I do. And found that graphic cards are expensive. And one that would be compatible with my ancient motherboard was about $200. Yikes! Again.
So, with Scott’s bonus check for making Salesman of the Year, I went out today and purchased a new HP Pavilion desktop for under $650. It was bundled with a flat screen monitor (which is beautiful) and printer (which I didn’t need, but can give to Ashleigh to have in her room). It has about a gazillion GBs of hard drive space (and read that gazillion as 500 GB which is almost 3 times as much as I had before and I hadn't come anywhere near to filling it all up). I brought it home, plugged cords in like mad and was rewarded with a shiny new computer.
So the story ends with a lesson learned - I bought an external, portable hard drive that I will use to religiously back up my files once weekly. A “big” purchase with money that wasn’t slated for anything and that we didn’t account for when budgeting (and really, I’m just doing my part to help the economy!). And a realization that stuff is just stuff. I may have lost photos of my girls, but I still have my girls. I may have lost stories and ideas, but I’m full of ideas and stories (just ask Sara). And one of the reasons (aside from financially) that I hadn’t purchased a new systems was because of the hassle of transferring files. Not a problem now. And what’s more beyond that, I know have the capability to use ALL my Sims expansion packs without crashing the computer or closing 30 background tasks while I play!
So, live more, learn more, take more pictures, play more Sims, write more stories, rip more music…and apologize to the husband for yelling at him because, of course, I should know better than to not have back-ups!