Metro-East News

Wally finds home repairs and electronic gadgets don’t mix

Home repairs killed my cell phone and my laptop computer in the same week.

At least the work had a lot to do with it. A couple of weeks ago I wrote about how my garage door had to be painted after I put clean gravel in my driveway and it made the door look bad. Well, after the door was painted, I had to tear the overgrown ivy off the rest of the garage. Turned out it had grown up and onto the roof and was firmly attached.

So I climbed up there to pry it off. For some unknown reason, while I was doing that I put my cell phone in my back pocket, which I hardly ever do. While I was working I was sitting down, for safety, and I shattered the phone screen.

It was still working so I put off replacing it for a few days to avoid the pain of the replacement process. Something always goes wrong.

Later in the week I was having to try to be handy for my wife at the farm in Missouri. While I was working on the cabin, my car — with its broken air conditioner — was parked in the sun. I rolled the windows down to keep it cooler and forgot about it. That night, after many days of no rain, it rained on my computer, which was on the front seat of the car.

I wiped off the computer and fired it up to see if it was working. It eventually came on and worked normally, but when I looked up “damp computers” on my damp computer’s Internet, several websites said not to do what I was doing because it would ruin it.

They were right.

So, after I got back in Belleville I started trying to restore all my electric connections. I had to get my computer back or I couldn’t play the solitaire challenges on Windows. On the other hand, my dead phone at least kept the telemarketers trying to sell me Medicare supplement insurance at bay.

The computer was relatively easy. I went to a store and bought one. The people there even took my dead computer and were able to transfer the data.

My phone insurance company sent me a new phone with instructions on how to activate it. This involved calling a company that does that sort of a thing. The man I talked to was helpful and told me how to turn off and erase my old phone and promised to activate the new one.

“I’ll call you back in about a minute on your new phone,” he said.

He didn’t, so I played solitaire on my new computer for a few hours.

Then I called the company again, on my wife’s phone, because neither of mine was activated. I talked to a nice woman who tried hard to get my phone activated. After 20 minutes or so, she brought in a technician.

My helper apologized but I told her not to worry. “I’m retired. I have all afternoon for this kind of thing,” I said.

After we had a good laugh she said I was facing the dreaded system-is-down problem and to call back in a couple of hours.

So I did and a new guy had me push a bunch of buttons at the same time and the phone sprang to life.

Now I plan to spend my time caring for my new electronics and avoiding dangerous home improvements.

At least that’s the idea.

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