Friday, November 30, 2012

Even Better

You may have read about the fellow who died after winning a live cockroach-eating contest. I sent my parents a link to a news article about it and my father spotted that the grand prize was a python and wrote back, “What was the runner-up prize? Two pythons?”

I had noticed that my printer was trying to send through a second sheet even when I printed a one-page document (probably unrelated to pythons in any number). The second, completely unrequested sheet would invariably fail to emerge completely and cause a jam. This seemed like a Googlable symptom, so this past Monday, I did a search and found some instructions.

I am not a particularly handy person. Another thing I did that day was, per the manager of my apartment building, go look under a table in the back yard for a can of paint to use for touching up some things in my kitchen. Needless to say, I’m not going to do this painting myself, and I found just rooting through all the stuff underneath the table a somewhat enervating project. There were so many different kinds of things there, and I cut my finger.

I once had a construction-type job at PG&E when I was young and springy, and I have tools and stuff, but I don’t recall that I ever needed to figure anything out in that job. It seems to me that I received pretty detailed instructions before lifting any tool, so why I would think I would be able to fix a laser printer is a mystery.

But I actually did fix it! Which is so fantastic that it’s almost but not quite worth having spent an unnecessary $429.18—on having Peter “fix” the printer, two 2x4s, superfluous toner, the new printer, toner for the new printer, and expedited shipping.

Monday evening, I had dinner and took a shower and went online and, to make a long story short, took far more of the printer apart than necessary before I found the little thing that was the culprit. I had a picture that showed it clearly, but had to look at it five times before it dawned on me that it matched what I was looking at in real life, and then, just as the website had predicted, I yelled, “Oh my god—that?!?” One person said, “It took me 10 minutes to fix it! And half of that was the time I spent saying, ‘Are you kidding me?’”

The old printer is now working perfectly (even with three screws and a little piece of metal left over). However, to avoid paying double shipping charges, I plan to keep the new printer, which also copies, scans and faxes, and give away the old one.


Under the circumstances, I decided it would be appropriate to get part of my printer-fixing money back after all, and at lunchtime Tuesday walked over to retrieve it. I found Peter hanging around the shop. The cash register man was on the phone, so Peter and I chatted and I told him what I’d done to ungum things. He asked a couple of times, “You bought a new printer?” and I kept assuring him that it was the same old printer. Once the other fellow was off the phone, he cheerfully gave me a partial refund and joked, “Maybe we should have you fix our printer.”

I had to expend a good deal of effort on Wednesday convincing C. that he had not won a fortune in the UK lottery, despite the very official-looking email he’d gotten from a Yahoo address. By the time he first mentioned it to me, he’d already telephoned South Africa, but hadn’t handed over his credit card number or social security number. In his defense, he has little to do with computers, and is innocent of many things familiar to others. I felt bad for him, and for others who are victimized in such ways. Tom says that when his father was in his final years, he fell prey to a scam or two. (I heard on public radio that this is because people become sunnier in outlook as they age, and thus increasingly likely to assume that strangers are lovely and trustworthy people.) 

Now that I’ll be leaving my current job, of course J. has given me a long list of tasks, which all actually sound like fun things to do, but I’m not sure if I’ll be able to get to them, so I’m feeling a bit stressed, also due to the full-blown clothing crisis now underway. While I was visiting Michigan, I ordered some stuff from Lands’ End and LL Bean, because before yesterday I owned precisely two outfits that fit the definition of business casual.
Lisa will be here from Seattle next week and we have drafted an agreement to meet for dinner on Monday, at which the likelihood of my dribbling something colorful and staining down the front of one of my few work blouses is 100 percent. What I need is a professional-looking adult bib, and fortunately, Amazon sells them. At least, they sell adult bibs, and I am going to get some.

The stuff from Lands’ End arrived yesterday, so I tried it all on, and ran down to Sunny Launderette with three blouses to be washed and ironed. I now know what pants and blouse sizes I wear, which of course are not sizes that exist, but precisely between two sizes. In the evening, I saw Brigitte for an emergency haircut and walked home in the lovely, blustery evening, admiring the Christmas lights.
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