No, I’m talking about my computer. Really. My laptop hard drive is toast.
It all began last week when Microsoft Word wouldn’t save my document. Out of memory? What? I know I’m close to running out of memory, but how would the computer know that? (Har har.) I worked around the error, rebooted and all was well. Well, except for overall sluggishness, so I ran some PC Doctor utilities (I didn’t even know I had them until then) and defragmented the hard drive (took seven hours). And who would have thought—it seemed fixed!
Seemed. Until yesterday.
12:14 pm Kids eating lunch, I decide to check email. But, odd, what’s that strange clicking noise? A fan? Not the hard drive. Certainly NOT the hard drive.
Flashback to early spring: A refurbished HP desktop, a Christmas gift for my oldest child, and it started acting funny.
Hmmm, that’s a new error message. I’ll reboot and then I’ll get our files backed up just in case.
Since the computer held the only copies of ALL our digital pictures. Yes, I am THAT stupid.
The reboot ended in the Black Screen of Death.
I feel the panic rising as my laptop clicks and churns. I had frantically reinstalled the operating system and cried with joy when our files miraculously survived the crash. I burned backups of everything and a good thing too. The files did not survive the next crash two weeks later. But that was the desktop, the Family computer.
This is my laptop. I won’t let the children breathe on it, I won’t let them look at it or even think about it.
12:18 Kids OK, computer very much not. I abandon the reboot idea and whip out my handy portable CD-RW drive, run upstairs for an archive disk. The last backup was February. February! Don’t I learn? I AM AN IDIOT!!!!
12:25 Wipe up Fish, tell St. Nick to quit messing in the sink already. Drag and drop files to the RW drive. My novels, my essays, my homeschooling files.
12:32 "Nicholas, settle down! Leave your sister alone! Quit jumping on the couch!!!” 12:36 Phone call from husband, I say, “Funny noises, yes, the hard drive, I’m doing a backup of the data, bye.”
12:48 I glance up at a shriek from St. Nick. He’s a foot away, just coming off a flying leap onto the sofa. He lifts his head and blood gushes from his nose over the sofa and onto the floor.
Oh no! I grab towels and once he’s assured he’s not dying (and I am too), and the mess is managed, I hear yet more grinding from the laptop as one of my larger folders gets added to the RW disk.
1:12 It’s well past nap. I grab Fish from the closet (where he’s playing dress-up with the winter coats) and Mud Pie from under an end table. St. Nick remains on the sofa with a paper towel.
1:29 Flurry of diapers, attempt at nursing, babes to bed. I check the Nose Bonker and he’s fine, so back to the files. The Most Important file did not get copied! Oh no! I drag and drop it, then decide to email it to myself, just to be sure. The computer freezes.
1:43 I reboot. All is normal. I try to start Outlook. A blue screen appears and the message: Unknown Hard Disk Error.
I give up my chair to St. Nick, who says using the computer (the Family computer) will make his nose feel better. Sure enough, it does.
Addendum: I will reboot two more times and will retrieve most major files. On the third reboot I will see the Black Screen of Death: No Operating System Found.
Taps will play. I will mourn. It is finished.