Blue Screen of DEATH!!!

BWAHAHAHAAA! It's appropriate that the scariest of all scary things happened in October.

Some background: I'm the "designated computer person" in our household. I set them up, I install programs, I do backups, I fix them when they break ... Except, I don't know anything about computers! And I don't even like them!

A little more background: Two-plus years ago my brother gave us a desktop computer (HE is a true computer person), one he'd refurbished from someone else. We liked it, St. Nick learned to use the mouse, he played Starfall. A lot.

But then the computer acted funny. I rebooted it. But it didn't boot (lame computer joke: Boot and Reboot went out in a boat; Boot fell in so who was left? Reboot...). I got a blue screen with an error message. Some, apparently important file was missing. Huh? Dear Brother talked me through reinstalling the operating system (when his other suggestions didn't work). And then I reinstalled the wireless card, the anti virus, the kids' software, the grown-up software. Sadly, we'd lost our tax files. Anyway, it took me about three days (there's a biblical parallel there, I know). And, we were back in the saddle for a month, until ...

It broke again. The blue screen again. I fixed it on my own this time. It took me a mere four-ish hours.

I did this three more times before finally unplugging the thing and giving it back to my brother.

Then we bought a brand new desktop, a Dell. So, now we're out of background and into the story (can you guess it?).

St. Nick is older now - six, not four - and he is good at getting around on the computer. Really good. And he's curious. Reeeeely curious. As soon as I caught him typing "butt" into the Google search bar, I changed the homepage. But it got worse. Mud Pie's two-hour nap became the "sacred hours;" the computer hours. Sadly, St. Nick was constantly, constantly shunning educational sites for arcade-style games. This made him over-stimulated and me loony, not to mention guilty. I took the navigation bar away, and emptied out the history, and I tried to institute "No Screen" days. But St. Nick is determined and an expert complainer. I'd offer to read to him; we'd do crafts. But he'd sit though the story (fidget through it, more like) or slap some paint on the paper, and he'd say, "Ok, I'm done. Can I use the computer now?"

I am a weak, weak woman.

What should happen last Friday? St. Nick and Little Fish were having a battle over whether we'd do Starfall first (for Fish) or Pharaoh's Tomb (hey! It's Egyptian! We studied Egypt! C'mon!) for St. Nick and I sent them both downstairs to, gasp, watch PBS. The computer had locked up during the skirmish, so I turned it off. When I went to turn it back on a while later, the blue screen. The "A Very Important File is Missing or Corrupt! Contact Your System Administrator Now!" screen.

My first response: "BUT I AM THE SYSTEM ADMINISTRATOR!" Horror, flashbacks, until I decided to box the thing up and take it to my brother. HE could fix the thing. After all, he owed me.

That problem solved, and "Sorry Bub, the computer's broken," message to St. Nick, I started thinking ... What if we didn't get it fixed? Or, rather, we got it fixed but gave it a new home, like in someone else's home? No more Starfall battles, no more "I'm BORED! I'm so B-R-D BORED!" when I turn it off. The solution seemed so simple. A financial loss, but we did get two year's use out of it. And we already had someone in mind who'd be eager to buy it.

My horror changed to gratitude. Not just for the Blue Screen of Death, but for all the blue screens (of death, I mean) I'd seen in the past two years. Without that aggravation and lost time (which is far worse for me than lost money), I would likely have seen this current crash as a blip on the screen. We'd have downtime; we'd be up and running again soon (I had the computer built with a second back-up hard drive, so all our settings and files are sitting there, waiting ...). But all those times of fixing and fixing and fixing just so the appetite of a six-year-old boy could be sated, well, it had turned me against the glorified game box. And that was the first step toward breaking free.

Really, it's me cackling, "BWAHAHAHAAAA!" Because, finally, we've vanquished you, computer monster!