Monthly Archives: April 2014

Control “P”… for Pissed!

The usual “print operation command”, Control P has changed somehow on my computer. Maybe that last Microsoft update?  Just printing out more than a page is turning this aspiring writer, normally a mild mannered and patient computer user, into a whiny one, who spent hours researching online complaints on printer websites with no results. Now when I press the control key in conjunction with the P key… the only result is that I get pissed!

Mondays usually feel so optimistic, but then the rest of the week happens! Today felt as thought I was off to a great start. I went to my weekly EPIC Group Writers. This is always an inspirational event for me.  We do a timed writing exercise, based on a starter phrase to get our creative juices flowing.

After I left my writing group I felt inspired and focused; ready to begin a week full of great writing.  I took a look at the memoir Monday e-mail which further inspired me to write.  But shoot, I need to schedule an extra DART ride for Nick this week.  Oh yes, I also need to print out a paper invoice copy from Quick Books for his gig this afternoon.

Doing anything with Quick Books is an exercise in frustration these days.  Since the upgrade in 2013, the program has been more difficult to use than ever.  A simple task like finding and printing an invoice for customer turns it into a 15 minute exercise of opening, closing and backtracking through sections of files in the program.  Finally, I locate the correct invoice and push print.

Oh Crap!  I still have issues with the printing program on this computer. It has been a while since I have had the occasion to hit the control button and the P key! I actually avoid, when at all possible, the act of printing out a paper and ink copy of any document.  Trees are being saved… you understand, don’t you? Earth Day is just right around the corner. Emailing around the “PDFs” of a document is truly so much easier and certainly more economical too! Have you priced any printer ink cartridges lately? Wow, I should have bought stock in the company. They practically give away the printers, knowing that they will make back their money tenfold… on the ink!

Currently my computer system will only print one job time. After the first document group cycles through the system, I have choices to make before I can execute another print job.

If I look at the icon in my system tray, it tells me the printer is busy… printing out the job I just executed. Problem is that nothing is actually happening. Why is my computer telling me this giant lie? Clearly there are no pages showing up in the plastic tray beneath the printer. I have been told that computers use pure logic when processing information, so in theory a computer should not be able to tell a falsehood. Maybe I have discovered a new breed of processor! Tempting as it may be to announce this discovery to the World Wide Web… I must first print that invoice.

I pull up Task Manager, and find a line, called Job Status Windows Interface, which is process that I need to cancel.  If I do this step the printer will spring to life and spit out the pages of the job that’s been hanging in the La La Land of the print queue.  Sometimes after searching through the Task Manager, looking for the particular process to cancel and not spotting it quickly, I run out of patience!  It’s easier just to restart the dang computer.

At these times, I really regret my recent purchase of a case of extra large ink cartridges.  They are little, over packaged plastic units and cost almost as much as the printer did. I now have a box full of used and ready to recycle; black ink and individual colors of red, green and blue too. Every so often a pop-up window intrudes into my line of vision on the computer’s screen. It implores me to visit on the company’s website where I could of course purchase more ink cartridges, to return and recycle.

I originally purchased this unit because it was a “high volume ink printer” and more ecologically friendly than the other brands I’d been researching.  This printer has turned into a “high volume” stress inducing piece of equipment! Any savings on printer ink costs have been eclipsed by the increase in my wine purchases for consumption after each printing project is completed!

The manufacturer’s Customer Service has been no help at all.  In fact at one point they stated the problem exists because of a Microsoft update.  They suggested that the wrong print driver had been part of that upload last month. But it came from Microsoft and not from the manufacturer of the printer, so not their problem!  They had no a solution for how to remove this errant line of code which creates a logjam of printing tasks, waiting to be printed each time I turn on my computer.

When those ink cartridges are all used up… I will gleefully take this useless contraption to RE PC.  This facility is handy for recycling old computers and other obsolete electronic equipment.  I hope I can keep my sanity until I use up all of that ink!  It seems these cartridges will only fit this one printer! How wasteful to indulge in trashing the printer before I can recoup the investment in black ink. Maybe it is time to print a first draft of the 300 page novel.

Patience does not run in my family.  My youngest son recently visited and needed to print out copies of some forms he needed for a job application.  I was not here to observe his process but he seemed to figure out turning on and off the computer was a way to get his documents to print.  When I later looked at the printer icon, I started to laugh.  There were several documents waiting to be printed in the queue.  Apparently he did remember what I told him regarding the task manager step.

After struggling with this issue again today, I decided… it would be more satisfying to simply drive to the landfill and heave this printer into the abyss.  After I use up all of those black ink cartridges or maybe find my COSTCO receipt… they will take back almost anything!

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Stunning Surprise!

“Surprise” This chorus of cries came from folks who’d been crouching in the darkness, awaiting my arrival, for quite some time apparently.

I almost dropped the two bags of groceries on the floor, so great the shock of seeing many of my family members and friends jump out from behind the island in our kitchen.  It was three days before my actual birthday, so this was the last thing I expected when I opened the door that led from my garage into our home.

“Wow!” was all I could utter, as I fumbled with the cloth bags and tried to take stock of what I was seeing. I had not noticed that the shades were all closed on our front windows. Nor had I noticed any additional cars on the street. Hubby had asked them to park around the corner.

“Oh you guys! This is truly amazing! How long have you been here?”

I’d just returned from a long series of errands that evening and I was running late. Fifteen minutes earlier, I’d phoned Hubby to ask what he’d like for dinner, given that I was coming home much later than I’d anticipated  I was too tired to cook.

He assured me there was no need to stop. “We have plenty of leftovers that I can prepare. How soon will you be home? I will start warming up food, right now”.

I’d just returned from a three week trip to Brussels and was craving Mexican Food in a big way. I suggested “Fish tacos! There is still a lot of that Red snapper from last night.  I will stop and get some of the hard shells on my way home, Okay?”

“Oh no, no need to stop at all, I bought some tortillas last week when I made dinner for our son. Just come right on home and food will be ready when you get here. You must be starved.”

He sounded so sweet.  I should have known something was up.Hubby hates leftovers! Especially if it is is a repeat from the day before! How could I not have known?

Earlier that afternoon I missed another clue!  Hubby swept and mopped the floors… without my even suggesting! My 60th birthday was coming up the middle of the next week.  I’d mentioned splurging on The Maids ™ to come to do a bit of “deep cleaning” before the party I was planning for myself.  I was pleasantly surprised when he hopped up and said he wanted to try out our new Dyson sweeper on the upstairs rooms.

Usually it is we women who clean and tidy up before the maids arrive. Men are like… “Cool! Bring it on!”  They suffer no embarrassment what so ever at having total strangers see their dirt and clutter!

I was feeling a bit of jet lag and had flopped on the bed to cuddle with our dogs.  I savored a few horizontal minutes before heading out to drive our son to two different music gigs that afternoon.  I had shopping for some essentials planned at stores close to both of his gig locations. My efficiency truly exhausted rather than exhilarated me.   Saturday afternoon traffic in Seattle was amazingly smooth and a gift I gladly accepted in my efforts to get back home and horizontal once again.

Back to my shocking surprise; I kept marveling at how smoothly my hubby hid all of this from me. I truly had no clue!

When our son chuckled “Enjoy your little party” as he left the car at our last stop, I supposed he’d meant the party I was planning for the actual day of my 60th. He’d known I was shopping for food to be used for that event.  He’d been sworn to secrecy by my hubby…but his Aspergers syndrome got the better of him.  He just could not resist blurting out this secret. Hubby had mentioned several times during the previous weeks, that this was a “Surprise for Mom!” We are not going to tell her about this party, OK?”  Luckily I was still in a funk from flying across the pond and it didn’t penetrate the deep fog of my consciousness.

My hubby was so stealthy that he’d even made a trip to the local Good Will and purchased some inexpensive storage containers. He feared that I’d get suspicious if I noticed that some of my Tupperware® was missing in action. Yes, I am just a bit OCD about my plastic bowls, I admit it.  I’ve been known to hound my kids to get back those pale blue square containers I’ve packed with surplus from a family meal. They swear I have cards on file, like the library, to track them down.

A window of time while I was at the club the evening before the party was utilized by Hubby to prepare most of the party fare.  He even stored all this food in the spaciously empty fridge at our youngest son’s nearby home.  The youngest was also in charge of the cake. He picked a wonderfully decadent chocolate number from the Stone Cold Creamery which was stored in the freezer at his place.

As soon as my car backed out of the drive, they all swung into action. Some of my girl friends were part of the plot! Hubby has my old Droid phone. He had their phone numbers and three whole weeks while I was out of the country, to get all the plans in place.

He was a bit worried initially when he received my email note on the “Day at Home” birthday party I was planning for my 60th.  I knew I’d be spent from my travels. In addition I was facing another out of town gig the following weekend, with our musical performer son. The Southern tradition of having an “at home” day truly appealed for this big birthday celebration!

Distraction with plans for my own event aided Hubby’s execution of his stealthy soiree. He pulled off a “surprise” party that rivaled some of my best efforts!

In fact, for his mother’s 60th I had sent her an invitation to come to our home for an Art Party.  All of her girlfriends were in on the deception. We’d even managed to keep this off my father in law’s radar screen. The look of shock on her face when greeted with shouts of ” Happy Birthday” at our front door was absolutely priceless!  “I do not know what to say to you!” was all she could muster as she stood staring into our home. I was delighted that I’d managed to pull off this party.

Looking at the big grin on his face, I am sure my hubby felt a similar thrill as I swooned at the gathering in our kitchen.ChocCake

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