Tuesday, August 24, 2010

I'm Back On The Ball Again!

........the trackball, that is. If you have been following my blog, then you know that my trackball mouse bit the dust about a week ago, and I have been risking carpel tunnel syndrome, moving a wireless optical mouse all over hell's half acre, in an attempt to keep up with my 24"I-Mac screen. That's a lot of territory to cover with a standard mouse. A standard mouse pad is not anywhere large enough to get from one corner of the screen to the next, so you have to pick the mouse up a couple of times, and go back to the starting point to get the cursor to cover the the entire screen. It's so much easier with a trackball. You can keep your hand stationary, and just spin the ball in any direction with your thumb!

When I bought my mother's I-Mac for her, I bought her a Logitech TrackMan Wheel to go along with her's too, but as the saying goes, you can't teach an old dog new tricks. She was confounded by this simple little device. She kept trying to move it, to get the cursor to move. I said, "Mom, you don't have to move the mouse, you only need to glide your thumb over that little red ball. ", but she just couldn't get the gist of it. She was so used to a standard mouse, that it seemed counter intuitive to her, when it was just the opposite for me.

Now in defense of my mother, she is no spring chicken. The old girl will be 90 years old on January 1st. She bought her 1st computer, a bottom of the line Hewlett Packard around the turn of the century. No......not the one in 1900! She's not that old! Besides, if she bought a computer back in 1900, she would have had to buy it out of the back of a tricked up DeLorean!

It seems that all of her sisters and friends were getting computers, so she had to have one too! Never mind that when she got her first digital microwave, she didn't know how to set the timer on it, because it didn't have a rotary dial. She never really learned how to take full advantage of her computer. She had a slow dial-up connection, and with effort she learned how to access her email account, but that's about as far as it went. She read a whole lot more emails than she ever sent. I was flabbergasted one day, when I actually received an email from her. She couldn't contact me by phone, so she actually typed out a message, and sent it to me. My sister was there to help her. It was the one and only email she ever sent to me.

Eventually her HP PC died, and impulsively, she stopped by a nearby Radio Shack, and bought a cheap Toshiba laptop. She had absolutely no idea what she was buying, and didn't have a clue as to what to do with it! I said, "Mom, you will never be happy with that. It's totally different from what you had, and it's ergonomically incorrect for your computer desk, and it will make you back hurt to use it from the chair you sit in." I said, "Take it back to Radio Shack, and I will get you a very nice computer to set on your computer desk. " A week later I brought her a brand new I-Mac, and we got her hooked up with a cable connection, that gave her high speed internet, phone, and TV. But because her new email program had a slightly different configuration than what she was used to, it confused her. I told her that all email programs are virtually the same, with just a few slight differences, and I tried to give her lessons, but she would just get bored and would lose attention. One time she just got up and walked out of the room, as I was trying to explain something to her! I couldn't believe it! Was this the same woman, who grilled me with flash cards non-stop, in an effort to teach me math, when I was 8 years old, and refused to allow me to stop until I got them all right? I wondered if now, she finally realized how I felt way back then!

She never did learn how to access the internet, or her email account, and occasionally asks my sister or me to log into her account, so she can see pictures of great nieces an nephews sent to her. I did load a great CD with a lot of card games on it for her however, and she has learned to access that! She loves to play bridge with some of the virtual characters embedded in the game.

My! How I digress!

I drove into the west end of Richmond today. A suburban community called Short Pump, to be exact. I was running out of five gallon bottles of water. I usually buy four of them a month. I have a well, but in the past few years, I have been noticing tiny specs of some kind of an oily substance floating on top of the water, whenever I would fill a glass. Not a whole lot of oil, just a tiny speck or two. I have no idea what it is, but I don't trust drinking it. Sometimes I wonder if it's just a bit of vegetable oil, squirted into someone's well, by the folks who are always leaving fliers in our mailboxes, advertising well water sampling, in and effort to sell filtration systems. Since all of our wells are drilled down into the same aquifer, I would imagine putting a substance into one well would cause it to migrate to other wells down stream. Who knows? Am I just getting paranoid in my old age, or is my distrust of business justified, by the countless scams of snake oil salesmen over the years?

Once I got into Short Pump, I stopped first at Best Buy, to pick up a new trackball mouse. They must have moved their stock around, since the last Time I was there, because I searched high an low, before I finally found it on the very last shelf I looked at in the computer section! I took it up front to pay for it and as usual, out of 12 registers, only one was open! I was the sixth person in a line, that was going nowhere. It seems that the guy behind the counter was having difficulties. He had to call on the resources of another clerk, who also seemed to be having difficulties! One man in front of me was there to purchase gift card, and he got so fed up, he just tossed the card on top of a drink cooler at the back end of the checkout counter, and walked out of the store! About five minutes later with no progress, another clerk opened up another register, and immediately she had problems too! It seems the customer held up his I-Phone, and showed her an internet ad with a price below what she was trying to charge him. So I waited some more, until the clerk helping out the guy at the 1st register came by, looked at the guy's I-Phone, and said "Yeah, it's OK." When my turn came up, I just pulled out a wad of cash to make it simple. I wanted out of there as quickly as possible, and didn't want any silly fumbling over credit or debit cards, or ID's.

On from there to Lowe's, to get my five gallon jugs of water. While inside I spied a nifty little 2000 watt generator for a little over $500.00. I was tempted to get it. It would be all I need to run my lights, fridge, TV and computer, when a storm takes out my power. I decided to pass this time, but I am seriously considering going back and getting one, while they still have them. I saw it last year, and regretted not getting one, when my power was knocked out for several days during last winter's snow storms. Hurricane season is ramping up now, so who knows what will happen in the next couple of months? And if last winter is any indication of what's in store for us this year, a generator will surely be needed! I can just plug it into my outside receptacle, and back feed one side of my power panel. The use of extension cords may be necessary to power up the right appliances on the other side of the panel, but since it will only be temporary, that's OK.

Leaving Lowe's, it was onto the new mega Kroger store. At twice the size of the Kroger it replaced a half a mile down the road, it was huge! I only had a few things to get, but I seemed to find them relatively easily for a big new store, and I made my way through the self checkout with ease. The parking lot was quite full when I pulled in, so I was expecting a rush hour nightmare, but
the store was so huge, that it didn't seem crowded at all.

I found some lovely red wine while there, called Bota Box Malbec. I had never heard of Malbec before, but it is quite good! The label states: "With a violet color and floral aromas, our medium bodied Malbec has lush flavors of Blackberry, and Raspberry which develop throughout its long finish."..... I quite concur!

OK.......I know I am probably showing my age here, but I'm going to take you back to the days of Disco. Screw anyone who ever told you that the Disco era was crap. It was not! The Disco era produced a lot of very fun, soulful music. Boz Scaggs' album, Silk Degrees was one of my favorites, back then. I think it was released in 1976. The whole album is great, if you ever have a mind to listen to it, but here are just a few of numbers from that album: What Can I Say.......What Do You Want The Girl To Do? .....and........Lowdown.

A big hug to all!
Melissa XX



Amy K. said...

Ahh, there it is. When I tried to leave a comment earlier, it said the post was "no longer available." I'm glad it was temporary. :)

Hey, I like when you digress. I can really imagine the scene(s) of mom vs. computer, and it really got me rolling!

What's funny is that I self-taught myself to use a mouse, and I learned it backward. I turn it around so that when I move it up and it goes down. I move it right and it goes left. Like firing thrusters in a zero-gravity environment. I just can't use it any other way! I wonder if one can reverse the settings of a trackball to move this way? If not, then I suppose I'm better off with a smaller screen and a standard mouse.

I remember my father running his generator during Hurricane Gloria. I think I was in high school? We were so bored that we rented VHS tapes from the library, and he hooked up the VCR and TV so we could watch them. I don't know the wattage or whatever, but the only other thing I think he ran on it was the refrigerator. Once it started getting dark, TV time would be over so he could hook up some lights to see by. Fun times. :)

Short Pump. What an odd name for a town...

Caroline said...

Melissa If you have a "wad" of cash you could put a simple filter cartridge inline just for drinking like I did when our water changed from highland mountain to scummy bore hole with added bleach!

Comes out almost as good as the old stuff now.

Buy the generator now! I will be looking for a stand alone heater as soon as I see a slightly positive number in the account.

Caroline xxx

Rachel said...

A few years ago when I was more of a "World Traveller" for my job one of my favorite things was shopping. I'm not talking about visiting twee gift shops in tourist hot spots, I mean visiting supermarkets :-). I love to wander the aisles looking to see what sort of different things are popular there. Few things (beyond staying with a local family) bring you closer to a countries way of life that this in my opinion.
Reading of your shopping escapades reminded me of this.

Rachel XXX

Halle said...

Digressions rock! :P

Good thing you had some cash for that high tech store and it's low tech checkout. hehe.

Ninety is getting on, that is for sure. Don't feel bad about her problems with learning how to log on and so forth. My mom and dad were in their seventies and refused to even get a computer. It's tough as you suggest when you think of the stuff they taught us and we can't reciprocate.

The generator idea is great. We have a '5000' for up here in the wilds of Canada. It is handy to power up all of the stuff you mentioned along with the water pump and the furnace; just a thought. When you hook it up, make sure you 'pull' the main breaker so your backfeed doesn't zap some poor guy in the electric company trying to fix the lines.


Elly said...

By all means get the generator and get an outlet wired right into the service panel. Ours is a 5.5K model and it will run everything except the AC and the hot water heater. Being on a well (with great water) it is essential to have power during a hurricane.

One of my favorite disco albums is The Best of Blondi, and then there is Barry White....
Hugs, Elly

The Crossdresser's Girlfriend said...

I never liked the ball but I'm so pleased that you found one to your liking. And disco never sucked. I still like mad doses of it!!!

Anonymous said...

I too, love the trackball mouse. Mine had a much larger ball in it though...about the size of a cue-ball. I really liked it better than the thumb only ball like the one you posted, because you have the added control of your other fingers on the other side of the ball...very fast and precise. I haven't seen a good one like it for awhile though.

I think investing in a generator is a great idea. I've considered it myself many times...it's just that $1k bill I don't like too much. Maybe I'm just setting my sights to high. I had a Honda generator for years because I needed it for my work quite often. When I changed jobs, I sold it to increase the size of my downpayment on a new car. Now I wish I had it back every time the power goes off.

Why don't you take a sample of your well water and have it tested?...put your mind at ease, or at least confirm you suspicions.

Oh yeah...and Boz Scaggs was great!