Full Circle: Doing Battle With Murphy’s Law

Why is it that when you plan something very extravagant, like a trip to Italy, everything else imaginable breaks down? Does subliminal guilt about spending money create a bad karma in the house? Or is it just plain ol’ Murphy’s Law where everything that can go wrong, will go wrong?

My husband and I have tried to find some humor about all of the things that have broken around our house, but we aren’t laughing yet. First, the television screen went blank, although that didn’t seem like such a big deal—at least to me. For my husband, it was a crisis of major proportions. The pool pump was the next to go. Try finding a pool repairman at the height of a hot, humid Florida summer!

I know we’re not talking about household necessities, but that quickly changed. A few days later, our garage floor got an unexpected cleaning when the hot water heater sprang a leak. A simple repair wasn’t enough—a brand new water heater became an immediate necessity after several mornings of cold showers. The next thing to stop working was our coffee pot, which was a crisis to me. I needed a cup of warm java to restore my body temperature after all those cold showers.

The absolute worst breakdown, however, occurred one rainy Sunday afternoon just as I was trying to meet a writing deadline. Yep, my computer. I thought it had contracted a virus despite updated protection, but the diagnosis was even worse. “Sorry, this can’t be fixed,” said a Geek Squad agent when he opened the tower with the skill of a surgeon and announced that a diode had “fried.”

My heart was pounding. I had hoped my Windows XP computer would outlast the marketing of the Windows Vista Operating System. I’d heard and read all those Vista horror stories, and I planned to skip ahead to Windows 7, which is being released later this month. No such luck, though, as I had to scramble to find a replacement computer within my ever-shrinking budget. The Geek guy tried half-heartedly to convince me that Vista really wasn’t so bad. Never mind that a recent PCWorld.com survey said 59 percent of the respondents who used Vista hated it.

Luckily, I had backed-up my old computer, so reinstalling software was the least of my problems. However, getting the printer and Internet to work was another story. Those of you who have used Vista know that many older peripherals—like printers and routers—are not compatible. I, on the other hand, did not realize this until the computer was out of the box, and I was battling tangled cords like a professional snake handler.

A recent study of centenarians by Evercare (part of UnitedHealthcare), shows that “embracing techie trends” keeps brain cells young and healthy. After figuring out how to add security codes on a new wireless router and searching for documents in the vast wilderness known as Vista, my brain cells are returning to near-adolescence. And there’s nothing like reconstructing an iTunes library on an iPod to keep you mentally spry.

Yes, Murphy’s Law still reigns at my house, with gadgets and gizmos dropping left and right like flies, but downloading a new operating system should keep me mentally fit for a while longer. At least I can take comfort in knowing that my brain cells should outlast them all.

Enjoy the issue,

Mary Ann

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