Lori Pickens

The ups and downs of the daily grind


The last couple of days have really felt like a rollercoaster ride at times. Monday was kind of a crappy day, but then some things got better on Tuesday. Just feels like everything is so up and down.

First off, Monday as I was waiting for my mom to pick me up after work, she calls and says that the jeep is not where she parked it. I asked if she was sure she remembered where she parked it, because ever since she took her new job at the other building, she doesn’t have a consistent parking spot anymore. She assured me she was at the right place and that one of her new co-workers was on vacation and offered to let mom use her spot for the week. She said there was a sign in the front of the parking lot indicating where cars would be towed to, so she said she would try calling them and see if they knew anything about the situation. I told her I would go ahead and start walking her way. So in my high heels and with all of my bags (purse, gym bag, lunchbox, etc.), I start the trek over to the other parking lot. I get to the Southern Parking lot, and my mom is nowhere to be found. I call her back, and ask where she is. Apparently the spot she was using was in the RCDI lot, so I continue my trek up there. She calls the towing company and sure enough they have her jeep. Mom explained that she had permission to park in the spot and asked why she was towed. The towing company said his guess would be that sometimes the owner of the lot does spot checks and if the car doesn’t match what they have record they have it towed. We were both livid. Not only were we now going to have to pay to get mom’s jeep back, but we were without a way home and I was supposed to meet my running group at 5:30. Thankfully my entire family works at Public Debt, and Nathan happened to be working until 6pm that night. Mom calls my dad and told him to meet her at my house, and we begin the final leg of my long walk up to the other parking lot where Nathan’s jeep is. Mom quickly runs me by my house, while I half change in the car, half when I actually get to my house, and then drops me off at the park to run. I’m still not sure how we made it on time, but we did ? just barely. Mom and Dad take Nathan’s jeep back to him, so he has a way home and then go over to pick up mom’s jeep from the towing place. We were all still pretty frustrated about the situation, but our anger subsided a little when we found out that the spot mom was supposed to be in was 113, and she had parked in 131. Doesn’t make the situation any less frustrating, but makes us feel better that the towing company was called because someone complained and not because of random spot checks. I still find the price that the towing company charged a little ridiculous considering they only towed the jeep a half mile, and they charge a day’s holding fee when we know they didn’t have the jeep longer than an hour or two.

Despite all the chaos, I did make it to my running group on time. We ran seven miles, and even though I finished it at a pretty good pace, I really didn’t feel that strong when I was running. Plus, my friend Kyla was about five minutes late getting to the park and missed the group.

So, after the towing incident and my long, hot run, I finally get home. I had planned to do some scrapbooking on the computer to unwind from the day. Problem was my monitor was a plain, black screen. I checked all the connections, made sure everything was plugged in correctly, rebooted stuff ? nothing!. At this point, I wasn’t sure if something was wrong with the monitor or if something was wrong with the PC, but either way it made me seriously depressed. I had people waiting on CDs of pictures from me. I’m now on two scrapbook Creative Teams, and was really dreading the idea of having to tell them my layouts wouldn’t be ready on time because I had no computer! Thankfully though, I am a computer geek. Granted, I am a software computer geek and not a hardware expert, but computer geeks have computer geek friends, and with their help I was able to figure things out. First, I got an extra cord, so I could hook the monitor up to my laptop and check to see if it was the problem or not. The monitor was fine, so I turned my suspicion the video card. Even though I just replaced the video card or year or so ago, I was almost hoping it was the video card and not something worse. Again, at this point, I was more concerned with how long it was going to take me to get the computer fixed than how much it was going to cost, and with all the frustrations I have had with Dell waiting on my laptop to get here, I didn?t even want to think about having to order a whole new PC! So the plan was to buy a new video card, and hope that was the problem. I had just accepted that fact that if that wasn’t the problem I was going to have to eat the costs of the new video card and continue my search when my co-worker mentioned that he had an extra video card that he had salvaged from an older computer. We weren’t sure if it was the same size, but he said I was more than welcome to try it. I took it home and opened up the PC. It was the same size, so I replaced the video card, hooked everything back up, and said a little prayer as I pressed the power button. I was pretty excited when I saw the Dell boot screen on my monitor.

Here’s a picture of my old video card that my co-worker took with his camera phone. The fibers you see sticking out of the gray capacitors aren’t supposed to be there. It looks to us like the heat-sink (the big black square) on the card got too hot and basically cooked the capacitors. My new video card has an on-board fan, so hopefully this will be avoided in the future.


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