Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Mr. P Saves the Day

Awhile back, and when I say "awhile," I mean like months and months and months ago, I bought an Apple Time Machine to back up my computer.

I realized, you know, that if we had to evacuate in a hurry, I would lose everything, because I can't exactly hand carry a gigantic iMac as I flee the country in the dead of night. Not that I'm planning to evacuate, but in the Foreign Service, you just never know. And so you're always supposed to be prepared. The only time we actually had to evacuate from a post, we were given just a few short hours. My husband told me to start packing in the middle of the night, and by the time the sun rose, we were on a plane.

(Let that be a lesson to you, Foreign Service friends. Be ready. The post we left in a hurry wasn't one from which you'd picture an emergency evacuation. But there we were, trying to decide what to bring and what to leave behind. Back up your computer. Scan your photos, your report cards, your kids' artwork. Have a file folder with all of your important papers, insurance cards, cash and passports on your shelf. Be ready. Because you never know.)

So right. Be ready. I needed a plan, and the Time Machine was it. All of my Mac friends swear by it. So I bought one.

And it sat on the kitchen counter for practically ever, still in the box, backing up exactly zero percent of my valuable documents.

Right around the time Bart left, I bribed my friend CL with the promise of dinner if he'd come set it up for me so I wouldn't have to think about it. Lo and behold, he agreed to try. So while I roasted chicken and the kids watched a movie, he sat in the office and tried to set it up.

Tragically, however, he couldn't set it up because he needed a password for the router, which I didn't have and couldn't get. He left without finishing, but promised to come back and try again if I could track down the router password. Also if I got better at making chicken. Bygones.

Then he took Shay to the States, and the Time Machine sat there next to the computer, taunting me with its utter lack of back-up-ability. Until this past weekend, that is, when I had a brilliant idea: why not just reset the router to its factory settings and start over? It was a brilliant idea! Foolproof, even!


When I sat down to try it on Saturday morning, it killed the internet. Killed it dead.

I frowned. I cursed. I sulked. I hit all sorts of buttons, and restarted all sorts of machines, but I could not get the internet to come back to life. The kids sensed my stress. Especially Aidan, who immediately realized that without the internet, there would be no skyping his dad that evening.

(Aside: we've already started out first UT tradition: "Saturday Skype n Sushi." I order take out sushi, Bart drags some food home from the cafeteria in Baghdad, and we skype dinner together. Win-win: Bart gets to watch the kids fight at the dinner table, and I get sushi.)

If I couldn't fix the internet, there would be no Saturday Skype n Sushi. Correction: There would be no Skype. But there would still be Sushi. Because, hello, I was having a Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day. Clearly I needed the sushi.

Anyway. It was a whole day of misery and frustration, for me, for the kids, for Bart. About every 12.7 seconds, Aidan would ask "Is it fixed yet?" followed by "How are we going to Skype daaaad?????" It was painful.

Late Saturday night, however, I remembered my friend Mrs. P's immortal words, spoken the day Bart departed: "If you ever need anything, let me know. I have a guy."

So I texted Mrs. P (she of Huffington Post fame): I killed the internet. Any chance I can borrow your guy?

Within minutes, the guy himself, Mr. P, texted back and said he'd come over right after work on Sunday.

Sure enough, the doorbell rang at 5:30 on Sunday, and in walked Mrs. P with her guy. Also with wine. Seriously. Don't you wish you had friends like mine?

I offered them no dinner. I offered them no snacks. I think there were still a few mangled cherries and carrots on the table, left over from the kids' dinner. But otherwise: nothing. Because I am a terrible friend sometimes. Also because who can think about cooking when the internet is dead? Nobody, that's who. I don't know how Ma Ingalls did it, truly I don't.

Mrs. P and I sat in the living room drinking wine while Mr. P sat in the office, doing his thing and occasionally answering Aidan, who asked every 14 seconds "is it fixed yet? Can I call my dad yet?"

Mr. P might perhaps be the most patient man in the universe.

It took him a couple of hours, which was okay by me, because wine! But he fixed the internet, Mr. P did. And that is why I am typing this ode to Mr. and Mrs. P today. Because they are awesome. And because I have the internet, so I can blog again.

Seriously. This is why I wanted to stay here in Jordan while Bart served his time in Baghdad. Because these are the kinds of friends I have here. Who would want to leave people like Mr. and Mrs. P?

Except for one teensy problem.

Mr. P is getting ready to retire from the military, which means that any minute now, he and Mrs. P will move back to America and become civilians. Mrs. P actually leaves post in three short days, and if you ask me, which she didn't, this is incredibly selfish of her. I mean, where am I supposed to get my wine from? And what if I need a guy?

I will miss Mr. and Mrs. P. They are truly special people, and I don't say that about just anybody.

So here's where you come in. Are you a religious type? A wisher-upon-stars? A finger-crosser? A Facebook-linker? Mr. P is transitioning to the civilian world after a long career in the military. And he is moving back to the States, not knowing yet what job awaits him there. That could be just a wee bit stressful, wouldn't you agree? But he is smart, and kind, and patient, and hard-working, and everything you'd want in an employee, as is his wife.

So say your prayers. Wish upon your stars. Cross your fingers. Link to this on your Facebook page. Whatever it is you do, do it today. And tomorrow and the day after that. Send all of your best thoughts their way as they make this transition. I, for one, am hoping that the universe throws something wonderful their way, to pay them back for all of the good deeds they've done through their lifetime traveling the globe for our military. If karma is indeed a boomerang, then they deserve to get hit with something pretty spectacular in the coming months.

I'm going to miss you, Mr. and Mrs. P.


Deborah said... [Reply]

What city is he moving to, and what kind of a job does he want to get?

Deborah said... [Reply]

P.S., yay for internet and wine!

Popster said... [Reply]

Surely with all the internet privacy these days, the receiver of requests, and prayers, might have a hard time knowing which Mr & Mrs P would be needing a nudge. Surely there is more than one couple in this world with a name beginning with P. With that caveat I'll try my best.

JWJones said... [Reply]

Having just dealt with an almost dead computer I can feel your pain and can also comprehend that my pain is nothing compared to being in Jordan when your computer is dead. Bless you, your family, and Mr. and Mrs. P. If they come to the Los Angeles area, let me know...

Emily Cerveny said... [Reply]

I have been reading you blog for over a year now, just following along, and loving your "take on things", and I was ashamed to read the comments in the Huff Post article. Those people- ugh! why does everyone has to compare? You are living a lifestyle that your family chose- BUT, it is just as necessary as a military family, and they are very similar. I give props to you all, especially your resilient children. I secretly cheer every time you forget something, or you mess things up. It makes me feel so much better, because sadly, I forget things, and mess things up and I am in the middle of Iowa- with a glorious Target not even ten minutes from my house! Seriously- best of luck to you all as you learn your "new reality". there are plenty of us here in the US cheering you guys on from the sidelines! :)

Donna said... [Reply]

@Deborah - I'll email you later.
@Emily - I was having SUCH a bad day, and your comment cheered me right up. Thanks so much for the kind words!

Emily Cerveny said... [Reply]

Donna, I think I will start commenting now. I just find you so refreshing, I guess is the word. Thanks for all you do, forget, and even screw up. I am a big time fan! Thanks again!

Please. Write your own stuff.