Wednesday, February 04, 2004

Battling Evil Spirits and the Ghosts of Grandma's Goods

My back is sore, our house is all stinky from citrus stripper, wood stain and mineral spirits, and I'm crabby and tired but I am writing this on my own home computer. Yay! After almost six months of nonworking internet and e-mail, I'm back online. The virus, trojan or whatever nasty struck right before or right after we got married this fall. I came home from our short honey moon to find all my internet related files missing. After repair failed, I did a complete reinstall of Windows, this was back in September, and found my PC still under possession. Whatever it was slipped by my simple, but supposedly strong firewall and my more sophisticated virus software. Once in residence, it evaded all search, scan, blocking and ferreting out attempts (with four different products and the advice of every security newsgroup I could find), proceeding to make my life miserable as it monopolized a wide range of outgoing ports. It was taking a full three minutes just to load Google. Getting past the front page of any other site froze the computer. I got tired of troubleshooting and decided to just let the beastie sit. I shut down my PC and ignored it. I do most first drafts by hand anyway. I had lots of home improvement projects to keep me busy. Most importantly, I had Internet and e-mail access at work. I used to enjoy playing around with my own PC. Well, now that I do it at work everyday, the magic is gone. A week's vacation spent at home forced me to face the evil thing again. This time I defeated it by switching around the boot partitions and formatting the heck out of everything. I was up until 4 a.m. last night reinstalling and updating Windows (I know, I know, I should have switched to Linux but my brain is too full right now) and my security software. I was rewarded with the true speed only a cable modem can provide.

Lack of sleep has contributed to my tiredness. My back is sore from a lot of other work, the most noteworthy a battle with an ancient queen sized sofa bed that needed to be out at the curb this A.M. It took a few hours, a hammer, a utility knife, a pliers, a screwdriver, a wrench and my winter coat and hat but I won. (Yes friends, the big ugly black couch from the porch is gone!) I left shaky and cold but whole with the sofa torn into five more manageable pieces. The battle to rid our house of Grandma's goods is down one sofa bed. Thursday, we will take a major one on the chin, however, as a newer hide-a-bed, four large antiques and numerous other furnishings will be delivered from Grandma's old apartment, as she continues her move from senior apartment to assisted care apartment to sharing a tiny room in a nursing home. Some of this stuff is "stuff we should keep in the family" and who in the family has room (we're speaking relative terms here considering we don't have access to most of our basement and all of our garage due to other Grandma stuff), who has the dependability that comes with being homeowners (rules out little brother), who can be nudged into it with only implied guilt (mom said a firm "no" to any furniture) and who will be having the mother of all garage sales with most of Grandma's other stuff as soon as it's warm enough? You guessed it. (There is always the hope that we will find Grandma another place with a larger room and she'll take some of it back again.) Never (this is a rule that you should never, ever forget), never buy a house that isn't empty, even if you are going to be the one who has to clean it out.

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