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Wednesday, August 7, 2002

This time, instead of "Why can't I do this?", it was "What have I done?" Almost as soon as I placed the order for the new computer, panic set in, big time. What had I forgotten, in making this decision so quickly? There had to be something, because there's always something.

Before I took the Big Leap, I already knew that the software the new machine came with didn't include the programs I use most. No Word, no Excel. No problem, right? The two computers are going to be networked together. Then (after the Big Leap) it occurred to me that it might not be so easy to use a program on one machine if it's resident on another. I don't know if that's a problem or not, but Eric asked me, "You have the original installation discs, right?"

Uh oh.

Well, sure. I upgraded to Office 2000 after I moved into this house, so those discs should have been right here handy. Only they weren't in the drawer where I keep a bunch of data CDs. They weren't in any of the boxes in the bedroom. They weren't in the closet. The weren't on the bookshelf or in the loft. They couldn't be in the garage, but I had to look there.

Before I could move around among the boxes in the garage, I had to take a broom and sweep ahead of me. Not the floor, the air. I had to break up a complex system of cobwebs for every step I took. I don't spend much time mucking about in the garage, although I keep all of my vinyl records, many old video tapes, and quite a few books in boxes out there. Who knew what else might be hiding? Software, maybe?

Well, yes and no. I found the original Photoshop discs, solving a problem I hadn't even thought about yet. I had to reach into a box that was partly open to get to them, and I wasn't sure what I was going to pull out. In fact, I'm still not sure. The package with the discs is sitting on the desk next to me, and I can't be absolutely certain it's not full of something icky. I'm going to assume it isn't, just so I don't have to look.

I left a bunch of boxes in the garage unopened and unsearched. The likelihood that they contained what I was looking for was slim, and not worth the creepy feeling of diving into a nest of spiders and other unsavory creatures. No thanks, I'll spend the thousand dollars (or whatever, I have no idea) and get the program new.

It took walking away from the problem to solve it. Sometimes it's at the very moment I give up thinking about a question that the answer pops into my mind. That wasn't exactly what happened, but it's true nonetheless, and it'll make a nice pull quote. The last place I looked was where the missing discs turned up. There's another one, only this one is true.

On top of the tall bookcase in my bedroom where I keep all sorts of office supplies I noticed a long, skinny brown box. It couldn't be where I'd put the Office discs, but I'd looked everywhere else, and I had no recollection of what was in the box. Obviously I had nothing to lose by dragging the stepstool up to the bookcase and pulling the box down on my head.

Bingo! The thing was a riot of discs, including many for programs I've never so much as opened on this computer, let alone actually using them. I didn't know what half of them were, but there in the pile was the brown envelope Microsoft had sent me a year or so ago, with the original Office 2000 discs. Although it might seem much longer, I'd only spent a couple of hours obsessing over the possibility of losing these precious items.

The best part of having this one major problem to focus on was that it didn't let any other worries get inside my head at the same time. If there had been room, I'm sure I would have frightened myself with many dire possibilities. And those possibilities still exist, whatever they are. I just have to give them time to come to me.


White oleander at the corner of my yard, seen from across the driveway.

I never did talk to the Boss today. That means I didn't ask his permission before putting the new computer on the credit card. Pretty ballsy, huh? I just figured that if he had some objections, I'd let him take it out of my salary at ten bucks a week or so. I honestly don't think that'll be a problem, though. I know him pretty well.

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