Monday, March 4, 2013

The Long Rambling Story of A New Computer

My computer has been dying a slow, painful electronic death for a while now.  I think I first mentioned it six months ago or so... The touch pad stopped working... and it kept crashing... and takes about five minutes to load each page.  The whirling circle of death appears frequently (pretty much every time I click on a new site... or type too fast..).  And then the keyboard started to go, particularly the letter "h" which as a key player in the word "the" made typing particularly difficult and slow going (but hey, at least I wasn't typing too fast anymore!).  I knew that it was only a matter of time before the entire thing kicked the bucket and I was left computer-less.  And that, when your business is online, would have been a major problem.

"Please let the computer hang on for a few
more months..."
So I moaned and groaned and started saving.  The money that I make from my shops is going to stay in the paypal account until I have enough to replace this computer, I said, apparently delusional, along with an occasional whispered "Mother Cabrini, please, please, please pray that my computer doesn't die before I can save enough for a new one!"

Business was slow during January and the start of February.  I complained around the house that you can never tell how things will go... last year January was one of my busiest months.  This year it's been one of the slowest.  Gradually I watched the balance creep up and thought: At this rate... May.  Will my computer last until May?

All along I was clinging to one word:  Apple.  After an unfortunate incident when I was attending the University of Cape Town, involving a ton of research, a  hundred page research paper and my Dell eating it (one day the computer was full, the it was completely blank like a brand new computer), I had become a loyal Apple customer.  You see, my friends Apple crashed at the same time.  We both contacted the manufacturer.  Apple told my friend, bring it in, and proceeded to rush the order through so the computer was fixed in a matter of days.  Dell's response was basically:  "Not our problem."  Thus I fell in love with Apples customer service (a few months and $500 later the paper was recovered).

It takes way too many of these
to equal an Apple...
My last two computers, as a result, have been Apples.  And they've been great.  I would love to stick with the brand.  But as the past weeks have dragged by I've slowly realized that when things come up, like paying the gas bill or buying food, a computer that's well over a thousand dollars, even refurbished, just isn't in the cards.  In fact, it's a ridiculous fantasy at this stage in our lives.  I'm just not heartless enough to tell Mae Bae to toughen up and stop shivering so I can turn the heat off when the kid is already bundled up, if there's a way I can afford to pay that gas bill if I just move the money over from Paypal.

Still, something had to be done.  I won't be making money if I can't get online to sell my products.

I know, I told myself,  I'll get one of those cool little flippy computers that doubles as a tablet.  I checked out prices.  I checked our budget.

An $800 computer.

Maybe by May.  Maybe if the craft fair accepts me (they haven't refunded my booth fee, which as to mean something!) and I do exceptionally well... Maybe then I can take the money and dash across the street to Best Buy before something else comes up.

Maybe I can stick my fingers in my ears too and hum really loud to drowned out the sound of all the others things that money could go to instead.

I imagine my computer giving a death rattly cough over in the corner.  We aren't going to make it to May.  Feeling a bit guilty I finally admitted to myself that an Apple was out... there was no way to justify the expense.

Then an ad appeared on TV.  The new Google Chrome.  $249.  I jumped up and grabbed my computer  and managed to get to the Amazon page.  The reviews were sure to be horrible.  $249.  What else could I expect?  The reviews for the $800 computers were all solidly mixed.

But the Chrome results weren't.  They were largely positive.  And the negatives were often things that wouldn't bother me (like that the screen resolution isn't worthy of a HDTV).  They especially didn't bother me at that price.  I clicked over and stared at the Bank Account Balance... and saw that the state refund had just come through.  I did a little dance, called Paul, and ordered the computer that night.

Now I'm waiting, like a kid at Christmas, for it's arrival.  I expect that barring any disasters, my little Apple should putter along until it arrives.


  1. I've said it before and I'll say it again: Apple is way overpriced and overrated.

  2. I love Apple products. They're all hubby and I have in the house. Don't know how good the company is, morally speaking...but their products_just_work.

  3. Nooooooooo go with HP or something sensible. Apple royally screw their customers over by producing new, improved stuff which is purposefully incompatible with old models, but which are 'needed'.

  4. You must be in a ton of debt. You have cable, Netflix new computer and your husband has huge student loans and no job. Use the library


  5. Yeah Jan, I totally have time to spend the hours and hours I spend running my businesses at the library. I imagine I could pay for someone to watch my kids while I'm there doing it too.

    I wouldn't have had one of the 11 orders that have come in in the last three days if I didn't have a computer and internet. So yes, it's absolutely worth it.

    Thanks for your concern though. I know you can know sooooo much about a persons life from reading 500 words a day.

  6. My hubby works for Apple, so I'm sad they lost a sale. :) However, glad you found an affordable alternative! Macs are fantastic but they aren't cheap.

    Jan - have you ever run an internet-based small business using only public Internet at the library with 3 small kids in tow, one of whom is a toddler and one of whom is an infant?

    Do you have intimate knowledge of Cam and Paul's finances?

    Unless the answer to each of these questions is "yes," you should stop being an uncharitable crank.


I love comments and I read every single comment that comes in (and I try to respond when the little ones aren't distracting me to the point that it's impossible!). Please show kindness to each other and our family in the comment box. After all, we're all real people on the other side of the screen!