Monday, June 27, 2011

Lifeline: Computers, Teeth and Cookies!

“Nooooooo!” I screamed.

Mark rushed into the study and found me hunched over my pink laptop—trying to revive it! My “lifeline” was dead—not as in the “blue screen of death,” but NOT turning on. It’s strange how dependent we have become in our computerized world that the very thought of losing our “companions” causes us to go into panic mode. 

Yes, I panicked when I realized it wasn’t coming back to life! For those of you searching for the perfect laptop to bring to Cuenca, do not bring a Dell (the parts are difficult to find). But I fell in love with “PINKY” and that’s the end of the story!

My beloved pink laptop is slightly over a year old, but its battery and recharger have been replaced twice. And I don’t think there’s going to be a third time or “she” is going to be dumped! Our first call was made to Jose (our computer guy). He worked in the States as a computer tech, speaks English and Spanish, and he’s reliable. None of that mañana stuff; he’s pronto!

The computer event happened on Saturday at 9:00 a.m. and we promptly gave Jose a call. He said he would be right over. Sure enough…30 minutes later he was on our doorstep to assess the situation. He asked what happened right before the “crash.” And I said, “There was this little message: ‘Your battery is able to charge normally, but it is reaching the end of its normal life.’”

Jose scratched his head and announced, “I’ve got another laptop for sale--$450. And you can make payments on it over six months if you like?”

Not what I wanted to hear! However, there was an alternative suggestion regarding my recharger. Evidently, when we replaced the recharger the first time with a universal (not a Dell), it was too strong (wrong amps) and drained the battery. Thankfully, Jose had a friend of a friend, who owns a computer parts store in town and he was pretty sure he carried Dell parts.

It’s not what you know; it’s who you know in Cuenca! Forty-five minutes later, I had a brand new Dell recharger hooked up to PINKY. And today, I’m happy to report that she's 100 percent fully recharged. The price was a little salty ($126), but it works. The office visit by Jose was $15 (visit and assessment), plus taxi fare to “al centro” and back.

My laptop is my lifeline—literally! Like many expats in Cuenca, I still work (that was one of the conditions of our “retirement”). I have kept up relationships with the editors I have worked for in the past and they send me regular assignments. My office hours are Monday through Thursday and I try to have the weekends off. But it doesn’t always work out that way!
Chocolate Chip "Rocks"
Mark and I celebrated my “new” laptop with some homemade chocolate chip cookies (“yes” you can buy those dainty little morsels in Cuenca). Unfortunately, the cookies turned out hard as rocks and Mark broke his tooth. Today he gets to practice some new vocabulary words at the dentist.

Tomorrow I should have a tooth story!

Until next time…hasta luego!

P.S. If you would like to have Jose's contact information for your computer needs, he's in the book! Or you can e-mail me at

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