Side Impact

It’s been a day of trips to the repair shop.

This morning, I had to take my Saab in to the dealership for a regular service (as well as some accumulated complaints, and getting the rear emblem replaced after some idiot stole it a week ago). No problem, except that I had a conference call at 9am. So I zipped through the morning routine and left the house at 7:30, in what should have been plenty of time.

Traffic, of course, was slow. Then I had to wait for a service advisor. But despite that, I was done with the dealer at 8:20 and walked the 100 feet to Avis to pick up my loaner, with plenty of time to get home for my call.

Except that there was a problem with the computer, and so it took a few tries for the clerk to get my contract printed. So I didn’t leave until 8:40, which meant I’d be cutting it close.

A few minutes later, my cellphone rang — which almost never happens. It was Diane; Avis had just called home to let me know that I’d left my driver’s license behind. I decided retrieving it was more important than making my call and turned around.

I left Avis the second time at 8:58. I’d dialed into my call before leaving the lot, figuring I could listen and still drive safely. By the time I got home twenty minutes later, we’d barely finished a rollcall and the beginnings of an introduction to the call, so I wasn’t distracted from the road. But I do wish I had a speakerphone on my cellphone.

Once home, I was able to pay attention to the call, and the day was looking up again. It got even more cheerful when I got a piece of e-mail telling me that my meeting this week in Austin was postponed. And my lunchtime walk was pleasant, as usual.

During the afternoon, I thought I’d make a backup copy of my old MapSource CD before sending it in to be upgraded to the current level, just in case it got lost in transit. While the computer was writing the backup, I went to the kitchen. The backup finished while I was gone, so the CD ejected itself — I didn’t realize this, and accidentally bumped the tray with my knee when I sat down.

This was not a good thing to do. I couldn’t get the tray to retract automatically, and pushing it manually didn’t help, either — it closed but then wouldn’t open, even when I tried using the emergency eject stick in the emergency eject hole. So I called Plextor, who agreed that I could return the drive and who gave me an RMA number.

Then I called Pixel USA, since the drive was less than a month old, and they agreed to handle the return for me and swap the drive on the spot. So I unplugged the computer and drove it over to the store.

I’d bought the 16x drive less than a month ago, but it was now permanently out of stock; they had a 24x, but it was a few dollars more expensive. I didn’t really need a faster drive, but I didn’t want to have to wait a few weeks for the Plextor RMA process, so I agreed to pay the difference and they installed the new drive; I was on my way within 20 minutes.

Then it was back home to set up the computer again and backup the second CD. I need to find a different place to put the computer so I don’t hit it with my knee again, but for the time being, I’m being very careful when I sit down.

And then back to Avis to return their car and to the Saab dealer to pick up mine.

I had high hopes of accomplishing things today, too.

There’s always tomorrow.