Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Busy Day

So, yesterday I went to my friend's house. Her dad is more or less an invalid and spends most of his time in his hospital bed set up in the back bedroom. My friend, Weezy, bought her parents house several years ago and they all live there. Which turned out to be a good thing because:
a) Her dad's health has gone downhill fast and her mom can't care for him alone
b) Weezy went through a bout of breast cancer several years ago. For some reason, the chemo really messed with her system and she has developed neuropathy in her hands and feet. Not good for someone who works as a physical therapist. She was put on leave from work because of this-she nearly had a wreck returning from a patient's house b/c her foot had slipped off the brake & she didn't know it. Yes, the neuropathy is THAT bad. So, in addition to losing her ability to drive, she is looking at having to go on permanent disability. She's very depressed and worried about her future.

So, she had bought her dad a VCR so he could watch movies back in his room. She couldn't get it set up and I looked at it last week and saw that she needed more cables to hook it up correctly. I had to work over the weekend, but told her I'd come over on Tues to help her set it up. I went to pick her up, we went to Best Buy to get the cables, then went to lunch. We stopped at the AT&T store and she talked to them about the crappy router they have, which only allows her to sign on if she in the same room. She wound up buying a router/modem combo and I told her I could set it up for her. I feel so bad for her. It's not that she can't do it but she no longer has any fine motor skills, so handling the cables, phone impossible for her to do. After meeting my niece at the shelter to help her choose a new kitten, we headed to Weezy's house to get this all set up. The VCR was relatively simple and I had it up in no time. I tried to program the Direct TV remote so he didn't have to keep track of another one, but it wouldn't work. Bummer, but he was OK with having 2 remotes.
Now, on to the router/modem combo. We went back in her dad's office to get it all set up. First thing tho was to get the filters on all the phone lines. 2 were simple, but for the 3rd, the plug was behind the cali king bed in the master bedroom. Ay-yi-yi, that thing was a bit@# to move. We only got it a few inches from the wall, but it was enough so that I could reach between the headboard slats and get it switched. 4th plug....I just thought the 3rd was a bit@#. OMG...First, we traced his phone line to the wall to the right of his desk.....behind a bunch of folding chairs and 2 card tables that we had to move. We did that, then got the filter plugged in and the phone in the correct side of that, leaving the other side for the DSL line. I then go over to where all his hook-ups are for the computer and tried to trace the line going from the computer to the wall. It actually traced to behind the desk...?? I wondered if he'd had a splitter on the extra long phone cord and went back to trace the phone line from where I had just put it to the desk phone, but no.....? Ok, I'll admit here I'm not a whiz at this, I'm just someone with (usually) some common sense in this area who can figure this out. I went back to the desk and took a second look. The desk is actually bolted to the floor and can't be moved, so I got on the floor and climbed under it. Eureka, there's a 2nd phone jack where the DSL comes in. Problem is, there's a 2x4 standing upright about 4-5 inches parallel to the baseboard. The jack is one of those with the guard that flips that to change it, you have to hold the guard open with one hand and change the line with the other. I got the old line unplugged no prob, by holding it open with one finger and pressing the tab & pulling it out quickly. It was awkward, but I did it. Getting the filter plugged back in tho was a pain. I'm under the desk, on my stomach b/c it's not tall enough for me to be on my knees. There is very limited space between that 2x4 & the wall and no matter how hard I tried, I could not hold the guard open and plug the filter back in. Weezy handed me a flashlight and I propped that on the 2x4 and leaned it on the wall so that most of the light shone on the jack. I attempted for another few minutes and could not get it. I was hot, sweaty and frustrated. I thought for a minute and ask Weezy for some heavy duty tape, such as duct or masking. She found some masking and I taped that guard open and got the plug in..YEA!! Setting up the new router/modem was easy, just pop in the CD & follow the directions. Weezy was behind me the whole time and I swear I could feel how anxious she was about this. She wants to be able to use her laptop anywhere in the house, instead of just in her dad's office or right outside it. I finished up there, then we took the CD to her laptop. She wanted to try that herself, with me supervising. We followed the instructions and as we are going through the steps, her "You're connected" icon came on. She was so excited! We got to the last step and I dunno what happened. The icon indicated that she no longer had a connection and the last step on the screen was for us to connect to the internet. It took us to that step, but would not connect. She got up and let me take over. I went through everything I knew to do and could not figure it out. She was so disappointed and I determined that she would have wireless connection before I left!! I decided to close everything, eject the CD, restart the comp and then start from scratch. I was so frustrated! I sat there and it restarted. I was reaching around to open the CD drive and the connection icon indicated she was connected. She sat down and logged on, got on with no problem!!!! I guess it just needed a restart to finish loading the new software. We took it into the living room and tried and it worked!! I asked her to take it to her bedroom & try. I stayed in the living room with her mom and in a second, we heard her squeal. It worked there too! When I left, Weezy was one happy lady!! It made me feel good that I could get this done for them. They all kept thanking me over and over and talking about how much they "owed" me for doing this, but they don't understand how much I like doing this kind of stuff, even if it does get frustrating. I told them that this was like one of the word puzzles I used to love so much, and that it was fun to figure out how to put it all together. They think it was work, I think it was fun. Besides, I love them all so much and like being able to do what I can to bring a (?) to folks who haven't had a lot of joy in the last few years. Doing this is better than sitting around bored at home!