Nov 24, 2007

When being first in line is a bad, bad thing...

I woke up early this morning, because I had a stack of padded envelopes (18 in all) to mail off to various winners of my eBay auctions. Before I get too much further, I want to stop here a moment and say "THANK YOU" to each of the winners who paid very promptly! I don't mind if people wait a few days, especially since this weekend was a holiday one, and many people might not even be home right now. But, I try my best to pay as soon as an auction ends, and I appreciate the folks out there that do the same. :-)

For some reason, I had it in my head that both the post office and the bank were open today until noon. I was wrong. I got to the post office around 8:40 or so, because they open at 8:30. Or not. It turns out, they open at 8:30 Monday-Friday, but on Saturday, they don't open until 9:00. They close the window back up again at 10:30... An hour and a half. Man, if you have stuff to mail on the weekend, you better be quick about it! And, since I was there early, I was first in line. Remember the "be quick about it" part? Yeah, throw that out the door.

Being Saturday, the computer decided it wanted to be slow about its business, so each 'package' too 30-45 seconds. Not bad, you say? Remember, I have EIGHTEEN of them. So, nearly 20 minutes after we started, the clerk tells me the total, and I hand her my card. She swipes the card, and the computer locks up. We wait, both stunned and not wanting to believe what we are seeing in front of us. She taps the screen (they have touch screens), and all she gets is the rude "DONK" of a frozen computer.

Another employee, who had just clocked OUT, comes over and begins to help. Evidently, this same thing happened LAST Saturday. The solution then was to reboot the computer. So, they do. The computer is some kind of flavor of Windows NT 4.0. Do you have any idea how OLD that Operating System is? It came out around the time of Windows 95... Yes, that's NINETY-FIVE, people... Can you say, "Toy Story!?"

The computer takes nearly 15 minutes to boot back up to the touch screen. I am told several times during the process, "the computer NEVER takes this long to reboot!" Of course not. Lucky for all of us, I'm not in any hurry. After all, I have until noon before the bank closes, right?

After a few phone calls, and digging around the menu system, the clerks can print out the transaction, but because the computer died when it did, it is in some kind of limbo. It shows the items were paid for, but cant figure out how. Well, of course not, the computer crashed before the card was processed! Ultimately, they decided to re-weigh everything and put the "new" postal stickers on an 'errata' sheet. About the time they finish that up, the phone rings, and the helper on the line explains what they could have done in order to bring up the transaction to re-process it. Frankly, I don't see how, because when they asked the computer for a receipt, it told them NO, with a nice big, red error screen. Yet, they could run a report that showed the list of items and the fact that it had been paid, somehow, but the drawer was short. Very weird. Anyway, the new information to 'fix' it was too little too late. At just after TEN O'CLOCK (Remember, I got there at 8:40, and I was first in line), they turn me loose.

I get in my truck, and suddenly realize the bank is NOT EVEN OPEN on Saturdays! DUH! I give myself the ol' "Coulda hada V-8" smack, and head for the house...

Shan went shopping today with her Mom, so the kids and I hung out. Tyler and I played BF1942. We each have a favorite map. Mine is "Battle of Britain" because I have learned how to fly the planes and shoot down enemies, which today included Tyler since we decided to play AGAINST each other instead of WITH each other. :-) Tyler likes the "Battle of Midway" map because when he plays as the Axis (bad guys), he racks up serious numbers, including doing me in over and over and over. We had a great time! After that, we cranked up the surround sound and had us a big time watching "Cars." :-)

My Mom invited us up to her place for chicken noodle soup, so we gladly accepted. :-) It is cold, raining, and Mom's home-made chicken soup is very good! Afterward, I (ahem) forced myself to have a bowl of ice cream with chocolate syrup and some kind of crunchy toppings... :-)

It's hard to believe that tomorrow is Sunday already... It was nice having the whole week off. Of course, I'm not complaining too loudly.. After all, in a few weeks, it'll be Christmas break. :-)

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