Last weekend was lovely, but I haven't had a moment to write about it because of the crises ever since. Susan needed to collect sand and pebbles to have her students build volcanoes, so I went to the store for her and bought the baking soda and vinegar that will be used to create the lava, and then we both went to the Yuba River so she could collect the sand and pebbles. I wandered around the Yuba Goldfields identifying native plants and taking photographs (which I'll post later, whenever I have time). We stayed away from each other almost the whole time we were there, because I was trying to avoid a sunburn (which I succeeded at), while she was trying to get a tan (which she failed at). I would have liked to have her within conversational range more of the time, but the only shade available was nowhere near the good supply of sand and pebbles she needed, so we just went our separate ways. Susan spent a lot of the time there thinking about how this was the same place where, when she took her dogs there a year ago, her dog Taco was bitten by a rattlesnake and swelled to twice is normal size and was declared clinically dead, but was revived a moment later and miraculously survived with the help of a blood transfusion from her other dog, who then got hit by a car a week later and killed. I just spent the time there thinking about how nice it was to be there and to have a wonderful girlfriend who took me there.
But on Monday the first crisis happened, when my computer displayed the dreaded Blue Screen of Death and then, upon reboot, displayed a message informing me that its hard drive had failed to pass the S.M.A.R.T. test and that I should back up my data immediately because the hard drive was likely to die at any moment. It was nice of the computer to give me advance warning, at least. I'd never heard of the S.M.A.R.T. test before, but apparently my computer had been silently performing this test on itself during bootup for all the time I've owned it, and just never announced this to me until the hard drive failed the test. I now highly recommend that all of you should have something like this installed on your computers, because it enabled me to perform a final backup of my data that was more recent and more thorough than I would otherwise have had.
At first, though, it didn't look like the warning was going to do me much good. My CD-ROM drive refused to function anymore, so I couldn't use it to back up my data. I don't know what I would have done if I hadn't had a wonderful girlfriend who, even despite being busy taking a night class that evening, readily invited me to come over Tuesday night and spend the whole evening using her flash drive to copy files from my dying computer to her desktop computer. Then for good measure, she served me a delicious dinner and loaned me her desktop computer to take home for the rest of the month. I'll need it that long, because the new computer I bought isn't going to be delivered until near the end of March.
I did order a new computer though. Thank you, everyone who advised me about what to buy. I ended up adding a DVD writer (thanks, hansel25, for that advice) and a longer-lasting battery (thanks, luinied, for advising me to read the reviews that convinced me I needed a better battery) and skipping the messenger case (thanks, wonderful girlfriend susanlizr, for offering to give me your unused one). I think I'll be very happy with it once it arrives. I just have to wait quite a while for it. But that's hardly any inconvenience at all, now that I have Susan's old computer to use in the interim.
The latest crisis happened last night: Susan was in a car accident. A driver going at least 65 miles per hour in a 35 mile per hour zone crashed into her truck, pushing it way down the street and flipping it completely upside down, flattening the roof so that some windows were squashed to half their former height. She heard a witness outside remark, "They're certainly not going to be able to walk out of that one," referring to her and the teenager she had been driving home at the time. But she and the teenager are both actually pretty much okay, surprisingly. They both have a bunch of tiny cuts all over their hands and knees from squeezing out the windows to get out of the truck, and Susan has some bruises, a bump on her knee, a sore neck, and a sore spot on the top of her head where her head bumped into the ceiling light switch and turned the light on inside the truck. Her much beloved truck is ruined, and the much beloved pants she was wearing are ruined, but she herself is not very badly damaged. And the insurance will pay for a new truck. Hopefully the other driver's insurance, since it certainly seems to have been the other driver's fault; but on the off-chance that the authorities are idiots and fail to figure that out, she'd still only have to pay a $500 deductible and then her own insurance would cover the rest of the truck's value.
She called me on the phone last night to tell me about the accident, and I decided to drive over to see her. She kept telling me I didn't have to, because it's almost a 60-mile drive from my place to hers and I'd already driven there the night before to back up my computer with her flash drive. But I know something about how stressful car accidents are; I practically never dislike being alone, but if I'd just been in a car accident, even I would prefer not to be alone. So I drove to see her and stayed the night again. It turned out that she had only $3 cash and about four cigarettes when I arrived, and no transportation to obtain more, so I loaned her $20 cash and bought her a pack of cigarettes. I got carded while buying the cigarettes, which I thought was weird since I really don't look under 18. Susan said I must have just looked so uncomfortable with the idea of buying cigarettes that the guy behind the counter concluded that I must surely be doing something illegal despite appearing to be of legal age.
Anyway, now I'm back home with my loaned computer, and Susan is at her home with her rented car. My data is intact, and my girlfriend is intact, too. So all has turned out reasonably well, despite the crashes. I'd just like things to stop crashing in the first place now, please.