Friday, January 28, 2011

Requim for the Lenovo

Oh, Lenovo, Oh, Lenovo!

You brought me woe, Lenovooooooooo!

We had such hope, we had such smiles, we had such great intent,
But soon it was apparent on destruction you were bent.

My husband tried, he thought you'd work, but then his heart did crack,
Vista on your system drove him straight to the arms of a Mac.

You started out with Vista, but with it made him cringe.
We changed you to Windows 7, even then you came unhinged.

Your hard drive only lasted a couple years, or three.
Much too short a lifespan for a fancy thing like thee.

You took my lovely files, you clutched them to your breast, 
and smugly you shut down. Your betrayal will be addressed.

You took your life, you took your life, and then you took my data.
I had some hope but it was crushed and now I'm even sadda.

Lenovo it will cost me, oh it will cost me dear
but your actions will be punished, lend a plastic ear:

I've planned for you a future will involves dismemberment,
A special hell for traitors like you, to which you will be sent!

You'll find yourself dissected, your bad black heart exposed!
And I won't be the only one who feels that they've been hosed.

My files will be "recovered," a process you'll endure
My best revenge, all I can do, my data to ensure.

You took your life, you took your life, and then you took my data.
I had some hope but it was crushed and now I'm even sadda.

It won't be freeeeee, it's gonna cost meeee, my data to recover,

But you put me throuuuuuugh all you could dooooooo, and now you're gonna suffer.*

(*Really, I'm not quite that vindictive... but it rhymed okay.) 

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

New Computer

This is insane.
My computer crashed.
My "nearly new computer" came to a sudden but inevitable end on Sunday.  I think it's the kids playing whatever games they can find on the internet which killed it.  My computer is always up and available, and it is the one the kids go to when they want to do anything internet related.  I suspect somewhere, somehow, someone who has not yet reached puberty has inadvertently sabatoged my computer.
Michael, the computer guru from Click computers, came over yesterday.  We have a long and checkered past.  He's wiped a couple computers for me.  Apparently I am very hard on them.  Or the kids are.
He sort of smiled at me sadly, and asked what operating system it uses as he turned my dead laptop over and looked at the bottom of it.
I told him it was originally Vista, but that was what drove Hubby into the arms of a Mac, and when I took it over (IN APRIL!!! I hadn't realized it was only April, but that's when I posted about changing computers) we put Windows 7 on it.
He said it's not hard to imagine a Lenovo with Vista making anyone go postal; Lenovo computers with Vista operating systems is the WORST combination known to computerdom (not his words).  Windows 7 is slightly better, but still no bed of roses (again not his words). 
The three worst computers for repair guys are Toshiba (the death of my Toshiba is what prompted my switch to Hubby's old Lenovo), Sony, and Lenovo.  
Then he asked how much I like this computer.
Not much.  But here it is.

We talked for a little, the least he could do was get my data off of it, and then see how badly it's damaged.  He again brought up the option of me needing a new computer.  He recommends one of his custom built PCs. I kinda need a laptop.  He said there is a sweet HP laptop out there, for under $600.00, that seems like the cat's meow (not his words...  you get the idea).  Apparently HPs are one of the best computers to have if you have a problem.  Not that you expect a problem, because they're fine computers.

Hubby happened to be home, but on the phone.  When Michael left with the carcass of my Lenovo and Hubby came out and talked to me, I learned that Hubby still harbors a certain amount of resentment toward the Lenovo, apparently their relationship scarred him deeply.  He would be perfectly happy if
1) the Lenovo never darkened our doorway again
2) we had computers around the house that do not make people (including the kids) scream at them in frustration
3) I was happy with a new computer
4) this Michael character could take care of the whole set-up and data transfer of all my files and data (AND PHOTOS!) from the dead Lenovo to the new computer because he (Hubby) doesn't have a free day or more to devote to it

I suspected Hubby wants me to have a mac, but since 
1) the receipts program I use to do his billing doesn't run on a Mac
2) he's not usually around to help me when I have problems with the computer, 

Hubby agreed that perhaps a windows laptop is what we (I) need.

I called Michael back and asked if he could hook me up with said wonderful laptop.  He's not a HP dealer or anything but he could get one for me.  He assured me this was the cadillac of the "traveling man's... oh, um, traveling woman's computers" (Yeah, he said that. hee hee!). 

So, I still have a little bit of Quickbooks online for the taxes, which I can do on Hubby's old MackBook Pro (that I am typing on now) but the rest of it is sort of on hold until I get a computer that will run the receipts program.  In a couple of days.  More or less.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

... and just when I thought it was safe to take a nap,

I check one last time before I give in and go take a nap, and the Quickbooks website is running again.

Sigh...  Lost an hour of my precious time and now I won't be getting that nap I so desperately want.


A couple hours later ---

Of course Hubby and the kids have been parked in front of the TV all day while I'm working... not that I totally begrudge them the relaxing time, but it rankles a little.  So I sauntered in and told them they aren't watching whatever cartoon that they choose to stream off Netflix, they're watching Planet Earth.  They protest, it's boring, it's too educational, etc.  I stand firm and put in the disc, then come back to the kitchen to move on to June's AM EX statement.  I hear intriguing music and laughter and oohs and aahhs and "GROSS" coming from the other room, and I'm sad again.  Guess who likes the Planet Earth series the best!  Not them, ME!!!

I keep pushing through to do one more month, then one more month.  I know how little time I actually get during the week, and know this is my best shot for getting this stuff done.  Though I sure hate losing my weekend.

Death and Taxes

I am consumed with getting the QuickBooks online stuff done for tax season.  I try and get everything to the accountant before we go on our annual trip to Southern California over President's day.  For the past two years I haven't made it, and I don't get everything to the accountant until March, and he's completely swamped by then and so we have to file an extension.
I want it done by April!  I want it OVER!
This involves 3 main areas of stuff I need to do:
1) Enter and reconcile the company bank account
2) Enter and reconcile all transactions on the AM EX credit card Hubby charges everything to when he travels
3) Make a travel report for each trip he took in 2010, subtract the meals he charged the clients for from the per diem we claim on our taxes, and.... well there's some other stuff I won't go into.
4) Get all of the above and everything else necessary to the accountant.

That's more than three.  But it just shows you how handicapped I am at accounting.
So I am throwing all my free time at Quickbooks.
I opened our file and found that I had only made a handful of entries for the bank account since August.  It took me three days to update and reconcile the bank account.
Next is Am EX.  I started it on Friday.  I thought the AM EX account would be roughly as complete as the bank account, but alas, alack, I haven't made an entry into the AM EX register since January of 2010.  AUUUGGGHHH!
I couldn't even find all the statements, I was missing February, and had to get it off the internet.
So.  I gave up my entire day yesterday, Hubby responded to all the needs of the kids while I sat at the kitchen table with his AM EX statements, entering, checking off, and reconciling.  I got through January, February, and March!!  HOORAAY!!
So today, starting after church, I find that my laptop, Hubby's old Lenovo, is dead in the water.  It won't boot up.
This is very bad.  But I don't have time to deal with this, and there are two other laptops available for me to get online.  Fine, now I'm on Hubby's old MacBook Pro.  Bigger screen, actually easier to enter transactions.  I'll worry about the Lenovo and all the pictures and data on it tomorrow, when I can call Michael at Click Computers.

So I am grudgingly giving up my Sunday nap/reading/family/relaxing time, and sitting down to see if I can make it through three more months of AM EX transactions, as my kids park themselves in front of the TV (one is sporting a nasty sore throat and cold) and Hubby is playing some online game, and I start to enter transactions.  I entered the transactions for April, and started reconciling... I checked off about two items then Quickbooks FROZE UP on me!  
Nothing!  No response!  I'm getting a temporary service error!

Hmm, maybe they're right and it will just take a moment to fix.
I've been reading blogs, cleaning out my email file, and occasionally going back in to see if the Quickbooks website is responding, but NO!  I'm still getting a temporary service error!!!  How long does it have to be down before they have to stop claiming it's a TEMPORARY service error?!?

Monday, January 10, 2011

Hawaii report

Hawaii!  Yes!  Particularly Maui!  I highly recommend it!
I would specifically recommend:
1) Going when the humpback whales are calving (Dec-Feb) and
  1a) Taking a boat cruise out to watch
  1b) The dinner sunset cruise is nice, but you might still be hungry after.
2)  Renting a house instead of a hotel room
3)  Getting a rental car - everything is a 20-50 minute drive away
4)  Renting Snorkel gear and a boogie board from a dive shop ($) and not from the hotel related shop ($$$)
  4a)  Each member of your party should have their own snorkel and fins
   4b)  The boogie board is fun but optional
5)  Bringing or buying a big beach towel
  5a) Then you don't have to steal a bath towel from the hotel
  5b)  You don't need one for each member of the party, just for the whiny members 
  5c)  They double as blankets, seat covers, shade umbrellas, and anything else you need
6)  Plan lots of time - everything takes longer than you think
7)  Either take an iPad with you to plan what you're going to do each day, or do more planning ahead than we did.  
8)  Shave Ice.  Not to be confused with shaved ice.
9)  Texting updates to your home email if you forget a travel diary, so you can remember what you did each day.
10) Aloe Vera gel

I would NOT recommend

1) Leaving all your underwear at home by accident (Specifically, packing everyone else's but your own.)
2) Taking all the wrong clothes (No one in Hawaii is wearing capris.  They're all wearing Daisy Duke shorts if they're women, and board shorts if they're men.  And Kmart in Maui doesn't sell shorts in January in the women's department.  They're all selling LONG PANTS.  To people wearing SHORTS.)
3)  Trying to change hotels from the one you were in to a rental house once you're there.  The hotel will charge you whether you stay or not.
4)  Buying breakfast coupons as part of the hotel deal.  (Turns out you can't double up, you can only use 2 coupons per room per day.   So all that money you're saving by buying the breakfast coupons will be wasted when you get tired of the same food every morning and want to go somewhere else for breakfast.   We came home with forty dollars worth of unused breakfast coupons, which outweighed the amount we saved by buying the coupons instead of just paying for breakfast when we wanted it.)
5)  Forgetting to sunscreen yourself after you've sunscreened the kids.
6)  Don't expect your experience on an excursion to be as magical and amazing as the person who wrote up the review on  You'll probably have a good time, but don't go expecting magic.

I do advise taking lots of pictures, from the time you get there until you go.  So  you can post them on your blog!.

Here we go!
This was taken while we were waiting for Hubby to return with the rental car (a red mustang convertible, the car of choice for Hawaii tourists).  It was 10:30 at night Hawaii time, which makes it 1:30 am for the girls.  They're a little punchy, but surprisingly good natured.

The first day we drove to Mile Marker 16 on the road to Hana, a twisty gorgeous drive along the North East coast of Maui.  Hana is dead-ended at Mile Marker 35.  We never made it that far.   There are too many beautiful things to stop and see or hike to on the way.

The convertible was a big hit with the girls.

The next day (Friday) we rented snorkel equipment and while trying it out right by our hotel we saw a sea turtle! It was a beautiful lovely day. 
On New Year's Day (Saturday) we took the sunset whale watching cruise and saw a whole lot of spoutings, partial breachings, flukes, tails, and humps. Of course I got absolutely no good pictures of whales. These are some of the pictures I did get.
The whales were pretty close, one was a baby!  Of course you'll have to take my word for it as they disappeared the minute I brought up my camera.

On Sunday we drove to the top of the volcano, Haleakala (say Hal-E-ah-call-ah).  The tricky thing was it was 80 degrees at the bottom, and about 40 degrees on top, with a gale force wind blowing on you taking it down to closer to 30 degrees.  The girls huddled in the visitor center with Hubby, I was on my own for pictures.

They worked on their Junior Ranger badge qualifications while sporting their souvenir towel skirts.  It was bitter cold up there!

 Can you see how hard the wind is blowing?  Probably not. VERY HARD!!!

On Monday we set out to find a less popular rock formation known as the Dragon's Teeth.  It's not marked, we had to ask when we got lost a the Ritz Carlton, and  hike across a golf course to find it, but it was an interesting place.  Very windy too.

Later that night we went to a Luau. We were on the front row, and had a great time! This was a special luau which also served hot dogs and chicken nuggets, so Everyone was happy!  Unfortunately my camera battery had died that afternoon and so I didn't get many pictures.

 On Tuesday we had arranged for a raft boat snorkel/tour excursion. We had to get the girls up at 5:00 am in order to be at the dock by 6:30. Yikes! We had a lot of fun, though Thing 1 got splashed which put her in a bad mood, and she wasn't as hyped about the snorkeling as Thing 2. Thing 2 exhibited her fishy side and really took to the snorkeling.

We saw more turtles and whales. Thing 1 and I sat in the middle of the boat, so I didn't get any good pictures of her, as she was practically on my lap. Oh, well there is one of her rockin' out to the tunes that the captain blasted over the speakers.

We didn't feel like we'd gotten enough snorkeling, so after the raft trip we stopped at a nearby beach to let the kids play and do a little more water activities. I think it was one of the kid's most favorite days, which only goes to show that they probably would have just been thrilled to play on the beach the whole week.  The water was incredibly warm and the sand was like silk, and the waves didn't assault them like they're used to from the ocean.  It was blissful!

Our last day was Wednesday.  We were checking out and missed the hotel breakfast (grumble grumble) and so we went into Lahaina for lunch.  Then since Hubby really wanted to see the tropical side of the island, we decided to try and make it farther down the road to Hana.  This time we made it to Mile Marker 22 before we had to turn around and head back.

We had a very nice dinner back in Paia (say pie-EE-ah) before we headed to the airport for our 11:20 pm flight. Thing 2 was asleep about 20 seconds after I fastened her seatbelt and she barely stirred until she woke up in L.A.  Thing 1 tossed and turned, and hardly slept at all. I'm still trying to recover from my sleepless night!  Hubby didn't even try to sleep.  I don't know how he does it. We got back home about 11:00 a.m.
It was an absolutely lovely trip, and we didn't want it to end.  We learned a lot about how to do it even better next time! Because we all expect there definitely needs to be a next time!

Friday, January 7, 2011


Oh mercy I am so far behind!

We got back from Maui early yesterday morning.  I texted myself little updates every day we were there about what we were doing because it is so easy to forget and I didn't want to forget and we didn't have good internet access so an online journal wasn't going to happen.

And now an update isn't going to happen because I am just too far behind.

Suffice it to say Hawaii was AMAZING and WONDERFUL and MAGICAL and DELIGHTFUL and DELICIOUS and WARM and WELCOMING and INCREDIBLE and FASCINATING and PLEASING and SERENDIPITOUS and GREEN and BLOOMING and I could go on, but I've got a lot to do before I pick the kids up from school.

I'll catch up later.  With photos.  :-)