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No worries

The last few days have had the potential to be worrisome ones. My daughter’s beloved computer exhibited the dreaded blue screen that indicated her registry was corrupted. I know something about computers, but not how to fix that issue (but that didn’t stop me from spending a whole day trying to fix it). Luckily I have a friend who knows about this kind of stuff who stopped by and fixed it for her (and charged me much less than the Geek Squad would have).

Then, when I swiveled in my chair to get up from my work computer I knocked the dvd tray askew. After trying to fix it, I concluded I needed to buy a new dvd reader/writer and install it. I expected to pay a fair bit of money for this — it had been years since I installed anything on my computers, and back in the olden days a dvd drive was well over $100.

Then, Monday night when I had computer guts all over the floor of my office, my daughter told me our female cat had dilated pupils that wouldn’t constrict and the cat was bumping into things and obviously couldn’t see. She consulted Dr. Internet who told her the cat was possibly going blind. I consulted Dr. Neighbor to see if we should rush the cat to the after hours animal clinic, but he said as long as she was acting ok otherwise, to wait until morning.

Through all this, however, I refused to worry. I’ve been a worrier and I’ve known worriers and I’ve concluded that worry is an unnecessary and harmful emotion. Computers can be fixed. Blind cats can adapt.

Tuesday morning I called our vet who suggested we bring our cat in for a visit.

Then I voted.

When I returned home from the polling place I took my son to get some clothes, stopping first at Micro Center to buy a new DVD drive and maybe a firewire port for my desktop. The Micro Center folks were very helpful and I found a better DVD drive then the one I broke for less than $30. I also bought a firewire/usb combo card. Now I have enough slots on my computer to run all my peripherals.

My son has been hoping for a laptop for his 16th birthday in January — but knows that desktops are actually better deals. I offhandedly remarked maybe he could build his own and he jumped at the idea. So now he and I are going to build a computer together. Something I’ve always wanted to do, and something he said he’d considered. He was pretty excited and wants to get going right away. (Yay — another geek in our family).

The day was looking up.

When I got back home my daughter said our cat’s eyes were back to normal. I kept the appointment with the vet anyway — to see if they could tell us why.

My son and I installed my dvd drive and firewire/usb ports with no problems (it took less than 30 minutes) then my daughter and I took our cat to the vet. $200+ later we still don’t know why she spent 12 hours visually impaired, but know she’s healthy enough for a senior cat.

So, except for some unexpected spending of money all is good.

Oh yeah, and then changed happened.

Voting

Waking up to the delightful although not unexpected news that Barack Obama is the president-elect is a lovely cap on an unforgettable voting experience.

I wasn’t sure when I was going to vote — I’d hoped to do it with a minimum of waiting because I had a full day ahead of me what with computer issues, a pet crisis and a teenager in need of new jeans. I didn’t listen to the news before heading out at about 10 to cast my ballot, but didn’t expect to encounter a long wait at that time in the morning.

When I pulled into the parking lot of our polling place — the local rescue squad — and saw the line stretching around the building and down the sidewalk, my eyes teared up. I was proud to be a part of this and proud of my fellow citizens.

Honest Tea MobileI parked in the overflow parking lot of the church next-door (which had a few empty spaces despite the fact it also was a polling place) and headed to stand in the line, not knowing how long I would be there. It didn’t take long before everyone was talking to everyone else. One woman was asking those around her their opinions of various constitutional amendment proposals on the ballot. Others were talking about the excitement in the air. After about 15 minutes in line a black and white Saturn pulled up and employees from Honest Tea, a company based in Bethesda, handed out free Honest Tea drinks to folks standing in the line. That only added to the party atmosphere.

Mary and Bob, my neighbors. In line to vote.As the line snaked around the building and up the steps, I noticed my neighbors at the end of the, now significantly shorter, line. They were eligible to go ahead of the crowd and take the elevator, by merit of their age, but they stood in line like the rest, and chatted with their fellow voters.

I saw several people from my neighborhood and people I’d met over the years through school connections. We nodded or shared a few words as we crossed paths.

A woman ahead of me is becoming a Head Start teacher after retiring from NEA. The woman behind me brought her children and her oldest son, who was voting for the first time. The man directly in front of me had his preschool aged daugther who behaved very well, standing in line that long.

Standing in line is not anyone’s favorite activity, but yesterday I wouldn’t have missed it for the world. When my husband voted — he said there was no line and I should have waited until 4 to vote. Nope — I’m glad I went when I did. It was the best hour I’ve spent in a long time.  And the best time waiting in line ever.

I read the blog of a woman I knew a few years ago, and her post today is that she didn’t vote because of the line and then didn’t go back to vote because of the rain later in the day. I feel sorry for her, missing out on the excitement and comaradie of the event.