Wednesday, April 8, 2009

A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to my Deadline: Murphy's Law

I'm not much for science but Murphy's Law is a rule I know well, mostly because it seems to happen to me frequently. I'm Lisa Mondello and I'd like to tell you about a funny little thing that happened to me on the way to the April 1st deadline for my upcoming release, Yuletide Protector 12/09.

You see, in a perfect world, computers work the way they're supposed to work all the time, especially when you've mapped out a course for finishing a book before the deadline. But then there is Murphy's Law. I think most people are familiar with Murphy's Law but just in case, let me recap it for you.

Murphy's Law = Anything that can go wrong, will go wrong.

And it did. Murphy's Law doesn't care about my duties as a mother, a wife or a writer. It just is what it is and strikes at will. I'll spare you all the details of how the big ML struck me this winter and jump right to the good parts about how it managed to mess with me weeks before my April 1st deadline.

First problem: Hard drive is making funny, loud noises.

I'm not a computer expert but I know that when my computer is making noise louder than the music playing on the CD player, it's not good. My conversation with my husband went like this.

"My computer is acting really funny. It's making a lot of noise."
"What kind of noise?"
"I don't know. A noise. It's loud."
"What does it sound like?"
Picture me giving a really lame attempt at duplicating the noise for my husband and him laughing at me. I'm normally very happy to amuse my husband but as I mentioned, I had a deadline looming and I didn't share the humor.

A few disk clean ups and updates later and the noise is gone and hasn't been back since. I think I'm on a roll. I have plenty of time to finish my manuscript. I'm rolling along each day and then...

Second problem: I notice my monitor is a little sluggish starting up in the morning. Not only that but it refused to come out of sleep mode unless I rebooted the computer. And then, just a week before my manuscript was finished, my 22" Samsung monitor died. I loved this monitor. It was perfect. It fit perfectly on my desk and it was crisp and clear and it just died on me.

I'll spare you the shock and horror, but let's just say, I have a wonderful husband and leave it at that. He reminds me the monitor is only 2 years old and still under warranty. Here's how the conversation went with the Tech Support line.

"Good news. Your monitor is still under warranty so all you have to do is return it to a dealer and it will be fixed for free."
"Where is the closest dealer." (He tells me it's three states away.)
"But you can ship it and we'll ship it back to you."
"How long will that take?"
"Three to four weeks."
I calmly explain to him that my manuscript is due in 7 days and that's not going to work. He doesn't seem moved by my pleas to expedite the process. I'm a reasonable woman. I understand the workings of Technical Support and where I rank in the relative scheme of things. I thank him and tell him the monitor will be on it's way shortly. In the meantime I'm frantic and think of the possibilities, for which I'll admit I'm blessed to have many.

1. Use my husband computer, which he kindly offers immediately. Yes, it will work, but like all men, my husband likes to work in what I call "the cave". (Basement) I tried that once years ago and know that my creativity doesn't flow very well when I'm looking at concrete walls and worrying about spiders. On the other hand, he has no problem with it and enjoys working in his cave. Plus it's right next to the boiler and every time someone takes a shower (I have 4 teenagers) it kicks on.

2. Use the kids' computer. Yes, a possibility, but do I really want to sit at their sticky desk? When was the last time they cleaned it? I opt for using their monitor with my computer instead. As I said, I have 4 teenagers and THAT went over real well for about 3 hours until someone wanted to use the computer.

I'm a creature of habit and I'm frazzled and my husband recognizes that look of panic he's seen in me during the 20 or so manuscripts I've written. It's been a tough winter all around. It's spring. My husband suggests we buy a new monitor. Within hours he's hooking up a new 22" monitor on my desk, which I'll admit I love as much as my Samsung, especially since it was on sale! The kids will get the refurbished monitor for their computer so they're happy. My manuscript, Yuletide Protector, is finished on time and out the door so I'm happy. And my husband is happy because he doesn't have to listen to me in crazy mode anymore.

Through the years Murphy's Law has messed with me quite a bit. One day I'll tell you the story about two bridesmaids dresses for two different weddings. How has Murphy's Law messed with you? Share your funny story. It's spring. I think we could all use a good laugh.

Until next time, many blessings, Lisa Mondello


HollyJacobs said...

Oh, Lisa, I'm so, so sorry about the problems! Glad you got the new monitor, though!! I just broke down and bought a new laptop a month it. The old one worked, but was old and I decided to head off Murphy. Then I found an awesome deal on desktops. My desktop is older than the old laptop, so I bit the bullet and bought one. It's on its way. With a new monitor!

Hoping you've seen the last of Murphy for a while!


Lisa Mondello said...

Preventative measures. I love that, Holly. With all the writing you do you deserve a new laptop and desktop. Good luck with the shiny new equipment and thanks for stopping by!

HollyJacobs said...

Lisa, The one great thing about the economy right now is that there are such great deals. I spent less o both of these than I did on just the laptop when I bought the old one!

Wishing you a non-Murphy month!


Pat Davids said...

I'm falling out of my chair laughing. Thanks for the peek into your writing world. It's comforting to know it's just as crazy as mine.