As expected, just when things started looking pretty good for me, something bad had to come along. My HP laptop, which has shared an interesting five years of my life, has decided to call it quits. Actually, I don’t know what the problem is; it’s just not engaging when I turn it on. I could take it to a repair shop, but what bothers me is that it may cost more to repair than it’d be to replace, and if that’s the case, I’m doubly sunk as I lack the funds to follow either path. Unfortunately, I’d been using my computer at work for classroom use – videos, PowerPoint displays, and music – and I think that extra usage helped to send my baby to the Great Motherboard in the Sky.
I wouldn’t mind getting a new laptop – and desktop computer, for that matter – but there’s an issue over what I like to playfully call funding. As in, I have none. My real problem is that I’m so close to realizing my dream of paying off a credit card that I don’t want to do anything to send it back into the stratosphere. I’ve had this card for a good while and it’s had a lot of use. I’d planned to pay off this card a decade ago, but I lost my (then) job, and my plans were shelved. Since then, the balanced doubled (car repairs, balance transfers, etc.), and I’ve been struggling to bring it down. I’m now pretty close – I’m thinking that within a year, I could realize my goal. I was ecstatic this weekend when I realized that I could do it.
And that’s not even a problem. I mean, a quick look at computers today told me that, at least for a laptop, I’d probably spend about $800 to get what I want. Now, that’s more than I’d like to spend, but it would have the things I consider important, including 8GB of RAM, and a recent graphics card. It’s something that would set me back a good three months, meaning that I would finish the card in about 16 months, instead of the twelve that I’m currently facing. I didn’t get a chance to look at desktop towers, but I’m guessing that something comparable would cost comparable. Add in a new monitor and MS Office, and the price goes up to about $1200. Again, way more than I’d like to spend, but I’d get some longevity out of it in return. My current desktop computer is eight years old. My monitor is almost twice that. I can make do for the time being, I suppose. They both work (obviously), but I don’t know for how much longer. It really comes down to whether it’s more important to free up some credit, or replace one (or both) of my computers. That’s a tough choice.
The school allows me to sign out a campus computer for the day, but I’ve been reluctant to do that. In the beginning, it was as easy as signing your name to a log sheet. Then, someone awoke and said, “We’ve got to make this process more pointless than it already is.” And they did. I went in one semester to sign out a computer (this incident is why I began to use my private laptop for work), and the “assistant” there put me through some process that took nearly twenty minutes. Worse, the “assistant” was a kid I’d had in class the semester previously, who acted as if he didn’t know who I was. (He was a jerk, to be honest.) I’m all for following the rules, but give me a break: I’m using the computer in a room two doors down, not on the other side of the planet.
When I went to sign out a computer yesterday – some years since the last debacle – I learned that the office two doors down doesn’t even handle campus computers anymore; I had to walk clear across campus to a new office. That was a nice surprise that I’m sure my swollen knee and injured ankle enjoyed. Yes, a good quarter-mile hike (and back) to get a computer – that I don’t even want – to show PowerPoint slides – that no one will watch. My guess is that unless there’s a sudden influx of cash (ha-ha-ha), then I’ll have to use the campus equipment until at least early summer.
That’s just grand, isn’t it?