Weather Forecast


Andrea's column: One step forward, two back

With the cold drawn out winter we've had, Minnesotans are anxious to pack away their thick mittens, hats and wooly coats. Bundling up is a lot of work, isn't it?

That reminds me of one of my ideas to save money in the New Year. Friends have recommended I contact the local cable company and inquire about combining Internet, phone and television services. Last month, I made the call.

I learned bundling the services would save my husband and me a hefty sum of money every month. "Okay, let's do it," said my hubby when he found out. I made an appointment to have a technician come to our house and set up everything.

The man was on time, friendly and informative, but when he went outside to do some work, I smelled cigarette smoke. My sinuses blew up like balloons. When he came back inside, I asked, in as pleasant a voice as possible, if he smokes. He nodded his head in affirmation.

"Did you just have a cigarette outside?" I asked. He did. I assured him that, as a former smoker, I understand but that second-hand smoke is a problem for me now. I coughed a couple of times for emphasis. He called for another person to take over.

The day I set up that appointment, the person I dealt with couldn't assure me the email address I wanted was available and she failed to mention that once my new Internet service was up and running, my old service would be kaput. That meant I had only the time the installer was downstairs to inform the people in my address book of my new location.

I went through my email address book and came across many unrecognizable names. People who must have hit "reply to all" in response to a missive from a friend we have in common. There were also many names that were clever but gave no hint as to the identity of their owner.

I was still deleting people as the worker wrapped up his work and I lost my former email service. I printed a list with all the names and referred to it as I typed the information into my new address book.

A day later, half-way through the job, my daughter called. I explained my tedious task and she mentioned the word "export" as though I should know what it meant. Right about that time, I questioned the need to send and receive emails at all.

When it hit me I would need to do the same thing with my laptop. I turned over the problem to a professional. No sooner did he finish the job than a pop-up told me the battery on the notebook needed to be replaced.

A week later, another warning informed me I needed a new adapter or the battery would no longer charge. I calculated the ages -- nearly 8 and 10 years -- of my two work stations and spoke with the expert who keeps them going.

"Borrowed time" is what the diagnosis boiled down to. A chill settled upon me as I thought about the bundle it would cost to replace the tools that are essential to my work. Probably every cent I was saving with the new package. Brr.