August 25, 2008


We built a computer!We spent a few hours each day last week assembling the components we had purchased before Jerry left for camp.I tried to follow the instructions in our book, Building the Perfect PC, but since we were using different components than they used in the book it was a little tricky.
We ended up using a combination of the book, the manuals that came with the components, and various You Tube videos.
Basically, I read the instructions and Jerry did all the assembly.
During the building process we discovered that one of the architects that's been working on our deck started out as a computer engineer so we asked him to take a look at what we had done before we plugged in the PC. He said it all looked good but I was still worried.

I hemmed and hawed and checked connections and re-read manuals until Jerry finally said "Mom! Quit stalling! Let's just turn it on!"

So I held my breath as he hit the power switch. I was waiting for a small explosion but nothing happened. Nothing at all. Then Jerry remembered to hit the power switch on the back of the tower as well and I held my breath again, still waiting for the little sizzle and spark that would end our PC building project. But instead I heard the gentle whir of a fan and saw blue lights illuminate the sides of the PC tower and the screen came to life. It worked!

We jumped up and down and watched the screen, then realized we didn't know what to do next. The windows disc was in the CD/DVD drive but nothing was happening. I spent some time trying to solve the problem on my own while Jerry kept saying "Let's just ask Shawn" (he's the architect/computer guy). But we had come this far on our own and I didn't want to ask for assistance just yet. In the end we went out for a scone and coffee to settle my nerves and came back and asked for help. Shawn adjusted some settings in the BIOS and the computer was up and running in about two seconds. It was amazing.

Once Windows had loaded Jerry was busily clicking through screens and setting things up while I stood behind him saying "Wait! Did you read that? What did that screen say? Don't go so fast! What did you just put in the trash? You might need that!" He finally stopped what he was doing and said "Mom, you're ruining all the excitement. You need to calm down. Come sit in the living room."

"I can't," I said. "I have to make lunch." And I went back to stirring the pasta that had been cooking on the stove.

Jerry sighed and shook his head. He came over and started massaging my shoulders as I stirred. Then, in a very relaxed and mature voice he said, "Calm down, Mom. You're really taking the fun out of it. It's going to be fine." And it was fine. Until Jerry threw something in the trash that shouldn't have been trashed and Windows didn't work any more and nothing we did would make it work again. But that didn't happen until Sunday. I'm talking about Friday right now.

So Jerry stopped me from outwardly freaking out and I patted myself on the back because in spite of the fact that I'm a complete spaz, I must be doing something right in the parenting department because that was a very impressive display of maturity coming from a 12-year-old.

Of course, when Sunday came around and windows wouldn't open and we kept getting the same cryptic message over and over again I started freaking out all over again. I really, really, really had to work hard to keep myself from shouting "I TOLD YOU SO!" Though I'm sure I said a few things that imparted a similar message. In the end though we thanked our lucky stars for our new housemate because when Xi Quan came over to pick up his keys Jerry asked him to take a look at the computer and he fixed the problem in no time at all. Having and electrical engineer in the house is already making our lives easier!

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