Slices of Life: The great laptop crash and other daily foibles

My laptop had an unfortunate run-in with water. Laptops and water don’t mix. Water always wins.

Jill Pertler
Jill Pertler

Dear readers —

Some days are not quite like any others. Yesterday was one of those days.

It started at 5:34 a.m. — early, like all of my favorite days do (not). I awoke with the birds and had a happy thought:

It’s Tuesday. I have a deadline to send two columns to newspapers today, and I wrote three columns last night. Yay for me, the overachiever! Working ahead. You can do it, Jill!

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I yawned, rubbed my eyes and puttered downstairs to grab a cup of coffee and my laptop.

It wasn’t in its usual spot (the laptop, not the coffee).

Maybe I’d brought it upstairs before bed. I trudged up the steps, my legs still heavy with sleep. I scanned the bedroom, looking on the table where I typically set my computer.

No go. The table was empty. Maybe I wasn’t seeing things. I headed back downstairs.

My activity must have woken one of my sons because he followed me down the steps.

“I can’t find my laptop,” I told him.

“Oh,” he said. “We put it over here,” as he pointed to the dining room table. “Some water got spilled on it last night.”


At first I didn’t understand the gravity of the situation. My laptop had an unfortunate run-in with water. Laptops and water don’t mix.

Water always wins.

The laptop contained my columns, but it also contained all my journal entries since my husband passed away in November. The content was more valuable than a Visa card; in a word, priceless.

I wanted to cry. (OK, maybe I did just a little.)

It was beyond dumb of me to not have a backup, I know. Ugh. But no amount of ughs will bring back 20,000 words of journal entries. Double ugh just the same.

Google’s advice? Let the laptop air out for 48 hours (duh). Wait. And hope.

I did all three.

In the meantime, however, I needed a column. Just one. I no longer had the luxury of three. I had to find a Plan B to get me through the week.


Did I mention I am moving? Half of my belongings were still at the “old” house; the other half were at the cabin at the lake. My other computer, and only secondary source of my writing work, was at the latter 2.5 hours away. I didn’t have any other option.

I headed toward the car and headed it toward the lake. I figured as a last ditch effort, I could send a previously published column to buy me some time until the next week.

I got to the cabin and booted up the computer.

The mouse wouldn’t work.

I switched out the batteries, but no go. Apparently my mouse had died. What are the chances?

I headed to the store for a new mouse.

I got back and got my power cords aligned. My new mouse scurried and navigated just like a mouse is supposed to do. I was back on track.

Then my keyboard went offline. (I am not making this up.)


I tried rebooting my computer. Three times.

After a fair amount of sweat, pleading and prayer, my mouse was finally talking with the computer and the keyboard was talking with both.

I found a column and sent it to editors. My work was complete.

The day started earlier than I wanted. It included more challenges and unexpected situations than I wanted. Some might even call it a bad day.

But in the end, it turned out OK. I met my deadline. Editors were satisfied. I lived to write another week.

On the plus side, I got some extra time at the lake, and an idea for a column.

Maybe the day wasn’t so bad after all.

Jill Pertler is an award-winning syndicated columnist, published playwright, author and member of the National Society of Newspaper Columnists. Don’t miss a slice; follow the Slices of Life page on Facebook.

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