Sunday, February 24, 2008

fixing things...

Here is another attempt at loading a video. This one of Gresham was taken a few months ago using our web cam. It's a little shaky and sort-of makes you dizzy when you watch. So, hold on. My digital camera doesn't produce any sound so I can't use it to record. It's amazing how much they learn in such a short time.

Today, I did another one of those "learn as you go" things.

Our home PC has been acting funny for days. Ildi asked me to look at it and figure out what was going on. I spent the better part of the day today looking through files, getting online to check prices out on anti-this and anti-that, and capturing pictures of the dialogue boxes that came up. I emailed my trusted DADY'S friends and told them of the problem. I even mentioned that I would be willing to do a remote assistance with someone who could help me.

As I was digging around, I noticed the System Restore button located in the accessories section. After reading about it for a moment I decided to do a restore to Jan. 4th. Why that date you might ask. Well, my computer was not having any problems in January! When it was all said and done, and the computer rebooted, no more pop up dialogue boxes, no more flashing red X on the screen, no more red X on my hard drive icon, no more problem! I went ahead and backed all the pictures and files up on disk just in case though :)

Saturday, February 23, 2008

remote assistance...

I am excited about a new option that I just stumbled onto. The ability to help, and get help from others through the remote assistance option. For those of you that already know about this feature, forgive me. For those that don't, here's how it works.

Let' say you have a problem with your computer and you don't know how to fix it. Or, you don't know how to use a certain application like Excel. You can invite someone to view your computer and actually give them control so they can walk you through the process.

Obviously it will need to be someone you know and trust. And, it will need to be someone who as Windows XP at least.

As a school teacher, and part of a large district network, I have had several people help me on my school personal computer this way. I was sure that it was only because we were on the same network. But, as I found out, all of it can be done live over the internet!

On your start menu, open up All programs. On XP it is listed (remote assistance), on Vista it is located under Maintenance. You then have a choice to get help or give help. Choose one. I have found that saving a file "invitation" on the desktop and attaching it to an email works the best. Next, email a friend and attach the request for help. They will open the invitation and be able to see your desktop on their computer! Of course you will get a message asking if is OK for them to do this. They may also ask you, with your permission, to take control of your computer. They move your mouse, open your programs, and work on your computer from their location. Sounds crazy huh?

It's fascinating to me and since I have the time, I am learning quite a bit about "fixing" things.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

life's lessons cont...

So after the change of attitude (which I wasn't doing that well with) the thought of fixing it didn't seem that bad. I ended up taking Ildi's advice and I got online and looked up more information. This time I Google searched "replacing a motor coupling". WOW! I got tons of information and even some pictures of my EXACT washer parts. Now I was acually EXCITED to fix it. I had information, pictures, and a step by step narrative. All I needed now was the part. I got on Whirpool's website and ordered a new coupling. $18.89 including shipping in all. It would be seven days before it arrived, but I had the time to wait on it. The part came on a Monday and Nolan was ready to get started on it. After dinner, I told Ildi that we would repair it, put it back together, then see if it works. However, if it didn't work, or there were any gliches, I was going to Costco before they closed to pick a new washer. By this time, I had resolved that it would probably work and I wouldn't have to buy a new one. Low and worked. We did have an initial funny smell and a little leaking, but after a little more research, and taking it apart again to adjust some parts, we are free and clear to wash again!
In retrospect, I realized several of life's lessons. Lessons God had shown me before but apparently had forgotten. Choosing to have a good attitude helps everyone. Mostly me. When problems arrive, if I take the time to try to figure it out and deal with it, I grow in His grace. Who's life is it anyway? When I get angry that something or someone is taking my time, I have to think about the way I am spending my time in spite of the situation I am in.
Fixing a washer is probably an easy thing to do for someone who is mechanically inclined. Sort-of like teaching a whole grip of junior high students art is for me. I am glad first that our washer works. Beats going to the laundrymat! Second, that I listened to Ildi and fixed it myself. It gives me more confidence in my ability to fix things and more trust in God that He is still on about me growing in grace.

Saturday, February 9, 2008

life's lessons...

So a couple of weeks ago our washer broke down. Ildi said that after it had filled with water and began to agitate, it suddenly started making a high-piched sound. She checked it out and the tub wasn't moving at all. When I got home from school, the usual greetings happened. I barely get out of the van and I have six WONDERFUL children running to hug me, kiss me, and tell me of their wondeful events of the day. As I get into the house Nolan casually mentions that "the washer broke today" and leaves it at that. After I spend a few minutes talking to Ildi I check out the washer only to come to the conclusion that it is indeed broken. Oh well, we just get a new one I think. Little did I realize that God was going to use my broken washer to change a HEEP of ideas and attitudes that I had.
To start with, my first idea was just to replace it. Who has time to fix something you don't know how to fix? After awhile, Ildi encouraged me to try to fix it myself with the attitude that it "couldn't be that hard". This sort-of made me angry. What does she mean that it couldn't be that hard? Has she ever torn a washer apart to try to fix not knowing anything about the way the washer works? Would she be the one pulling parts apart not sure if she would remember which part went where?
So to start with, God was already starting to deal with my attitude about doing something that I did not want to do. Sure I saw the benefit of trying to tackle the unknown, learning something new, feeling the pleasure of fixing something myself and saving several hundreds of dollars. But I still had the attitude. I sat on it for a few days and allowed the Lord to change my attitude. I wasn't doing very well with the yielding part though. Idli had done a little research online and continued to encourage me to fix it myself. Eventually, and after a couple of night trips to the laundrymat, I decided that I was just going to buy a washer. Costco on Saturday convinced me that for a mere $400. my trouble would be solved. I resolved to just buy the washer and be done with it. Then God again. What was I bucking in fixing it myself? Why had I had such a bad attitude about fixing it? I felt like God didn't necessarily want me to fix the washer, but He sure did want me to have a good attitude about other possibilities than buying a new one.
So, Nolan and I took the back of the washer off to "figure" out how to fix it. It took us a few hours only to realize that nothing is gained by taking the back of a washer off. A few more days pass and I decide to look under the washer to see what I can see. I had done a little reading online and as well, found an old receipt from a man who had replaced the motor coupler. Ildi said that when he fixed it, it only took him 15 minutes or so. And, if he could do it that quickly, I could probably fix it as well. She also said other things as well. Like: "this could be practice for you fixing or farm equipment", and "I'm sure that you can find something online that will walk you through the whole process". I still wasn't 100 percent convinced and still had the lingering attitude. Anyway, I stumbled onto the problem, and it seemed to be the motor coupling. I moved the coupling around and had Asher watch the tub. It moved around. I had found the problem. Now the question was how to fix it.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

drawing to a close...

Our time here in NC fells like it is drawing to a close. Now that we have lived here for six months, we are on the downhill of our stay in this state. Both Ildi and I have decided that we are definatley Ohio bound by the summer. We have talked about it, prayed about it, and really want to move up toward family and friends in Northwest Ohio. I just sent out an application to the school system that I went to as a child. The office said they had a few people retiring this year, and I think the Art teacher I had in Junior High id one of them. It would be great to teach at the same place I went to school. And, we have spent time making friends with some families that live inthe area. The only setback will be the TWO MORE tests I need to take to get an Ohio credential.