Dallas Mommy Blogger Takes on the Blue Screen of Death

blue screen of deathI have been plagued for the last week with the blue screen of death on my PC. It started when the hubs was out of town, both the 2 year old princess was sick and getting up in the middle of the night and the pugs were also getting up just an hour or so after the princess each night… It was also the same morning that I accidentally set the alarm off in the house and didn’t remember the pass code so the police came by to check to ensure that I was in fact the resident which I don’t know how they possibly could have verified while I was in my robe with my hair in a spa towel, not a stitch of makeup on and a drivers license photo that is 10 years, several pounds and a few hair colors old. But yet, they did — thankfully.

The hubs came home. The child started sleeping through the night again and the pugs regained their weighted position on my pillow and on my feet. But the blue screen continued. Never when I was actually using the computer so that I might have an opportunity to diagnose the problem of course, always while I was away from it. Taunting me. Muhahahaha.

After several frustrating days of researching error messages in Google and pretending like I understand computer geek, and doing a self-diagnosis (after all, no one knows your computer better than Momma does right?) I decided either go to the Apple store and drink the Kool-Aid thereby spending the Princess’s College Fund on a complete transformation to all things Mac or it was most assuredly corrupted RAM.

RAM sounded the cheaper route. But I didn’t have time to wait for a technician so I had to do this one myself. I needed my computer for work so off I went to Fry’s today to pick up some RAM. I had no idea what or how much, but by golly I wasn’t leaving until they sold me some. And if the package happened to have a new iMac in it by mistake, well, so be it.

Cute tall boy Jonathan had the unfortunate luck of the draw of asking “Ma’am can I assist you with anything?” I thrust my receipt from my computer which was strangely 10 days away from being exactly 2 years old and explained the issue. He figured out which RAM I needed and I had the smarts to ask if he could demonstrate on a sample motherboard what I needed to do to put the RAM in my machine. I first asked how much it costs to have them do it ($34.95), and then said, “Yep, I’ll figure it out. Can’t be that hard right?” Besides I didn’t have the tower with me, I’d spend that much in gas and time going to get it and bring it back and wait for 5 days for them to get to it. Looked simple enough to me. If I got $34.95 to do that all day I’d be Richie Rich.

Of course I couldn’t leave Fry’s without something for Princess. If I can get the computer fixed, I may as well get her some software since she always wants to sit in my lap and hit keys and scoot my mouse all over my desk. Found what appeared to be some enticing toddler Sesame Street software that had Elmo all over it and away I went to check out – of course adding a $3.99 Pooh kite that was in the check-out lane. And some sour patch candy. I was hungry. Have you ever BEEN to Fry’s? It’s the longest checkout lane laden with every point-of-purchase crap you could imagine. I’m surprised I didn’t end up with a whole Dollar Store with me.

I get back to the home office and after extracating forty pound of curious pugs from my lap, take one panel of the computer off. It had these fat grab screws and a pull tab. I thought, “Geez, this is going to be easy.” Got it open and hmmm. Don’t think this is the right side. Pushed the pugs off of me again and put it back together. Okay, next side. These screws not so easy. Got them off, popped off the panel. DEFINITELY the wrong side. Sigh. Okay. Maybe I need to take the top off too to get to the motherboard? I can’t see any more screws to take it apart.

Back to the first side. It was more user-friendly, that had to be the right side. They designed it for people like me to be bribed into going to that side first obviously. I took the panel off again. It was the right side after all but geezums. How do you get in there?! It didn’t look like the mother board at the store. There was all this STUFF in the way.

blue-screen-of-death-smallStop, take breath. Email hubs, “I’m fixing my computer.” Attach photo.
I slowly try to get my hands in the computer and realize my necklaces are falling inside and clanking around on semiconductor chips, my ring is getting caught on the fan and my bracelets have my wrist trapped in the housing. My fingers are barely able to get in there. No wonder IT people are grumpy. Their big ole hands can’t fit in there and no women in their right mind would work all day without wearing jewelry.

Finally, I was able to remove the old RAM (or what I thought was the old RAM) and lock down the new set. I put all the plugs back into the back of the computer (I had taken a photo before I pulled them out just in case I forgot where something went) and turned it back on for the moment of truth.

I pushed the button. I heard power. The screen showed life. This is good so far.

Then it happened. A new error message. AAARRRRRGGGGHHHHH. Maybe I didn’t click them in right?

Hopped on the hubs’ computer to check. All I found was more geek speak for corrupted motherboards. Are you kidding me?! Static electricity zaps them? OMG, they can’t be that sensitive if gorilla hands works on them all day. I wasn’t buying it.

Back to the computer. I turned it off. Turned it on. Hit F11 because that seemed like something an IT person would do,  held my breath and closed my eyes. I kept them closed for a good minute. I peeked through and (insert angels singing) there was my Windows screen powering up.

I gingerly started poking at icons and screens. I toggled. I multitasked. I walked away and waited for the blue screen. Are you kidding me for real?! Do a jig! I just changed the freaking RAM in my computer! I don’t know if it fixed the problem or not, but it’s working!!! Now the real test is whether it’s still working in the morning. But for now – I’m feeling rather triumphant let me tell you!

Message back from hubs, “I was expecting to see it on the curb in pieces.” He’s so funny.

What he came home to was Princess playing her new Elmo game on Mommy’s computer.

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