Metal on metal rings throughout the neighborhood. Mist rises from melting snow as rain softly drizzles. The weather has warmed enough that the air fuzzes like wet socks. Smells like them, too. Spring does not emerge fresh as the laundry commercials would make us believe. My neighbor — I’ll call him Chester because he shares traits with Molly Steven’s cantankerous yet affable character — chisels ice. Hammer strikes chisel, over and over and I pretend I’m living next door to Michelangelo.
My huge west-facing windows give me access to the first tremors of spring. Yesterday I watched Chester, and other neighbors rake their roofs with extendable handles on devices to scrape snow. Many business owners hire crews to shovel snow from rooftops. A few have collapsed from the heavy loads. A few warm days above freezing loosens the snow. Others are in driveways chiseling ice with metal blades. Our bit of pavement slowly emerges, and earlier I attempted to shovel scoopfuls of dirty slushie.
The snow piles are not retreating as fast, though. It leaks like a punctured bag of milk with nowhere to go. Massive piles sink and slowly dry up like bleached corn husks. It’s also not over. On Sunday, I watched 47 North’s run-through for their upcoming performance at the Continental Fire Company March 29. Awakenings tells the story in dance how we go from darkness to light. The final dance melds both, shadow selves dancing in the spotlight. We left the studio to face a full-blown blizzard. Three dancers got their vehicles stuck. Days later and neighbors are raking roofs.
It’s hard work to chisel ice dams, but the reward is a roof free of snow, and the risk of leaks subsides.
Working underground in the copper mines was wet work at times. Chiseling copper while rivulets of water poured from ceilings and ran down the burly arms of miners had to be uncomfortable. Was standing in water cooling to feet bearing the weight of heavy work? They say the temperatures deep in the mines stay cool, not turning cold in winter or hot in summer. People adapt.
And I’m adapting to my new laptop — The Majik Runoff MacCanles Macaroo That Peterbilt. Macaroo didn’t give me as tough of a learning curve as I thought. Relief settled fully on Monday night when my Techie arrived with special equipment to read and transfer my data from its hard drive. Over the weekend I worked with several Apple Techs to resolve a few issues, including Macaroo’s refusal to let me into the world of Word Press. It extended from an earlier solution to a double ID.
For years, I’ve had an iPod Shuffle and amassed a collection of music. But when we traded in our phones for iPhone 7s, Verizon told us we had to establish an Apple ID. I didn’t realize I already had one because it wasn’t called an Apple ID. Add to the situation that I have two Gmail accounts, wires were getting crossed. One technician had me sign out of my new Apple Id and sign in with the new one — and that requires doing so in multiple places, not just on the devices.
My phone failed to adapt to the new old me and Macaroo no longer recognized mama, and when prompted to update software, my laptop with the pedigree of Carrot Ranch names dared to tell me I had to buy the software because I was not the person who purchased the device. Argh! I just wanted to listen to my Apple music on my Apple products!
Monday dawned with more Apple Tech calls and a melancholy matched by soggy skies after the Sunday blizzard. Basically, I had to choose — my devices recognizing me or listening to my music on my devices. But I’m more than adaptable. I’m a writer, and I can think through “what if” scenarios faster the latest Intel processor. This leads me to parental controls — a feature that allows parents to manage the IDs of their brood with theirs. So, on Monday, I officially adopted myself. As my child, my elder ID can now be controlled on and by my younger devices. A bit backward maybe but it works.
Norah Colvin, the original Rough Writer at Carrot Ranch who arrived in March of 2014 when I launched the first 99-word challenge, invited me to be her first interview for a new series called School Days, Reminiscences. Norah asks stirring questions that made me think of stories I hadn’t thought of in a long time and helped me make connections I hadn’t realized. You can read our interview here. I was ready to jump in and join the conversation generated, but Macaroo refused to let me even like anything. I could sign into Word Press, but then I’d get locked out.
I thought the ID solution would resolve the Word Press one but alas it did not. By the time my daughter arrived home from work, I had that glazed-over-I’m-ready-to-take-a-hammer-to-technology look on my face. It would have been the perfect time to go for a walk but there is nowhere outdoors to walk, and snowshoes don’t work when snow turns to slush and husks. Water was starting to run but not deep enough to canoe. Radio Geek patted my shoulder and tapped a sequence that brought up my passwords where a caution sign showed at WP. Apple’s built-in security feature just needed me to adapt to its new environment.
Best of all was when Techie showed up later and spent almost four hours with me after having worked all day. He gets a lifetime supply of beer from me. Or babysitting. Or cat washing. Anything. He rescued all my data — everything! Even my latest Scrivener files which I faithfully, but erroneously, backed up to DropBox. I’m now taking a tutorial to make sure I don’t make that mistake again! When I opened the Scrivener project Miracle of Ducks, and it opened up intact (instead of the version from three years ago) I whooped and hollered. Flooded with relief, I could hardly stand, my knees wobbling.
Techie slid my old hard drive into a reader and transferred data as if it were a flash-drive. Macaroo grabbed all the files, and we only had a few quirks. I thought I’d be hours resetting up my folders. He backed up my DropBox and taught me how to use the Time Machine. Every day I backup the Time Machine onto an external hard drive. I transferred Microsoft Office to Macaroo’s OS, and now all my files are saved in One Cloud and iCloud. I’m going to get rid of DropBox and use Google Drive for sharing files. After all, I have two Gmails.
But that’s not all — I’m mouse free! After all, the bright and exciting stories last week about mice (and even grice), turns out Macaroo doesn’t need a Magic Mouse. The Apple Techs adviced me to learn gestures for the trackpad and Techie gave me driving tips. I’m all about the trackpad now. I’ve even learned a few shortcuts. Tuesday, I completed most of my internet files (another vast frontier of transference). But it is all set up, and I’m at the Ranch as me, not a lurker and not an Apple ID.
I’m ready to break out the hammer and chisel with Keweenaw Chester. Not to crumble the icy hold of winter but to harken the return of creativity unburdened by technical difficulties. Thanks for standing by with me!
March 14, 2019, prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story that includes a chisel. Use chisel as a noun or a verb. Think about what might be chiseled, who is chiseling. Be the chisel. Go where the prompt leads!
Respond by March 19, 2019. Use the comment section below to share, read and be social. You may leave a link, pingback or story in the comments. If you want to be published in the weekly collection, please use the form. Rules & Guidelines.
First Day Volunteers (from Miracle of Ducks) by Charli Mills
“I found something, Dr. Gordon.” Danni followed the volunteer who grinned.
She noted the group was digging near the mystery foundation. She expected these greenhorn volunteers to soon lose interest. Ruby City held no treasure. Danni confirmed the woman had found the edge of a tool. She instructed the group to continue peeling back layers centimeters at a time.
To her surprise, they did. At the end of the day, the volunteers left what looked like a chisel in situ. Two days later they cheered its liberation. Danni realized her first day fear of volunteers was unfounded. She grinned.