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January 25, 2014

Josh Drespling: New 'companion' highlights family's Christmas presence

NEW CASTLE — The dust has finally settled.

The mountains of wrapping paper have been removed and the decorations have all been put away in their proper places. The last, lingering cookies have been disposed of and leftovers are long since forgotten. The whirlwind of yet another wonderful and joyous Christmas season has come and gone.

Now that we are nestled in with the cold winter chill of the new year, nearly a full four weeks removed from the holiday, I finally had the opportunity to sit down with my gift from Christmas.

What was initially the idea of my wife, turned into a family-wide gift for me. A gift that somewhat overwhelmed me due to the generosity it entailed.

Rather than buy me some little trinkets and insignificant items, she pulled together everybody several months before Christmas. My wife explained to them how badly I needed a new laptop and that she would love to get one for me for Christmas. However, to purchase one suited to my needs, considering all my design work and other freelance activities, would simply be cost prohibitive.

My old laptop was in ill repair. I had brought it back from the dead several times. It was saved from a bad run-in with a bottle of mouthwash that opened in my backpack one day. It also has several keys missing, which I eventually remedied by replacing the keyboard. However, the battery was long since past its life expectancy, and the power cord would not stay plugged in. The CD/DVD drive would work intermittently and I was getting more and more BSODs (Blue Screens of Death).

I fancy myself a savvy PC user, but it was only a matter of time until this old dependable companion would let me down no matter how many tricks I pulled out of my hat. It had served me well and the $1,000 I dropped on it six years ago had long since paid off.

Cut to Christmas morning. I am handed a strangely lightweight box. It was neatly wrapped and once I opened it, I found approximately 10 more small, individually wrapped boxes. As I unwrapped each and every one of them, I found them to contain clues. Several of them contained tiny pictures of my relatives. Others contained little trinkets. One had a skateboard eraser. Another contained a small piece of window screen. The two remaining boxes contained a key and small mouse toy for cats.

I quickly surmised that the pictures represented all the people who took part in making the gift happen, but I still had no idea what the gift was. Then it dawned on me — screen, mouse, key, and board. They were all parts of a computer!

When I announced my discovery, I was quickly handed a large, heavy present. As I unwrapped it, I could not believe my eyes as I saw the outside of the box. It really was a new laptop. This was an amazing development. I was surprised and humbled all at the same time. I couldn’t believe that I was receiving such an expensive gift.

It took me several weeks to find the time to set it up and migrate my digital existence to the new machine. It is, in fact, a process, not unlike moving into a new house. You think you have everything packed and ready to go, but the first night in the new house you have no idea where the bath towels are or even a glass to get a drink of water. 

I have slowly made the transition and have gotten the bulk of my software switched over and operating correctly. However, I can say that I am not a fan of Windows 8. What a debacle that system is, but that’s a subject for an entirely different blog.

I am just thankful that I have a wife who is so forward-thinking and thoughtful that she pulled it all together. Thank you VERY much to everybody who generously contributed to my new companion.

I promise, I will resist the urge to use it to take over the world (at least for now).

 

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