October 26, 2009

Apples to Apples (an update)

Thanks to all of you who thought of me last Tuesday. Yes, it happened as predicted (for the fourth or fifth time). Apple came out with its new iMacs!

Only one problem -- no update on the 24" one that I had sitting in its box in the front hallway.

So, what to do?  Here were my three choices:

1. Send back the unopened, 24" one, at my expense, in exchange for the new 21.5" one (that has the same amount of RAM) which was due to be in stock in 5-7 business days and then shipped out, maybe. A net savings on this deal would be about $130 but the time added to my already accumulated month would be another two weeks, easy.

2. Send back the 24" one, again at my expense, in exchange for the new 27" one (obscene, really) with a stocking date to be announced and a shipping date some time after that, maybe. This option would cost me about $500 extra. The time on this one would be even more than the time on the first option.

3. Open the damned box in the hallway and get back to work.

After consulting various friends and relatives who were as obsessed with the debut of the iMacs as I was, (probably due to my keeping them apprised of it day in and day out for some weeks) and finding out that, since I had originally opted for a bit more in the 24" one, even though it is old now, I wouldn't be missing out on much just keeping it and moving on.
So, you can guess what I did.

October 20, 2009

The Apple of My Eye

As a part-time web designer, I, of course, work on a Mac. The iMac from about 2005 that I have (a dinosaur in computer time) died a slow and painful death about a month ago. All was backed up by Hubby on his server in the basement, once again making me really feel for people who don't have a computer genius in the house.

After combing craigslist for nearly new Macs, and with a birthday coming up, we decided I could splurge on a brand new iMac. I ordered the 24-inch screen, 4 gigs of memory (I'm a memory hog when I work), loads of other things that don't matter as much, and got a free printer thrown in with the deal. Oh, joy!

This was September 26th.

I calculated the arrival to be on September 30th. Instead of a delivery, I received the first of many phone calls from Kevin at MacMall.

"I'm sorry, but we are out of iMacs and Mac Minis because Apple is rumored to be announcing upgrades of these computers."

A bit of clarification -- unlike most companies which continue to produce an item and simply add a new item to their inventory, Apple stops manufacturing the model that it is planning to unveil in a new and improved version. Those models disappear from Apple stores and, unfortunately, from Kevin at MacMall. Then, everyone speculates about when Apple will roll out the newbies. So, I got caught up in the vortex of swirling anticipation that Steve Jobs creates every time he has a new release. After all, the new one is reported to be totally awesome and less expensive. All I have to do is be a little patient.

"Apple usually rolls out a new version of a model every 203 days. It's been 227 days for the iMac and the last upgrade didn't do much to improve, so, they must be coming out with something soon."

This is the kind of hard-hitting, reliable intel you can get from the myriad Mac Rumor sites.

"They always announce a new release on Tuesdays."

"No, this year, it's going to be on Wednesday, October 7th."

October 7th came and went very quietly.

"Now they're saying October 9th."

Also quiet.

"Well, let's go back to the Tuesday idea -- October 13th."


After much discussion with Kevin (who has Mac colleagues, another dependable source of information), and dovetailing with the Tuesday idea, we decide that it must be October 20th. Another reason that it's got to be this time is that Microsoft is releasing a new version of it's operating system this week and Apple wants to steal their thunder.

Guess what happened yesterday, October 19th? Our friendly UPS driver delivered an "old" iMac to my house.

Hmm...I am both excited and angry. I was waiting patiently! What are they doing sending me the computer I ordered?

I call Kevin.

Me: "How can this be? I thought there weren't any more 'old' iMacs."

Kevin: "Don't open it" he says conspiratorily. "They're going to announce tomorrow."

So, today is D-Day, or, should I say "A-Day".

Think of me when they make the announcement on the news, or don't.

October 14, 2009

Making the Grade

Yesterday marked the first parent-teacher conference of the school year. My last child, Maya (eight years old, in third grade) is proving to be my most intriguing one when it comes to schoolwork. I did have a taste of things to come with my second daughter, but nothing like this. (She ended up turning into a straight-A student, just like her other two siblings.)

But not Maya.

Here is a child who has memorized her times tables up to 11 just for fun, but has trouble with one-digit addition and subtraction. (I guess multiplication is more glamorous.)

She can navigate you to our farm 100 miles away with all the twists and turns involved but can't find the hospital on a cartoon map of a generic city.

She can spell any word she's seen once, but refuses to "circle the spelling word in the following sentence" and such.

So, as you may have guessed, her grades are not too hot. The teacher (who is no fool after a quarter century of dealing with this demographic) knows that Maya knows her stuff, but recommends that she slow down and take care and review her work and go for extra points when available. All great advice. There's only one problem.

Maya doesn't care about her grades.

This morning as she cuddled up in bed with me, I asked her about her track record so far in school.

"So, Maya, what do you think about your grades?"

"I don't care. Grades are just stupid numbers."

After 20 years of teaching, myself, I had come to the same conclusion, so I really had nothing to say to her. I just laughed and gave her a big hug and hoped that, someday, she will care about what she produces. I'm pretty sure she will.

It just won't be grades.

October 5, 2009

Material Girl

Thanks to all who sent out encouraging thoughts this past weekend as we conquered the planting of 1,000 little aronia berry seedlings. It must have worked because all went swimmingly! In farming, the odds for such success are usually against us.

Kim, Rick, John, and Dec all showed up to help. Thank you all! Without you, it wouldn't be done now. A nice lunch was had by all. Andre stayed late to make sure each tiny plant was watered in.

During a break in the planting, Andre had gone into town (about 10 minutes away) with Maddie. After what seemed like longer than it should have been for them to return, Maya voiced the same thing that Dec and I were thinking..."where are Dad and Maddie? They've been gone a long time."

"Hmm. I don't know. I wonder what's keeping them." I responded.

Maya replied, "Maybe they've been murdered."

"Oh, I doubt it, Honey. Don't worry." I assured her. After all, it's not hunting season quite yet.

After a pregnant pause, Maya found a silver lining to her dire scenario.

"If they're dead, I call Dad's Blackberry!"

She'll text you with the details of the funeral.


October 1, 2009

Wish Us Luck

When you're taking a break from your usual activities this weekend, maybe enjoying a cold beer or a glass of wine, maybe sitting through a commercial while watching a favorite TV show, take a moment to send out some positive thoughts to your old friends at Double K Farms.

This weekend, we are hoping to plant 1,000 baby aronia berry plants on our farm. If you haven't heard, aronias are the latest superfood. They are higher in polyphenols and antioxidants than blueberries and are reported to fight cancer!

In order to accomplish this somewhat monumental feat, we need the following (focus those positive thoughts):

- the cooperation of Mother Nature (right now, she's a bit rainy)

- the help of good friends and family (got it! Thanks, everyone. You're the best!)

- the tractors to work properly

- the tires on the tractors and carts to stay inflated

- the deer not to take too much interest in the little plants

- and whatever else I haven't anticipated (and I'm sure there are at least a couple of things that fit this category!)

Thanks, in advance, for your warm wishes.

May all the harmonies converge this weekend in southwestern Iowa!