Monthly Archives: December 2010

On blood pressure and cell phones.

water damaged iPhone

Not exactly how my screen looks, but you get the idea.

On Monday night, I dropped my iPhone in water. I wasn’t doing the dishes or brushing my teeth, but I was trying to balance the phone (while I was talking on it) on the top of a glass of water so I could carry both the glass of water in one hand and a beer in the other (priorities, people). Well my brilliant multitasking plan quickly became brilliantly stupid — or rather, it was already brilliantly stupid, but it demonstrated how it was brilliantly stupid.  As you might guess, my phone slipped into the glass of water. (I know, I KNOW. It’s still painful for me to think about, much less confess to via the internet.)

I managed to spill my beer in the process, too, so things went like this —
((phone slips into water))
me: “(expletive!)”
((beer spills onto my bed))
me: “Double (expletive!)”

Needless to say, I’ve had better evenings. I yanked my phone out of the water and desperately tried to power it down.  It didn’t want to and the screen wouldn’t respond to my touch.

me: “(expletive!)”

I had to let it die on it’s own (of battery drainage . . . I didn’t know if it would totally die from the water exposure, but I wanted to hold onto some hope). I shoved it in a bag of uncooked rice and resolved to let it dry for a few days before I did anything drastic (like turn it on). A couple of days of alternating between pulling it out of the rice to turn on the hair dryer (on cool) and try to blow into the phone to get any remaining water out and letting it sit undisturbed for many hours, I decided it had to be dry enough. Yesterday, I pulled my phone out of the rice and (gulp!) plugged it into the charger.

It cheerfully chirped in that iPhone way to let me know that the battery was charging. (Awesome!) But the screen was really dim and when I turned it on, it didn’t respond to my touch. (Not awesome!) Somehow, though, over the next several hours, it began becoming more responsive and as of this morning, I could call, text and fiddle with apps. The only problem? The visibly messed up screen. It almost looked as if someone had sneezed on the screen and then tried to wipe it away. Pretty!

I decided to take it into the Apple store this morning, thinking maybe they could repair the screen. As you might guess, they couldn’t, but they could replace the phone. I had purchased a 3G model for $99 last summer and, of course, not only was my extended warranty up, but it didn’t cover water damage. Awesome. Unfortunately for me, they couldn’t replace the 3G, they could only sell me a 3GS (at $199) with a 1 year contract.

After some tinkering with the phone, I learned that I was eligible to upgrade to an iPhone 4 on January 28th for $199. Hot dog! That’s great! Except . . . that’s a month away. This is when I started to get a little frustrated . . . and when I took the nice Apple girl’s advice on calling AT&T and borderline-begged them to move up my upgrade date. Three calls later (my phone dropped the first two — water damage or their famously-sketchy service, I’ll leave that for you to decide), I was rejected, Soup Nazi style. (No upgrade for you!)

With a crushed spirit and near-tears in my eyes, I walked around the shopping center reviewing my options:
– beg AT&T for an earlier upgrade at the cost I’d get on the 28th (didn’t work).
– buy a 3GS to replace my 3G at twice the cost of the phone and lock myself into another contract w/out eligibility to upgrade for over a year (ugh)
– upgrade to the iPhone 4 early, which would cost over $400 (no way, Jose)
– buy a go-phone to use to avoid using the damaged phone until I was able to upgrade (would mean I’d have to train everyone to a different cell number… but only for a month)
– or bite the bullet, wait to buy the iPhone 4 for $200 on the 28th, and use my damaged phone for the next four weeks and pray that it doesn’t crap out on me in an emergency or during the days that I’m on-call (spoiler alert: this one won)

I’m not someone who makes a habit of asking for special treatment. I’m a good customer — I pay my bill on time, in full every month and haven’t once complained to the company about anything — so I won’t lie… I was really disappointed that they wouldn’t let me upgrade just a few weeks early. As my blood pressure came down (I promise, I didn’t yell — I just get pretty tense, even if I’m being a nice as can be with customer service folks… they hold the key to you getting what you want, remember?), I gave into the tears and cried a bit on the way home. Babyish? Maybe, but I was really steamed.

Let this be a lesson, folks. Be smart with your smart phones, people, because AT&T and Apple are both unyielding… You will lose. And fair warning, if on January 29th you hear of some lady in the Bay area who loses her mind and goes postal in an Apple store when they try to charge her more than the $199 fee for upgrading that they’d originally quoted, it’s probably me.

Energy and holiday resolutions

holiday lights

Fond holiday memories usually involve being cozy and quiet indoors with loved ones and soft twinkling lights.

With the holidays in full swing, I’ve only just finished my Christmas shopping and everything’s wrapped and ready to go and all I want to do after the day’s done is sleep and sleep and sleep . . . It’s a rambling way of saying – I’m spent.

I recently talked about how restorative it is to take a break from wiring into technology, but where do you draw the energy to get back on the horse? How do I muster the mental drive to put something worth reading up here? (Not that I manage that on good days all of the time, but bear with me . . .)

I sit in a frenzied, mentally-draining, my-goodness-where-did-my-money-go daze of too much sugar, too much caffeine, too little sleep and too much singsong holiday music (Frosty can kiss my butt) and all I want to do is crawl into bed for a week.

But I know I shouldn’t gripe — I’m very fortunate to be where I am, have a roof over my head and a job that keeps food in my fridge and caffeine in my bloodstream. I’d wager a lot of money that during the holidays especially, self-neglect runs more rampant than any cold or flu. It’s contagious, has a longer incubation period and is terribly difficult to self-diagnose sometimes. But enough is enough — in the interest of boundaries and accountability, I’m posting my pre-New Year’s resolutions which, with any luck, well help me get through that blessed occasion.

1. Be thankful every day. Lately, I’ve been reminding myself to tell Alex that I’m thankful for him. I really am — it’s not a good-gift-insurance plan — but by verbally telling him, “I’m really thankful I get to talk to you today” or something similar, it’s an audible reminder to me to keep my focus on the important things.

2. Remember that it’s not about the money. Really, it isn’t. I really stretched my budget this year to buy my family and boyfriend things I felt they’d really love . . . but I could have done it differently. I could have done it a little less expensively. I’m not overdrawn, my bills are paid and I’ve got money for gas and groceries, but I really had to remind myself yesterday when finishing up a Christmas present that the person receiving it would love the nice (yet less expensive and not-quite-so-swanky) model of something similar I’d been thinking of getting them. In the end, it saved me enough money to cover gas to and from Sacramento, which is a pretty sweet difference — and those ‘just in case’ funds are so useful around the holidays.

3. Get back to what I care about. Some self-reflection this holiday season has reminded me of what’s important to me, what I’m working towards, where my heart is and even why I started this blog. Expect to see some very different, mindcasting-type posts in the new year.

4. Sleep as much as I can. This is going to be an epic, sisyphean task, but I’m going to try to get 9 hours of sleep each night. Yes, you read that correctly. Will keep you posted on how that goes . . .

5. Do something self-soothing every day. Sounds a little basic and prosaic, but I have to make a checklist each day . . . and from here on my checklist will include one item/task to shoot for that will help me relax — knitting (yes, I’m an 80-year-old disguised in a not-quite-24-year-old body), reading something that doesn’t require much thinking to enjoy (hellooooo, guilty-pleasure-chick-lit), or a bath.

These are hardly groundbreaking resolutions, but I think they’ll really help me enjoy the remaining 10 days of the year — because that’s what really should be happening, right?

P.S. My current favorite song just came on my AccuRadio station . . . Instantly brighter, more energized mood. 🙂

Wired in

Story of my life, I think.

Do you ever feel like you spend too much time looking at a computer? Are your eyes pretty glazed over by the end of the day?

I work on the computer all day long. Lately, it seems like social media stuffs are taking over every ounce of time that I have. In between getting projects done at work, I’m spending a lot of time staring at twitter stats for the hospital, tracking down online analytics to see whether people are looking at the information we’re putting out there, talking about live tweeting or twitter strategy or Facebook contests or whatever . . .

Frankly, it’s all exhausting.

I heard someone comment on the radio last week that if you’re 18-24 and you’re still trying to figure out what to do with your life, look at becoming an optometrist. The idea there being that given how much time people spend glued to their computer monitors or staring at their smart phones, the number of people with glasses or contacts is only going to go up . . . and up . . . and up.

Since I’m not an optometrist or ophthamologist, I really don’t know if this is a true statement, but I can believe it. Lately, more than anything, I’ve just felt a little overwhelmed by technology, by learning and absorbing and implementing different ideas and strategies. It’s all a bit much.

I had three great post ideas for my blog this week and didn’t bother writing them because the idea of spending more time online was just too much for me to handle. I needed a break. I wanted to mentally check out. So I did.

And you know what? The world didn’t end. My site stats still tell me that people are checking in (thank you, you wonderful souls!). WordPress didn’t send me a nastygram email about “Why haven’t you checked in lately?” (Ahem! **Daily Mile** Ahem!) It was okay . . . and I felt good. Better, actually.

So even though the world continues to move faster and require us to wire in more and more, those mental breaks of stepping away from the computer, turning off the TV for a while, or stashing our iPhone in our purses to keep us from looking at it, it’s okay. It will *be* okay. Do not ever doubt the power of disengaging for a while, especially if it means a greater sense of wellness overall.

The hard part

It’s hard to get out the door.
It’s hard to warm up in cold air, when my breath still hangs in front of me.
It’s hard to get moving, thinking about how badly I’d like to be inside.
It’s hard to keep pace and keep going.
It’s hard to keep from sprinting to the end so I can just be done.
It’s hard to keep my form sometimes . . . which means back and hip pain most often.
It’s hard to push further than 5 miles.
It’s hard to climb the stairs after a run.
It’s hard to will myself to stretch out.
And it’s hard to remember to hydrate and do some core exercises.

But as hard as it can be, finish lines, milestone runs and knowing that today I did just a little bit more than yesterday becomes so incredibly worth it.