Saturday, January 10, 2009

Computers and caretaking

One of the things which may get overlooked in this adventure, is that while I am trying to live very close to nature, in my own way and at my own schedule, I am doing so while trying to stay connected to the internet (somehow frugally!?!) Most of the time the challenge to this is to find internet service at all, especially service which is sufficient, and sufficiently inexpensive. Dial up is still the norm here, for those few who have connection at all. Yet I have this week discovered that other more basic and more challenging issues in the form of hardware problems.

My primary computer which I purchased a year ago to last me for several years, went down thanks to a fan issue. A new one would run me well over $100, so I opted for a refurb fan which was supposed to run me about $60, but the site I used ( refused to even contact me about the order for a week, then canceled the order without explanation as soon as I filed my second query. Needless to say, I suggest avoiding this site completely as unreliable and disreputable.

While trying to get a response from that site, and waiting for the order they initially claimed was approved and in process, my fall back computer, a laptop from many years ago which is overloaded with data and runs so slow as to make you wish for dial up, decided to cease working properly as well.

The end result? Well today I ordered the same part from another company, one out of Texas rather than California, so I am a bit more hopeful of receiving it. I have fallen back yet again, to using the computer of the wife of my nearest neighbors for whom I am house-sitting, cow care-taking, and dog wrangling. Hopefully before they return in a week or so, I will have the new part and have my own primary computer up and running once again.

One of the lessons of frugal living comes out of this experience, in that by care-taking for neighbors, you can find alternatives which may not otherwise exist. I have no bills other than food while they are gone, I can save the propane and electricity which I would otherwise have to use for heating and cooking, as well as light and to fire up the non-working computer.

I am also generating good will, which can come in handy as well, such as when I have need of a tractor or other machinery which will make moving 24 foot timbers much easier. In these trying times many of us are forced to be frugal, without practice, but even those of us who are used to frugal ways, we must stay on the look out for any possible opportunity all the while remembering that to some degree for almost all of us, there is also a benefit of a good connection with people who have an interest in our own lives, and us in theirs.

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