Blessings, Michelle

Finishing up her final semester at seminary, this former news reporter looks forward to begin full-time Christian ministry in the Anglican tradition.

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Location: Wilmore, Kentucky, United States

What you see is what you get.

Monday, March 05, 2007


So, I had an inductive Bible study assignment due for my evening class tonight and I was getting close to the point where it would be hard to go much further without using Bibleworks (really amazing Bible software program). Well, I don't have Bibleworks, but my roommate does on her laptop. She was leaving for work, so I asked if I could use her laptop...Sure!

So, anyway, I brewed some tea, sat down, got the computer adjusted to where I wanted it, started working on my paper, picked up my tea and WHAM! It just slipped out of my hand and I poured hot tea all over the laptop, the table, my jeans and the floor! I jumped up to get napkins and a towel from the counter and said to myself, "Ok... don't panic! Don't panic!" I mopped up the tea with napkins off the keyboard and... I'm embarassed to admit this ... I tried to save my work even though I was working off a document that I had saved elsewhere and had done little to change it.

I went to "Save as" and tried creating a new folder for myself on her laptop to put my stuff in, but when I typed "Mi" it came up "Mi$@!##" I tried again, same thing. Then I realized my stupidity and unplugged the computer (which I should have done in the first place!).

So, I worked to clean up the immediate mess: from the computer, from the table, from the floor. I never got to my jeans... the tea dried and I'm still wearing them! After cleaning up the outside of the computer the best I could, I ran into my room and got on my desktop, Googled "coffee spill desktop" (I figure more people spill coffee than tea) and read that I needed to turn the laptop upside down to let the liquid drain out of it. I also read that I needed to remove the battery as soon as possible. I did this and some liquid did come out and it was moist in the battery compartment so I wiped that out.

The tricky thing with tea (with plenty of sugar and milk) is that it is sticky. Apparently, water and even black coffee are the things to spill on your computer if you're going to spill anything. Coke or any sugary liquid will, of course, be sticky even after it dries and can cause more problems. So when I encountered liquid on the computer, I had to mop it up and then take a damp cloth to clean the surface and then dry it again!

Well, after talking to my friend, Don, who is a computer expert and doing more reading online, it looked like the next logical step was to remove the keyboard. That was, after all, where I had spilled my tea and I needed to see if the liquid had seeped below that and if so, try to dry it. This may not sound like a big deal to techie people, but to me... wow... I never thought I'd be taking apart a laptop before, not even a little. I don't even OWN a laptop!

Well, I found the instructions for the particular model with instructions on how to do it (with the warning that ONLY trained technicians should be doing this!) and I did it! And, strangely enough, it was kinda fun. It wasn't hard to do, to remove the keyboard and the metal plate underneath. I found maybe a quarter teaspoon of liquid under the keyboard, primarily on the metal plate that sits between it and the rest of the components. I removed the plate and there was some moisture in a couple places, but it didn't look like it had gotten on the actual computer chips (I can't say I knew exactly what I was looking at!).

The first Web site I read said to put a hair dryer on a low setting and, from a distance, to use it to dry it off. I did so, making sure not to let any heat get on the computer. Later, I read on several other Web sites NOT to do this. I also read that static electricity was a huge danger when opening up a laptop and that you needed to be grounded. Well, it's been very dry here with lots of static electricity and I can't say I did anything to protect the computer in that respect. I'm just going to have to hope that I didn't shock it.

The more advanced Web sites said to let it dry for at least 24 hours, propping it up and allowing air to circulate around it before trying to use it again. So I went in my roommate's room and propped it up -- keyboard and screen facing down -- on her dresser with one of my old T-shirts that I use as a rag underneath to pick up any moisture. I left a two page note for her explaining the entire ordeal (much of what I wrote here although I did leave out the part about trying to save my work) and apologizing. Then I spent the rest of the afternoon working on my paper without Bibleworks.

I got to class about a half hour late (it's a three hour class that meets once a week) and then printed my paper out at the library during our break. I checked out a laptop for my roommate from the library (they have 24-hour checkouts for equipment) and took it home after class. She was pretty low-key and chill about it although I'm glad I wasn't home when she found out. She was grateful for the laptop and between the two of us, it only took about 40 minutes to figure out how to reconfigure my router so that the school's laptop could access the Web through it.

I have no idea how the computer is going to perform when we put it back together. Needless to say, I will restore my roommate's computer needs, as needed. I guess I should say a prayer for this little laptop, that God blesses it and lets it be restored!

Oh, look what I found: a prayer for computer users! It's actually pretty theologically sound. Check it out!

Well, I'll let you know how it turns out.

Free advice: Watch it when you eat and drink when using a laptop -- especially when it's not yours!


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