Tuesday, October 02, 2012


Thursday the 13th we had rain. Rain has been rare here and last year we were in mid-exceptional drought. That's the worst category. This year we are over the running average but it hadn't rained in about 6 weeks, so the rain was welcome. The lakes that feed Austin water are still up to 30 feet below their average levels. Feet, yes.

Terri and I were standing in the kitchen, enjoying the sound of rain on the metal roof, and the break in a long string of sunny hot days. We hugged and as we had heard a few rumbles of thunder throughout the rain shower, I joked, "I'm taller, so I will get hit by lightning before you do." As we parted there was a flash and bang all at once. I didn't see the bolt but did see sparks fly outside the window. It didn't hit me, but something on the roof was zapped.

Immediately there was a loud hissing noise from somewhere in the house. I knew right away that we had been hit by lightning and that it was a direct hit. Since the house was hit and we were in the house it was like being within the explosion somehow. Was that hiss a propane leak? I headed for the noise : my powered computer speakers were blasting static. The computer was dead.

Terri's computer, plugged in in another part of the house was dead.

The upstairs air conditioning/heat controller was off. The upstairs AC wouldn't run.

The pool equipment also stopped. That controller was also dead.

We lost phone, Internet, and phone service via Time-Warner. My router was fried.

Insurance (Encompass) has been helpful. Their inspector saw no roof damage. Everything else will be handled by replacement value and receipts less the thousand dollar deductible. We brought in a computer repair guy who held brief ceremonies over the bodies of our fried computers. Over Terri's, he said it would cost more to fix than replace. Subsequently, we ordered one which is less powerful but should fill the bill. Mister Repair will be back to try to transfer all from her old hard drive to the new one from Newegg.

My computer was a custom build - my first. The replacement will be built by Tigerdirect and then Mister Repair will try to get data off my hard drive. One of the twin hard drives was dead. The other appears to be sick but he thinks he can get the data. Yes it had an expensive surge protector on it. No, it didn't save the day.

If you are a techie, my new one will be an i7 series 3 processor with 16 GB ram and two mirrored 1 TB hard discs. Mister Repair will be sure all is well. Some issues I must admit, I don't understand, especially getting info from one to the other... Those transfer cables never worked for me completely, which he verified.

We will hike through the weeds of permissions, serial numbers, drivers (many lost), etc. as we attempt to get them operational to the state they were once, or even better.

Meanwhile the days have stretched to very very long spans of time with nothing but my iPhone to use. Our iPads are wifi only and we await a new super whiz bang router as the former was fried too. This new one is said to have better speed and range, and it should, since it cost twice++ of the one I lost. Technology leap or false advertising?

Mister Repair says you can't trust some of the reviews on the more common review sites since they are "salted" with reviews from those who would benefit from them. Just what the world needs now: more mistrust.

I can't audition or record with no computer. Happily, my recording rig was unplugged as was my stereo. And some device appears to have saved the TV, TiVo, Receiver, BluRay, etc.
Time Warner came 5 days later to get us phone and tv. Internet would work if we had a router.*

As I write this to put onto my blog down the line when I can access it, I just found out the phone is out again.

The pool guy aka The Pool Doctor has been unable to repair the controller.

The ac guy did bring us back to an air conditioned upstairs. The transformer and controller was blown out. So was the deductible on our insurance.

Speaking with some neighbors I know that three of the houses I can see from here, one just across the street, have been hit by lightning in the last 8 years. One bolt started a fire as it hit a gas line under their punctured roof. Another blew out $60,000 worth of gear. And that house was hit a second time after the repairs. For another 60k!

Terri brought home a cold and now I have it. So I couldn't audition or work anyway.

I would have thought the addiction to computer would fade with time. It hasn't.

Our new computers have shipped and we will bring back the man who hopefully can rescue the data from the dead. If he succeeds we will build a chapel on the spot out of junk computers, a router, several control boards for air conditioning and pool equipment.

Sent from my iPad

* update:  Mister Repair did get us up and running.  He also had an argument with Time Warner's Mister Fixit as TW had wired the system improperly and the new modem was acting like a limited router.  Mister repair came back to fix THAT too.  The new router does go faster and farther than the old one.  And man, is it ever encrypted!

We are up and running.  I am powering through 1000 emails+ and wanted to get this, which I had written and stored on my iPad.

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