Pop and Sizzle

So, there I was, sitting at my Mac last night, working in Second Life on color scheme #2 for my top secret project, and the second wave of severe thunderstorms for the evening hit our area. As the thunder got more intense, I decided to shut down the computer till after the storm passed.

Suddenly there was a loud POP and the computer’s two monitors went blank. I powered down all the computer related stuff, and looked around the room.

The television set was on but FIOS was not showing up (for those who aren’t in the US, Verizon FIOS is like cable but a slightly different technology…our family gets “cable” TV service, internet and phone from them). The router, sitting on top of the entertainment center, didn’t have all the typical lights lit up. Turning the cable box off and then back on only produced a message telling me to call Verizon and giving me a bunch of codes to feed back to them.

Two hours (and two phone calls with Verizon tech support) later, it was determined that a lightning strike had taken out at least some of the Verizon hardware.

Of course, the Verizon people in this part of the US are rather busy right now, because of all the weather-related issues, so it will be tomorrow before a tech rep is able to come to our house.

A few  questions remain…the Mac Mini is booting up but not sensing that it has an Ethernet connection (it can still “see” the router via WiFi but not Ethernet). Did the lightning strike go through the router and along the Ethernet cable into my Mac? And if the Ethernet connection is burnt out, was anything else inside the Mini affected by the strike? An appointment has already been set for the Apple Store on Monday.

And, the power outlets in my garage, where the Verizon FIOS battery backup was plugged in,  are out too. A tripped GFI outlet? Or did the strike blow out  those outlets? After the Verizon repairman comes, I may have to call an electrician. Tonight I go through all the house checking outlets. Oh, joy.

“However will you stand being unplugged from Second Life, Mom?” my older daughter asked when she called in from college. I told her I could well manage that for a few days (I was planning to unplug for a short break after finishing my project). What does bother me is the impact of suddenly disconnecting from always available  internet and cable at home. The TV in the family room was purchased pre-digital TV days, and we don’t have a converter box for it, so it’s basically dead till the FIOS connection is fixed.  The TV upstairs is digital, so I am scanning for local over-the-air stations, only to find out the antenna currently connected to it is so weak it can’t pick up the local NBC affiliate (at least 30 Rock is not on this week).  My husband is used to coming home from his work-related travels to find all the TV shows he likes recorded and waiting for him.  I have gotten  used to watching television On Demand if there’s nothing interesting live; of watching TV and movies on the internet (Netflix, Hulu, etc.)  if there’s nothing interesting on television.  I expect to wake up in the morning and turn on a news channel, to check my email any time I’m at home, to purchase a song, show or app via iTunes whenever I think about it; and, yes, to connect to things like Second Life when I have the time.

And Dear Daughter Number Two called me this morning asking if I could come home at lunchtime and “fix the internet.” Nope.  Sorry. You’re just going to have to unplug for a few days like me. Bummer, I know. Pick up one of those rectangular shaped things called a book, and savor the disconnection while it lasts.

It could be so much worse. There have been a number of tornadoes spawned in the last few days by that weather system as it moved from the mid-west US off the east coast.  Many people had extensive damage to their homes. We’ve just been inconvenienced.

As for me, the project will be waiting till I get back to it, unless Linden Labs looses that part of my inventory. And…maybe it all will work out better, to release it after the Halloween frenzy.

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