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On Sunny Lane - Computer Challenge

By Dorothy Knight Burchett

Computer Challenge

Let me preface this column by stating from the beginning that I am technologically challenged. Give me a pen and paper over a computer any day.

This is a strange confession coming from a person who once made her living by using a computer. It was a controlled environment, though. There was only one computer program that I was authorized to use and certain functions I was able to perform. I was okay with that. I was really okay with that. Besides, there was always someone available to help me if I needed it.

Several years ago, I got a home computer. It was a good deal, because I was able to get the Internet, I could e-mail my friends and it was tied in with my telephone service. Trouble was I had no watchful eye to help me when I got into distress. And I got into distress a lot!

Eventually, I cancelled my Internet service and gave the computer to my granddaughter. She and her dad straightened it out and had it working in no time. I think she was nine years old at the time.

Well, several years ago, I got my first smartphone. It had me baffled for a while, but I soon learned how to make phone calls, send and receive texts and use the Internet. With the help of the friendly people at the phone store, I even had some apps downloaded.

Fast forward. I heard about a cell phone service provider that would give me a better price per month and better coverage. So, I went to the library, where I do all of my computer work and followed all of the instructions that the new carrier gave me to transfer my service. I was mighty pleased with myself, even though I had to get a little tech support from one of the librarians.

The next morning, I discovered that, not only did I not get my new service, I did not have any service!  It was the weekend and I would be without service, so I spent the whole day between the library and the cell phone store, trying to get the transfer code I needed to give to the new carrier. I was unsuccessful.

Sunday was a day off, since the library was closed. On Monday, I was back at it. Now I had to add a trip to a friend’s house to use her cell phone to my trips to the library and the cell phone store.

Long story short, with entering and resetting passwords, passcodes, security codes and pins, along with high amounts of frustration, I finally was able to sign on to my new carrier. Trouble is, as hard as I tried, I was not able to keep the telephone number I had had for 18 years, so I had to get a new one.

That meant I would need to call or text a myriad of people and tell them I had a new telephone number. In many cases, I would need to leave voicemails. I dreaded the thought of it.

It took me four days to get hold of everybody. Fortunately, it was Thanksgiving week, so I was able to wish everybody a happy Thanksgiving at the same time.

Well, as Ma Ingalls used to say, in Little House on the Prairie, “There’s no great loss without some small gain.” As I went down my contact list, I was coming across people I had not talked to for a long time.

I helped my niece in Tacoma, WA, with the cranberry salad she was making for Thanksgiving day. She had almost given up, because she didn’t have an ingredient she thought she needed. I found out her sister in Eugene, OR, was in a relationship with her first husband again—after her second husband had passed away three years ago.

I discovered that a friend who was the victim of surgical error on his heart is regenerating new tissue, due to the nutritional intervention he is getting. I got updated on births, deaths and other events in the lives of others. I may have dreaded the thought of making all of those texts and phone calls, but it was well worth the effort.

Oh, did I mention that I will be saving about $50-$90 a month on my phone bill? It’s no great loss, but it’s a giant gain.


Dorothy has recently published a book, “Miles and Miracles”, and it can be purchased on Amazon and Kindle, and is now available at 512 Main in Knox, PA. Her email address is:

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