The Golden Grandchild Returns From South Florida

Stef and I have discussed the reality show potential of my folk’s condo. The show writes itself!

Stef just came back from visiting my folks. Where they live having your 22 year old granddaughter visit and visibly spend time gets you rock star status! She and they had a fabulous time. Harold and Betty, my parents, are not kids but they’re sharp and active and have lots of friends.

Stef and I have discussed the reality show potential of my folk’s condo. The show writes itself!

“She doesn’t have a mirror?” That’s my mother asking Stef is she noticed a neighbor walking by.

It’s just like Real World or The Hills, except everyone’s a lot older–but it’s really the same.

They all have money without working, spend lots of time in social situations and… well let’s just say sexual freedom and Viagra have hit South Florida and it’s singles! And there are lots of yentas to supply the narrative.

This is an exciting and scary time for my dad. He totally lost the use of one eye while here in Connecticut. Now the good eye is awful courtesy of cataracts. I know it’s awful because he’ll have surgery in a few weeks to correct it. When you only have one eye you don’t go into eye surgery lightly.

One of the good stories Stef told me was of her time with my friend John who recently moved to Florida. I’ve probably known John for 15 years–maybe more.

John came as a team the day I met my friend Kevin. Like Kevin he’s a ‘shirt off his back’ kinds guy.

Stef has seen John but never really spent time with him or Alyce, his wife. That changed this week. There are good stories from the dinner the five of them had.

It was John who drove my parents to pick up Stef at the airport and drove them back earlier today. I’m not sure how I could ever repay that kind of dedicated friendship.

It’s no surprise John dd this, because it’s simply what he does. In South Florida a person like John is called a mensch.

Mensch (Yiddish: מענטש mentsh, German: Mensch, for human being) means “a person of integrity and honor”.

So, Stef is back. My folks can recuperate as we begin the process of getting Stef ready to ship out.

When A Parent Loses A Child

The voice I heard was emotionally spent. This was a conversation he’d had too many times over the last 24 hours.

A few days ago a friend of mine lost a child. His grown son, himself with a wife and three sons of his own, passed out on the family room floor and died.

No warning. He was alive… and then he was dead.

I called my friend this afternoon to offer Helaine and my condolences. It was a tough call to make. This friend has been in my life over 25 years.

He was a co-worker when I arrived in Connecticut. He’s a competitor now. He was the first person to visit us in the hospital when Steffie was born. He is someone I’ve always looked up to.

He answered the phone. The voice I heard was emotionally spent. This was a conversation he’d had too many times over the last 24 hours. I worried I was keeping him in his pain by calling.

Maybe not talking is best? How can you know? Is there anything really appropriate at a time like this?

They say a child dying before his parents is the cruelest fate you can be handed. I told him there was no way I could understand what he was going through but any time a friend is hurt Helaine and I are hurt too.

My friend and his wife are people of great religious faith. As I wrote when my friend Kevin passed away, the ability to trust there is a larger purpose we can’t see or understand must provide some comfort. I envy the faithful for the emotional cover it provides them.

The wake is Sunday. We will be there.

Poker Night In Hamden

I had ‘the guys’ over for poker last night. When I was a bachelor, having the guys over was no big deal. Now, Helaine goes into entertainment mode. For her, it becomes a lot closer to work.

The game was set to begin at 7:00 PM, but Rick, Dennis and Kevin came by at 6:00. Kevin was going to bake pizzas!

I don’t know if you’ve ever had someone come to your house to bake, but it was very cool. The oven was heated to 500&#176 and a flat pizza stone was thrown in. For the next 45 minutes we waited while the stone soaked in the warmth.

The pizzas themselves were amazing. The crusts were thin and very light. This wasn’t like pizzeria pizza at all.

Whatever Kevin was doing, Helaine had been doing for days. We had a large table’s full of buffet type food, including Helaine’s layered Mexican dip (Stef claims this dip was her main reason for being home this weekend), shrimp and stuffed bread.

Later on came the desserts, featuring amazing butter cookies, chocolate chip squares, little chocolate covered cheesecake cups and almond poppy seed cake – all homemade.

My diet was out the window!

Did I mention we played cards?

The players had varying skill levels. Rick has played in the World Series of Poker. Others had only played one or two times. Because of that, we structured the night as two very low buy-in tournaments. No matter what the outcome, no one could get financially hurt.

I was concerned, because we had 12 scheduled to come. That’s more than a full table, but less that two. Rick said not to worry because someone always cancels at the last minute – and so they did!

It was a great night, though I did terribly.

In the first tournament I was out in the middle of the pack. Card starved is the term.

In the second, I went out on one of the first hands. I flopped “Broadway,” – a straight the the Ace. That’s is a nearly unbeatable flop. Matt, unfortunately, hit a full house on the turn, Queens over Jacks. Nearly is a big word when placed next to unbeatable.

He’s never getting invited back.

Faith And Politics

I am Jewish. No surprise there. I have mentioned it enough times on the blog.

I’m not a particularly observant Jew. As with many other Jews, I look at my “Jewishness” as much an ethnicity as a religion.

I don’t think Jews have found a shortcut to heaven. In fact, Jews don’t believe in heaven. We are not the only nor necessarily the best religion.

I respect my friends who have religious beliefs different than mine.

God knows (he really does), I’ve been in enough churches during my 23 years in Connecticut! I’ve spoken to church groups and church schools. I was honored to eulogize my friend Kevin at a Mormon ceremony.

With all this having been established, I am troubled by things I read which suggests some people running for the White House feel it’s a job for a Christian.

Oh, it has to be the right kind of Christian too… maybe not the Mitt Romney kind. Maybe not the Rudy Guiliani kind either. Is Mike Huckabee OK? Depends who you ask.

We are a secular nation. Unlike England, for instance, there is no state church here. We are a nation of laws, not doctrine. Our leaders are elected by the people, not anointed by God.

In essence, I’m hoping the first amendment covers me when it says, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.”

It is right for Christians, or any other group, to act in concert to advance their agenda. It is wrong to do that to the exclusion of others.

My Jewishness should never cause me to be uncomfortable in our society. At the moment, it does.

Kevin’s Daughter Gets Married

Tonight was a bittersweet night. Mallory Webster, my friend Kevin’s daughter was married&#185. I wish Kevin were still here to enjoy the moment.

When Kevin died, the obvious question was asked and the obvious answer given – Kevin would have wanted the wedding to go on. Have you ever heard otherwise?

The actual wedding was held yesterday at the Mormon Temple in Boston. Tonight was the reception – a day to share the marriage with friends and family and a second day for Mallory to wear her wedding dress.

The reception itself was quite nice. We ate well while the disk jockey played from the 18,000 songs he brought on his laptop! When was the last time he said, “no,” to someone asking, “Do you have…?”

I have never been to a wedding reception, or pretty much anything short of a daycare facility, with more children! The place was crawling with kids, often unsupervised and well behaved.

All these children were actually a plus for me. Kids make great photographic subjects. The really young ones are oblivious to the camera. The slightly older ones are thrilled to pose or mug. It’s tough to take a bad kids shot.

I know Kevin would have had a good time. Daughter number three was getting married. Daughter number four had just graduated from high school. Daughter number one has a baby in her belly, almost ready to come out.

As a guy who greatly valued fatherhood and family, it would have been nice to sit back and bathe in this obvious success.

From time-to-time I still come across things I know Kevin would find interesting and, without facing reality, I think about giving him a call. It happens more often than I’d like to admit. I guess that speaks to how strong his presence still is.

He really would have insisted the wedding go on. That’s no B.S.

&#185 – Yeah, I know, there’s a husband too. Wendell, please forgive me for giving you short shrift. Marriage may be a partnership, but truth is, the wedding and wedding reception are historically all about the bride. For tonight, go with the flow.

Another Funeral

This is a first. For the second day in a row, Helaine and I attended a funeral service. Our neighbor’s mother passed away last week and tonight was the service.

We headed to Bridgeport and the Messiah Baptist Church.

Messiah Baptist is a mainly black congregation in what has become a primarily black and Hispanic city. Its service couldn’t have been any more different than the Mormon funeral we attended yesterday.

Both sanctuaries were ‘clean’ in design with little ostentation. The Baptist church featured a large cross and raised rows behind the pulpit for their choir. At the Mormon branch, there was neither. I’m sure that’s by design.

The lay ministers at my friend Kevin’s funeral were dressed in business suits. The reverend at tonight’s service wore a clerical robe. The choir was dressed as well.

I have been to very few black churches, but I anticipated the choir and was not disappointed. The singers were seniors, but their voices were strong and their harmonies tight.

Reverend Elizabeth Jones, who officiated, was an impassioned speaker. It would have been impossible to not pay attention. She was high energy.

Helaine said, you’d never be able to fall asleep at this church! That’s the truth.

As with last night, I felt satisfied our neighbor’s mom’s life had been properly celebrated. She was a known quantity within this church community. The people involved in the service knew her well.

She had been a an active member of the church and part of a family that broke down racial barriers. Reverend Jones called her “a steadfast servant,” and explained why, while referencing a short bible passage from Luke.

I am sorry for the deaths that brought us to these funerals, but I really am glad I attended both. It was like amateur anthropology, as I tried to understand how and why things were done in settings that were mostly foreign to me.

In both cases the bottom line was the same. Here is a person who led a righteous life and will now join God. That they both took such different paths to get to the same place was what made it so fascinating.

If it’s OK with everyone, I’d like this to be the last funeral for a really long time.

The Funeral

My friend Kevin’s funeral was held tonight. As much as I expected a terribly tragic evening, it was not.

I’m not saying it wasn’t sad. Of course it was.

I brought three hankies and they did not go to waste. This, however, was more than sadness. It was what a funeral should be – a celebration of Kevin’s life.

Kevin was, and Melanee and their families still are, devout Mormons. It’s a religion where lay people officiate at services. Before cancer, Kevin was the Bishop of his branch&#185.

His faith was very much part of his life. I greatly respect Kevin’s devotion, even though he and I reached very different conclusions on faith and God. It was easy to see how it also shaped his out-of-church life.

I suspect faith serves his family well in this time when questions are many and answers few. There is reassurance when you believe a higher purpose awaits all of us, that heaven is a very real, and Kevin is waiting there for us.

Helaine, Stef and I drove to Cheshire and followed our friends Harold and Karen to the service in Waterbury. The building that now houses this congregation was once a Jewish synagogue. In fact, Harold’s brother was married right here.

As you might expect, there were lots of people attending the service. The sanctuary, normally divided in two by a movable wall, was opened to its full size.

Good people draw large crowds and few were as good as Kevin. The place was packed.

The service began and within a few minutes it was my turn to walk to the stage and eulogize Kevin. I speak in public a lot. Crowds don’t phase me. Still, this was very different.

I was a nice Jewish boy speaking in the Mormon’s place of worship. I didn’t want to inadvertently do something wrong.

Kevin’s eulogy, based on a web entry I made last week, went well. He was so nice, telling stories about his life couldn’t do anything but touch the congregation.

Then, I came to a part of my speech I hadn’t fully considered. Standing before this Mormon congregation, I looked at the paper and saw:

In March, at a poker table in Las Vegas, I sat next to a man who was a counselor at a hospice in Texas. We talked about Kevin and my fears for him.

“No one ever dies scared,” he said.

I pondered for a second… broadly turned to the church officers sitting behind me and excused myself for what was to come. I was going to say something that had never been said there before.

And then I read the line.

“In March, at a poker table in Las Vegas…” It got a very big laugh.

A laugh at a funeral is different than a laugh at a comedy club. This laugh said, “You are not offending us. Permission granted to continue.” And, I did.

It was an honor to be asked to give the eulogy. I sat down satisfied I had properly portrayed Kevin and our relationship.

Later, both his sister and sister-in-law also spoke. Their stories of Kevin’s life were priceless and brought new context to things I already knew from personal experience.

These weren’t sad speeches. In fact, both of them were very funny and delivered as if these two women were stand-up comics. There was lots of laughter from the crowd. How could you celebrate Kevin without celebrating his amazing spirit?

Can a funeral be perfect? This one was pretty close. There was the structured reverence organized religion brings and the genuine warmth people can only express when there’s real love involved.

Don’t you think I’d like to be able to pick up the phone and discuss this with Kevin right now? And, of course, that’s the tragedy in all this.

Here’s the good part. Nothing said tonight would have surprised Kevin. He knew that was how we felt. I take great satisfaction in knowing that.

&#185 – I apologize for being a little vague, but I don’t know the full structure of the Mormon Church. I did some quick research, but was still left confused.

I think the regional grouping of congregations is a ward and the individual congregation is a branch.

I am avoiding the word church to describe the congregation Kevin attended, because I think (and, again, I don’t know) the word “church” is used in a different way by Mormons than, say, Catholics

Hospitals – Never A Pleasure Trip

I called my friend Kevin yesterday. His wife, Melanee, answered the cellphone. They were at Yale/New Haven Hospital, on their way to get some tests.

Kevin’s got pancreatic cancer. Tests are a large part of his life. I didn’t think twice until he called back later.

On Monday, Kevin wasn’t feeling right. There was shortness of breath. Who knows what else? He’d just been through a round of chemo. The reaction to that is never totally predictable. Melanee, his wife, brought him to Yale and he was admitted.

It looks like he suffered a very minor heart attack (if such a thing is possible) and has a blood clot in his lungs. All this is in addition to the cancer he’s been fighting since last summer.

I drove over to visit before heading to work today.

Yale/New Haven is to hospitals I remember as a child, as Home Depot is to Willie’s Hardware in Flushing. People are scurrying everywhere. It’s immense and confusing. I many ways, it’s the workings of a major teaching hospital are undecipherable to anyone but staff…. and even they only understand a few pieces of the puzzle.

On my way up the elevator, a young woman (my guess is a medical professional of some sort) slumped against the back of the car. She was the poster child for chronic exhaustion.

Kevin’s on the 9th floor of the hospital’s East Wing. He’s on the left, down the hall, well past the nurses station.

As I walked toward the room, I passed two nurses pushing rolling ‘podiums’ containing computers. Why carry a one pound chart when you can push a four foot tall podium?

Kevin’s room was bright and clean. It’s a double, though Kevin is the only resident right now. Melanee sat in a comfortably overstuffed chair. It’s a hospital chair, built to never wear out. Kevin was on his back in bed.

His skin is more ashen than pink. His face is a little puffy. His hair more gray than ever.

He smiled. We chatted. He’s eternally positive.

When he was brought in, Kevin was asked to quantify the pain. He was at 9. Now he’s a 5. That’s good as a trend, though 5 doesn’t seem like a number to aim for.

We talked a little about his pain meds and I kidded him about how he now knows what he missed by walking the straight and narrow in college.

Last night his speech was slurred. Probably a byproduct of the drugs. Today he was much more distinct as he spoke, but you could see he was a little doped up.

I’m not saying anything Kevin doesn’t know. He is very much the realist. Very much cognizant of what’s going on around and to him.

He is not ready to die. He didn’t tell me that, but I know it. He is sick, but not near death just yet. There is still too much for him to live for. He’s making plans you don’t make if you’re about to die. You can’t convince me that doesn’t enter into the whole sickness, wellness scenario.

It takes nothing away from my other friends to say, Kevin is the nicest, kindest, most giving friend I have. I’ve never known his actions to have a subtext or ulterior motive. He truly would give you the shirt off his back. No one I know has had a more consistently positive attitude.

What’s going on now should not have happened to him. My first thought was, the whole thing is a mistake. I’m still not convinced it’s not.

When a friend is ill, it’s easy to visualize your own mortality through him. I think some people withdraw from sick friends for just that reason – I totally understand. I am just not ready to give up on Kevin.

No one wants to see him this way.

Best Christmas Gift – Guaranteed

What are you getting for Christmas (or Chanukah)? No matter what it is, I’ll bet I can tell you about someone who getting something better. It’s my friend Kevin.

Kevin was diagnosed with inoperable pancreatic cancer in early July. It came out of the blue. He has been undergoing vigorous chemotherapy treatment, but this is a terrible cancer – maybe the worst.

The one thing that struck me about Kevin is, he has remained positive. I don’t think I could pull that off. His determination and his spirit have not wavered one iota.

The opening rounds of chemo were ineffective. The cancer continued to spread from his pancreas to his liver.

You’ve got to figure, after two failed chemo formulations things were pretty bleak. After all, the ‘best’ drugs are administered first.

Then on the third go ’round, Kevin wrote…

A Plug For Kevin

In the past I’ve written about my friend Kevin, diagnosed with pancreatic cancer this summer. What can I say? It’s a pretty devastating thing.

Kevin is amazing strong, both physically and mentally. He continues to undergo treatment (another round of chemo is in progress) and we continue to have hope. But, really, there’s no way to sugarcoat what’s going on in Kevin’s body.

His 16 year old daughter Marlene and sister-in-law Rachel will be running in the ING Marathon in Miami (Kevin works for ING) in January. They’re raising money for Pancreatic Cancer Research and are looking for sponsors.

Is it wrong for me to say I’d like you to help? Please click this link.

My Friend Kevin’s Blog

Earlier this summer, my friend Kevin was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. This is not a good thing. Pancreatic cancer moves swiftly.

Kevin knew his friends and family would be interested in reading about his treatment and how it affects his life. He set up CureKevin. He probably also realized writing a blog is a cathartic experience.

I wrote about the blog as Kevin was starting. There’s a lot more there now.

If you haven’t looked yet, you really owe it to yourself. Kevin’s life is much more real and his decisions and choices much more weighty than any reality show you’ll see on TV.

My Friend Kevin Is Very Sick

I am writing this in early July. When I’m finished composing my thoughts, I will hit the save button, but instead of publishing, this will be a saved draft. If you’re reading this, something tragic has happened in Kevin’s life.

Kevin’s a ham radio buddy, though neither of us are active ham radio operators anymore. I met him around 15 years ago, probably over-the-air first. He and another friend, John, offered to come over and help me erect a wire antenna over my house.

I didn’t know Kevin or John at the time. They offered to slingshot this wire between trees because… well, because they did nice things for people. I grew to better understand that as time went by.

Kevin is in his late 40s. He has four daughters, one still at home and in school, and a granddaughter. He and his wife are the kindest, sweetest people you would ever know.

This isn’t BS. I’m telling the truth – they’re so nice, I can’t think of anyone else even in the ballpark.

Kevin and Melanie are the most religious of my friends. They are observant Mormons. Kevin is an elder at his church&#185. Their religious beliefs are reflected in how their daughters were brought up.

Kevin is my friend who can do everything. Whether it’s physical labor, electronics or computer related, Kevin always has the answer. He doesn’t look like a jock, and I’ve never heard him express any interest in sports (a continuing trend with my friends), but he kayaks and camps and is generally at home in the outdoors.

He would give you the shirt off his back. He would. End of story.

A few months ago Kevin had some back trouble. Who knows why these things happen. He had surgery. Back problems don’t go away all at once, as Kevin found. We really hadn’t discussed the surgery in a while and I assumed he was healing.

Last Thursday I spoke to Kevin, first on Instant Messenger and then on the phone. He was in the hospital.

His symptoms were back pain and nausea. When he went for medical treatment, he was told he needed to be in the hospital right then – they literally walked him over.

Doctors had discovered a blood clot in his pancreas. Blood clots are serious stuff, so he went to have it ‘fixed’.

After we got off the phone, I did what most people do in 2006, I went to the Internet to research his trouble.

Enter “pancreas blood clot” in Google and the first citation’s headline is: “ACS :: How Is Cancer of the Pancreas Diagnosed?”

It had never entered my mind. It had probably never entered Kevin’s either. He’s not even 50. He doesn’t smoke or drink. He’s easy going and non-stressful. He has lived the observant life and, religion aside, he’s still a wonderful person.

I went to visit Kevin on Thursday. He was in a pleasantly bright room with the door open and a curtain giving him a modicum of privacy. He had his laptop and cellphone at the ready. He was lying in bed, over the covers. There was a currently unused ‘port’ for intravenous fluid on his wrist.

If Kevin was sick, I couldn’t see it.

We talked about my Internet project. Kevin was my go-to guy when I ran into problems and he was designing the backend interface to the database.

I told him to forget it. But he said it would be a good way to pass the time.

We spoke again Friday. He was originally supposed to be leaving, but some tests had come back and he had pancreatic cancer. He said it like you might say you had peeling paint at home. He was relaxed… unphased.

From Wikipedia: Patients diagnosed with pancreatic cancer typically have a poor prognosis because the cancer usually causes no symptoms early on, leading to metastatic disease at time of diagnosis. Median survival from diagnosis is around 3 to 6 months; 5-year survival is 5%

Kevin came home Saturday evening.

&#185 – I apologize, because I don’t think it’s actually called a church and elder might be an inaccurate term. He is the lay person who runs the services.

Addendum – It is January 24, 2008. While installing new software I found this entry. I treaded lightly when I wrote this. Unfortunately, our worst fears were realized and Kevin died from the cancer on June 1, 2007.

He was everything I said he was and more. He really should still be alive. That would be the fair outcome.

Working On The Web

From time-to-time I get ideas for web based businesses. Sometimes I follow through – most times I don’t. That inability to consistently follow through is a great shortcoming.

Yesterday, one of those ideas began to burn a hole in my head and I had to follow through. There was just no stopping it.

I spent most of the late night hours and a little of today putting my idea together. It works. I can’t show it to you, but it works.

It’s amazing that I can sit down at a keyboard and have a thing of semi-beauty appear. And, to most people, it’s magic. The code I wrote looks like hieroglyphics to the unitiated.

What I’ve really learned in this exercise is how little I know.

There’s an old joke about a guy who buys a boat and wears a captain’s hat. He invites his parents onboard and asks them what they think?

His father responds, “To your mother, you’re a captain. To me, you’re a captain. But to a captain, you’re no captain.”

That’s me – no captain.

Without my friend Kevin’s help, and code that has been graciously left in the public domain, I’d be dead in the water. The site works, but the code is very sloppy.

I’m going to have to go and clean it up, because some day, I might want actually change things… and I’ll never be able to find my way around. In the meantime, from outward appearances, it looks pretty good and it’s quite functional.

Maybe I’m on to something.

Getting Wet In Enfield

I spent a good part of the day at the 15th Annual Scantic Spring Splash, in Enfield. Scantic, in this case, refers to the Scantic River, a moderate sized stream that cuts through Northern Connecticut. It is a white water river.

OK – we’re not talking about shooting the rapids on the Colorado, but for Connecticut, this is pretty cool stuff.

Because of the lack of recent precipitation, the Scantic is down. Still, there was enough water to make it a fun day for those who went down river and those who brought cameras… like me.

I went with my friend Kevin. He was originally going to be a participant, but after having some back surgery, he’s not quite ready.

Actually, he might be a little happier not to have kayaked, because it was chilly in and out of the water. We were told the river was 44&#176. The air was comparably cold.

We walked up river from the parking area in Hazzardville (really – it’s part of Enfield). A few hundred yards of hiking brought us to a nice area with a good view of some white water.

I opened my tripod and set up to shoot. I seldom use a tripod, but I wanted fast shutter speeds and there was hardly any light. The day was thickly overcast.

I’ve taken a quick, first look at my shots. I am pleased and also disappointed.

We picked a pretty good spot and there was lots of action coming through the rapids. On the other hand, the lack of light forced me to really push to camera – and I did. That adds noise to the photos.

Sometimes, in dark and moody shots for instance, noise is fine. It adds texture and character. Not in these shots. The noise is distracting.

It was a fun day and I ended up taking over 150 shots. I’ll post more shots over the next few days.

Oh – the top two shots… they went all the way over and into the drink.

Computer Problems – Business As Usual

As a special welcome home, Helaine’s computer decided to suffer a near death experience today. It was one of those things that can happen to anyone.

She turned on the computer, but forgot to plug it in the wall. Having been away for nearly two weeks, and with an elderly battery, there wasn’t more than a minute or two of juice. It was just enough to allow it to die while booting!

When she plugged the laptop in and tried to boot again, it got to the first Windows ‘splash screen’, churned its disk drive for a while, briefly flashed a ‘Blue Screen of Death,’ and began the boot cycle all over again. Uh oh!

I was called in for my technical expertise. You like to think in a situation like this you can just boot to the ‘Safe Mode,’ restore the computer to an earlier time, and merrily resume computing.

If only it were that easy.

Attempting to get to the ‘Safe Mode’ produced exactly the same result. I told Helaine it was possible her emails and bookmarks, the things she really wanted, might be gone. she wasn’t thrilled.

I called for tech support – my friends Peter and Kevin. They had some suggestions and I plowed on.

With Windows XP you should be able to put the original Windows installation CD in the disk drive and watch it repair itself. Good idea, but it didn’t work.

Since the ‘splash screen’ came up, I assumed the drive wasn’t a total failure. Maybe there was a way to read this laptop drive in my desktop?

They are normally incompatible, but sure enough, there was a cable for sale at CompUSA to allow them to talk. I’m trying to think if there are any good circumstances when you’d want this little device? No.

This was too easy. It’s a 25 minute drive to CompUSA and the cable was around $8… and they had it in stock&#185!

In order to use it, I had to remove the drive from Helaine’s laptop, physically open my desktop’s case, free up an IDE port (I unplugged the CD and DVD drives), hook everything up and fire up the PC.

I crossed my fingers and pressed the button.

My desktop booted very slowly, as if it knew it was entering uncharted waters. Finally it flashed a screen saying the “H” drive (that was where the laptop drive ended) needed to be checked.

I gave my permission and watched the errors fly. Four clusters were unreadable, an index file was wrong, some corrections were made and a small section of the disk was being marked as bad. It was bad, but it could have been much worse.

When Windows finally finished its booting, I tried to move all of Helaine’s files to my PC for safekeeping, but got an error message. What had looked promising a few seconds ago now looked bleak.

Kevin suggested I just take the semi-repaired drive out of my PC and put it back in the laptop. I did, booted, and watched the disk warning again – this time with a few different files.

Then a strange thing happened… the laptop finished its disk check, ran through its boot sequence and worked! Helaine was overjoyed.

You know, in the movies the geek never gets the girl. Maybe we should?

&#185 – Interestingly enough, there were two of the needed cables on a hook at CompUSA. The one in front had obviously been used and poorly repackaged. I passed on it for the other. The next purchaser gets to be their guinea pig.