by J. A. Buxton
I feel so liberated by the following minor changes in my life.
Write a poem or story that uses the following title: Losing the Old, Gaining the New.
Losing old items in my life and gaining something new from doing that was the resolution I made for 2010. So far I’ve made many huge changes, at least for me, with more to go.
The first old item to go was my paid America Online account. I made this major decision when my monthly bill went from $9.99 to over $23 with no explanation from them. Now, I know that’s not a big jump in price, but I’m not called thrifty for nothing. Okay, thrifty wasn’t the word used. It was more like penny-pinching New Englander. I took that as a compliment. Wouldn’t you?
I couldn’t get rid of AOL altogether because of my beloved PowerTools software, but one step at a time. Friends have told me about switching to the free way of getting online through www.aol.com, but it terrified me to make such a big change. I’d tried once before to switch to the free account, but changed my mind in a panic less than half an hour later.
After taking a deep breath to steady my nerves, I again went through all the steps to convert. With an online friend on the phone to help me through this traumatic time, I managed to get back online after accessing the Internet Express icon and saw all the features of my Power Tools were still safely intact. The only problem was there was an AOL toolbar screen that popped up before I could actually log on.
After grumbling about this screen to my friend and hanging up on her when she didn’t take me seriously, I immediately messed up my laptop when I searched for the software and deleted it. Now I got a rude error message when I tried to log on through Internet Express. Thank goodness I had my friend on speed dial.
After calming me down, something that took quite a bit of effort on her part, my friend recommended losing something else old. She said I’d gain by installing Mozilla to get online. Now, Mozilla uses software called Firefox, which I thought was a great, fantastic, wonderful name. Get it? FireFOX…Home of the Red FOX, the name of my published novel? That name, Firefox, convinced me to download Mozilla’s web browser. Again, I held my breath when I clicked on this newly created icon.
To say I prefer this access software is putting it mildly. I lost all the adware that I constantly had to delete from my laptop. My Spybot spyware checking software now turns up no adware browsers, unlike IE 8 that let through at least half a dozen every time I went online. You can say I lost adware and gained a cleaner laptop, right?
* * *
Feeling like I was on a roll, I next looked at my Panasonic cordless landline phone. The most use I’d got from that item was when I periodically and extremely rarely went online on my backup laptop using dial-up. With the free AOL, I no longer had that capability, and the phone was just a dusty paperweight. Every one of my friends knew I disliked talking on the phone since I tend to lisp and stutter, so only my doctor and financial adviser still call me now and then.
Over the strenuous objections of an online friend who has been nagging me to get a corded phone for emergencies during a power outage, I bought a MagicJack from the local Target store. The first phone call I made after plugging it into one of my new Dell’s USB ports was to the telephone company to cancel my landline service and save myself another $14 or so a month. Wow! My thrifty New England upbringing is really coming out in this aging, tree hugging Californian, isn’t it?
After moving the MagicJack unit from the laptop’s port to my new USB hub that can hold four items, I emailed my friend and asked her to telephone me as a test of the MJ unit. She was the one who helped me through switching my AOL account, not the one who nagged me to get a corded phone.
Halfway through our phone call, she mentioned I sounded like a robot with words dropping from the conversation. Hoping it was only bad weather on her part affecting the line since she lives in snowy upper New York, I had my niece phone me. Same problem happened. Since I am not a robot, I searched online to see how to fix the problem.
It was easy. MJ did not like the USB hub. Once I returned it to the original position on the laptop, problem solved! If any of you have interest or curiosity about MJ, I can recommend it, just as long as you plug it directly into your computer.
For the second time in less than a month, I lost something old, an outdated cordless phone, and gained new freedom from telephone lines with a cute little MagicJack. Did I tell you it has a pretty blue glow when plugged in?
* * *
The third and last recent way I’m losing the old to gain something new is by converting my hundreds of vinyl albums to Itunes, eventually creating new CD’s of them. There was an ION vinyl to CD unit for sale on Amazon.com that finally tempted me enough to buy it this year. For the last week, I’ve spent time converting my really, really old Neil Diamond albums and loading them into the ITunes library on my new laptop. What have I gain from this? I created a neat CD of all my favorite songs of his that I play full blast on the stereo in my car, Blue Satyr.
Since 2010 is only a couple weeks old, I think for now I’ve lost enough and gained enough. For someone known by my friends to fight change tooth and nail, I think I’ve done pretty darn well, don’t you?
Microsoft Word count = 995
"The Writer's Cramp" daily entry for 01/10/10