What if a mouse…

I mentioned before the potential hazards of constantly moving computer equipment around, especially for someone with my genetic makeup (klutz gene). After 6 weeks and only one issue, it was only a matter of time…

The mouse smashed into 4 pieces when it hit the tile floor of my apartment. (I have decided I am going to stay away from tile flooring in any future home). Never having seen a mouse motherboard before, I spent 10 seconds in admiration of the technological prowess of the thing before spending 45 minutes not-so-silently cursing trying to put the pieces back together. Technology is fun right up until you have to pay special attention to it.  Like a rollercoaster – fun to watch, rather terrifying to be a part of it.

The first 30 minutes proved the definition of insanity – I kept trying to fit the pieces together the same way and it kept not working.  When I finally turned the thing upside down (figuratively-kind of), it slid into place.  Leaving the next 15 minutes trying to put the two outside pieces together.  I finally resorted to brut strength and presto! Of course, there was that annoying clear plastic piece left over, but since everything fit together, I figured it was an unnecessary bit put in to confuse and annoy people like me.

I was on a tight time schedule to leave Accra and head to the Volta Region by tro-tro – a small van full of people smashed together for a 3 hour road trip.  Lots of smashing in this blog…hmmm…

I got to the Advans office in Ho, regional capital of Volta Region, without mishap.  Until I tried to use my computer and mouse, and the mouse didn’t work.  There was a hole on the bottom I didn’t remember from the past years of using a mouse.  Ah-ha!  It was what focused the red light to allow the mouse to move the arrow!  Perhaps if I stuffed a piece of tissue in it…

It quickly became obvious I needed the annoying leftover piece.  Had I saved it or pitched it before I left? The genetic thing of course came to mind, so likely I had pitched it.  But I had paid $5 for this mouse here (because the bluetooth one I brought from home smashed when I dropped my computer 6 weeks ago), and I wasn’t going to just toss this new broken one away.

5 days later I got home.  The plastic leftover piece sat calmly on my table. (😜😜😜to genetics!) 10 minutes silently pleading and cursing the thing to come apart and go back together.  (The back together part took 9.5 of those minutes.)  VOILA!!!!!  A WORKING MOUSE!!

I feel inordinately proud of myself.  If I could high-five myself I would.  Instead, I put it all on blog for posterity, to remind myself that “What if a mouse gets smashed…I can fix it!” really happened.

The Potato Salad Caper

Women in their bright fabrics with children tied to their backs dodged in and out of the traffic –  both human and vehicle – with fully loaded heads. Why use your hands and arms to carry stuff when you have a perfectly good head that can balance buckets with fish, bananas, glass cases with baked goods, clothes, etc.

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Well, when in Ghana…seriously, did you not read my post about being a klutz?! I will eventually give this a try, but not during work hours when I am chasing down my dream – a potato salad.

Tomorrow (August 21) is a Muslim holiday that celebrates Abraham’s willingness to sacrifice his son and God’s intervention.  This got me thinking about the 4th of July. And yes I know, other than they are both in the summer months, they have absolutely NOTHING in common. Other than the requisite feast, of course.

Potato salad came to mind.  It’s easy, totally American, and holiday appropriate.

And I am in Ghana, at an outdoor market that sells everything from mangoes to salt to flip-flops to…you guessed it, potatoes.

My colleagues (2 Advans loan officers I was tagging along with to Nsuwam and its market) assured me they could find me potatoes – sure enough, a bag of 8 dirt encrusted slightely odd-shaped “yellow” potatoes cost me about $.75. I had mayo at home and an onion…what else could I possibly need? Ohhh – EGGS!

I hadn’t touched an egg since my traumatic experience two weeks ago.  It was time I stopped being chicken (  😜 ) and faced my fears.

After quizzing my colleagues about the likelihood of coming across another chick-in-the-egg, and (more) assurances that it NEVER happened to them, I bought 6 eggs for $.80.

Let me clear up the ingredients list issue right now.  No one sells celery, and I was so excited about potatoes I forgot about peppers, which they have plenty of here. I know, I know, I was already on shaky ground for good results.

Things back in my apartment were going fairly well.  Potatoes were cleaned, peeled, chopped and immersed in boiling water. A few minutes later, they were done, and I cooled them off the best I could – lots of running water, finally putting them in my fridge’s little box freezer compartment (no ice cube tray).

potatoes

On with the terrifying part – the eggs.

I spun each of them, promising myself if one spun oddly I would pitch it.  They all spun the same odd way, so I went ahead and boiled 4 of them.

Done!  But how to cool them off quickly so they didn’t overcook?  Easy! Put them in the freezer!

You remember what happens to Ralphie in A Christmas Story?  The tongue-on-the- flagpole thing?  Turns out eggs in a freezer compartment react the same way.  They were practically glued down.  I tried water to little effect.  I wound up wrenching them out of the freezer, leaving chunks of egg and shell behind.

Will frozen egg smell up the freezer/fridge? The water I used to try and unfreeze them created a nice layer of ice over the actual egg and shell.

Eager to move past the ridiculousness, I tasted the cooled down potatoes. Hmmm…not bad…but not what I expected from a slightly white/yellow potato.  Ummm…sweet???

Yup.  My good ol’ fashioned potato and egg salad sans anything green was now a sweet potato and egg salad.  I threw in some chili powder, onion, salt, pepper and mayonnaise with an air of desperation.

It’s almost 10pm, and I have decided to do the taste test tomorrow.  That way I can go to bed hopeful.

THE BIG DAY

Let’s not drag this out any longer…it’s edible!!  And not bad, in the grand scheme of things.  The chili powder is a definite plus.  Gumby oversaw my tasting, reminding me to be flexible – just because it isn’t a perfect reproduction of what I wanted doesn’t make it bad, just different.

potato salad-ta da

And as I sit at my table eating sweet potato and egg salad, listening to the sounds of Ghana around me, different seems to be pretty darn good.

Why to NOT bring your computer to work

Maybe I set myself up for this by even thinking about it.  My computer has everything in my life on it (should I be admitting that online??), but I can be a klutz.  It’s a disease I am managing, this klutziness.  I keep a sharp eye out for possible pitfalls, like uneven sidewalks, things sticking out from car roofs, posts that tempt me to walk into them…Over the years I have even trained myself not to catch a falling knife or put my hand in a running garbage disposal (the last is from personal experience…).

So lugging a computer back and forth from my apartment in Accra, Ghana to an Uber, into the office and back again, seemed fraught with danger.  But worse was the idea of having it stolen.  Lugging won.

NewTown
Streets of Accra

And then I dropped it.  On the second day.  In my apartment.  And I treated it like a knife – no stopping it.  I waited to assess the damage until I got to work, as it was tucked into my backpack-really, how bad could it be??

Great news, screen was intact and my computer started.  Bad news – the opening hinge was broken and it was pulling up the corner of my laptop.  CRAP!

By Thursday I knew the computer and I couldn’t go on like this. I confided in my next-desk seat mate, Kubra, who told me to go to IT (the org I am partnered with, Advans Savings and Loan, has all the mod cons). With trepidation and sweaty palms, I carefully took by wonky computer to them.  “Oh, we can’t fix that.” Crap. “But we can send it to a shop that can.”  YAY!   Wait, NO!!!    That’s got my life in it!!  Send it to some computer shop in Ghana?  Seriously?  I might be a klutz, but I am not stupid.

I handed over the computer, begging for its safe return.  Friday I would be visiting cashew farmers in the Volta Region, so I would pick it up on Saturday.  I started to hyperventilate.  Everyone chuckled in commiseration – at least, that’s how I decided to view it.

Saturday morning finally came – managing my anxiety levels over the past 36 hours had almost been effective –  and I made my way to Advans, hopeful that IT (whom I was assured would be there) had my fixed and unviolated computer.

The super nice security guard lady led me into the bank, informing me with a lovely smile that of course IT was not in today.  Whipping out my phone I called my contact and lifeline at Advans, Samuel, who knew all about this stuff.  I gave the phone to the Advans bank teller, and lots of conversation ensued. She closed her window (much to the dismay of the other clients) and led me to the back office. To a desk that had a hidden key that unlocked a secret cupboard.  And my computer!!

I started it up to make sure it really WAS my computer and functioned – YAY! Hinge fixed, and seemingly unviolated, I silently sent apologies to everyone everywhere for my doubts and anxiety. A well-deserved coffee was in my very near future, and I headed out with the backpack confined to my back with both straps.

I will be looking for a secret cupboard of my own on Monday.

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