I don’t normally post twice in one day, but…
But, well, this has been an odd week and I had to cancell my therapist appointment last night, so you’ll have to do, eh? As you regular readers know, I was so sick Monday that I wanted to crawl into a hole and die. Alas, I lived through my brush with whatever that particular plague was and had to finally go into work Wednesday. Wednesday, I also found out that I had a quickly approaching deadline to get my house refinanced before we had to start the entire process again. Thursday seemed fine. Until lunch.
Normally, I take my lunch in the backyard and eat while the dog runs and plays. After lunch, I read under my covered porch and let Hilda get some squirrel/bird chase time in. (Relax, tree-huggers! She’s only come close once that I’ve seen and, besides, she’s just doing what dogs do. It’s her nature and a force of evolution. What’s unnatural is the way she loves to eat off my plate!) So, Thursday, I’m sitting there finishing I Heard You Paint Houses and the dog starts to get all strange. I look up from my book just in time to see this giant, bird-shaped shadow sliding over the lawn as the biggest damn bird I’ve ever seen in person starts to make a landing by my ponds! Without any exageration at all this bird must have had a wingspan as large as my outstreched arms! (That’s over five feet, for those of you who haven’t met my manly physique in person.) Of course, I exclaim loudly, which startles this monstrosity into landing on my garage instead. I could hardly believe I was seeing this thing. I mean, I’ve seen big birds before, but, as a rule, even in Texas one does not expect to see a giant, black turkey vulture swooping into one’s backyard.
Now, what got really unnerving about this is that the thing just sat there looking at me. Not scared, really. At least, not of me. Frankly, the dog looked at me as if to ask, “Uh, Dad, care to fill me in on just what the hell is going on here?”, so I doubt the feathery beast was all that intimidated by the dog, either. Anyway, I decided I didn’t like the way this thing was eyeing the pond, or either of us, and I sort of shouted at it to try and scare it away.
It blinked at me.
So, I waved my arms and shouted.
The damn thing just glided up to perch on my chimney and blink at me. It just sat there, this huge ebony carrion-eater with wings, and blinked at me as if to say,”Yeah, and, your point would be, what, exactly?” Then, being bored with me, it looked down the chimney. So, I start looking for small rocks to throw at this thing to scare it off. The first two shots encouraged it to move to the far side of the chimney and, yes, blink at me. Then, I noticed the second one. Oh, great, a mated damn pair of enormous black harbringers of death in my backyard. Looking for a new home, no doubt. I bend down to find more stones to throw and I hear a loud thump. I check and, sure enough, that one on the chimney is looking down inside. At this point, I’m sure I let loose with a string of expletives that would have made a sailor blush because I’m convinced that the damn thing as dropped a dead animal down the chimney. I start looking for more suitable rocks to throw, but when I find them and go to assault the dirty birds, they’ve gone. Just as quietly as they arrived.
Well, at this point Hilda and I look at each other to confirm that the other has seen what we thought we did. (Yes, I know she’s a dog and has limited communication skills, but it’s the best either of us could do on short notice.) Then I start laughing, put her inside, and head back to the office. Once back to the office, I call a friend of mine who happens to work in the Houston Zoo in the bird department to check on what I’ve just seen. He confirms the guess of turkey vultures, expresses a little surprise at the proximity to “civilization” for that kind of encounter, and then he says “Impressive birds, aren’t they?” Um, yeah, sure, “impressive”. Just the word I would have used. Not freaky. Not menacing. Not down right frightening. Nope, impressive fits the bill just right. And then, the day turned ugly.
That’s about when I got the call from our Bellechasse office that they were having problems with the network. After a minute or two of troubleshooting, I can’t see an issue, so, since I’m dealing with a Windows 2000 server, I figure a reboot is in order. Now, see, this is where that black omen comes in. The reboot ends in a Blue Screen Of Death. Hmm, well, that would be a problem, wouldn’t it? So, we kill the power and try again. No joy. I try Last Known Good Configuration with the same results. I try doing the automated recovery, but again, end up with a BSOD. Mind, at this point it’s 4:55pm so I end up calling to cancel my therapy appointment, much to my chagrin, since I had some things to talk about this week. Finally, after all that, I get into the Recovery Console, run chkdsk and repair the error and get back to the original problem. Yeah, I spent 3 hours dealing with a secondary issue only to come back to the original problem. Again, after waiting for someone to come back to that office after making his appointment, which was for a HAIRCUT, and some more troubleshooting, I finally determine that the hub has gone out. The damn hub had died. No moving parts to fail and no power-spike, but the damn hub had failed. And, finally, I drag my sorry butt home at 8:00pm.
This morning, they get some new switches in place, which is no small feat in Katrina-damaged New Orleans area, and, like Network Geek Magic™, they’re up and running.
Why all the effort not to travel? Because, Monday I have to get a certified file copy of the warranty deed from the Harris County Clerk’s office so I can refinance my house on Wednesday. All so I can save $150 per month. If I stay in Houston past next year. Can anyone, given that turkey vultures landed on my house, the likliness of another hurricane striking Houston, and the not always so great economic outlook for IT guys here in Houston, give all that, can anyone give me three good reasons to stay?
Damn bad-luck black birds.