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The Tale of the Birthday Computer

by Michael Terry
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This can only happen to Anna and myself.  That’s what I keep telling myself, anyway….It’s a long twisted story, so sit back and relax, grab a beer and take a deep breath.  Ready? Good.

As most of you know, I am a web designer.  Which dictates that the most important tool in our home is electronic. – The computer.

Well, my trusty desktop has been giving me signs that it’s about to give up the ghost.  Slow start ups, frozen screens, a fan that sounds like a vibrator on high speed  (not that I know what a vibrator on high speed sounds like), (but I digress)…

Long story short, (who am I kidding), I am working on a number of jobs right now that are nearing completion and I need a reliable computer to work with.  So I start shopping.

I finally found one, A Dell unit that will fit my needs perfectly.  And that can expand as my needs do.  I save it on Amazon while I go through finances.  Which don’t look too good at the moment.  Let’s see, a week from now my mortgage payment is due, then the week after that my insanely high property taxes are due.  That leaves me a mere few hundred bucks in the account.  Not good.

Well, I suppose the computer will be OK for another couple of weeks until after I pay the taxes, so I budget for the item about three weeks from now.  Problem solved, and let’s just hope that the computer continues to function for three more weeks.  Fingers crossed.

The next day I woke up early and decided to budget for the actual cost of the computer, so I put it in the Amazon shopping cart, which then calculates shipping and taxes, etc.  Then I record the actual amount and remove it from my basket.  I go to work, and don’t give it another thought.

This day just happens to be one of the most important days of my work year.  It’s the day I get together with the owners of the businesses I work for, and we lay out the plan for the upcoming year.  It’s pretty intense, we discuss everything from raises and promotions, department development, staffing needs, equipment purchases, finance, etc.  You name it, we deal with it.  It’s pretty intense, and demands 100% concentration.

Off I go to this important meeting.  Just as my boss starts to go through our last year’s accomplishments, I get a notification on my phone.  “Ding”  Your Amazon order has shipped and will arrive….. WHAT!!!!????WHAT ORDER???? I open the link and to my anticipated nightmare, yup, the computer.  I look for the cancel button.  There is none, because it had already shipped!  PANIC.I inconspicuously send my wife a quick text (while my boss continues to talk about our accomplishments….)  “HELP”.   “AMAZON”…  “CANCEL AMAZON ORDER”

No answer….

My mind now starts racing on how much trouble it’s going to be to move money around to cover this debt so that my mortgage and taxes are paid on time…..

Meanwhile we arrive at the meeting destination, and the bosses excuse themselves to use the restroom.
I called my wife, and in a high speed diatribe I said “I accidently placed an order on Amazon for that computer.  Please call them.  Do something.  Cancel this thing….It was an accident.  I could swear I took it out of the shopping cart…

Long pause….

“Honey are you there?”  “honey?”

Slowly she responded….   “That was me… I received some unexpected money this morning and decided to do something nice for you….  So don’t kill me….”

Hold that thought, dear reader….

So now I turn to what was going on at my wife’s work that morning.  My wife, who had just deposited this money, had a conversation with the other girls in her office.  “I want to buy this for my husband … but I just don’t know.”  Do it, they urged.  “No, any time we do a big purchase, we discuss it with each other.  I just don’t feel right.  I don’t want him to be upset.”  You’re buying him a gift, he won’t be upset.  Do it.  Anyway his birthday is a few days away.  My wife: “I don’t know about this.  Well, ok.  I hope he doesn’t get mad”.

About two minutes later I hit the roof, thinking I’d done it accidently, and my wife told the office what had happened.  “He thinks he did it.  He’s freaking out.”  Laughter.  Followed by more laughter.   “Not funny guys”  Hysterical laughter.

It truly was a Lucy and Ricky moment.

Needless to say, my wife reimbursed me for the money, (which she accidently paid for out of my account in error), and all was well at Desilu.  At least for the day.

The icing on the cake for our computer saga was delivery day.  My birthday, March 29th.  Amazon made it clear that Fedex would need a signature for the delivery.  My wife called them ahead of time and made them promise they’d deliver in the afternoon, and call 30 minutes ahead.

Both she and I left work a little early to be home for the delivery.

3 minutes before I got home, I got a text message from Fedex saying a delivery attempt was made, but no one was home.  My heart sank.  I turn the corner on our street before Fedex would have had time to skirt away.  No truck.  Odd.
I got home to discover that there was no door tag either.  Then just to make sure i wasn’t crazy I reviewed the camera footage (our entire residence is covered by cameras, including the street.  No truck ever traveled our street that day.

They lied.

I called the wife.  All she said was “oh hell no”, and hung up.  She spent the next 45 minutes barking up the ladder with Fedex.

Now I am going to pause my story for just a sec.

I have dealt with Fedex in a professional capacity for 30 years.  Both as an office manager, and as a store owner, using them as one of my major distribution channels.  Never, and I repeat, never have I ever gotten them to change their position on a mis-routed or missed package.  The answer, without question, is “We’re sorry Mr. Terry but there’s nothing we can do.  It’s either en route back to the warehouse, or locked in a warehouse, or unreachable while the driver is in transit, etc.  It just always shows up the next day.

Back to my story….  Not this time.  I have no idea what branch of the Mafia my wife unleashed on them for their little fib about no one being home… but Fedex showed up about ten minutes later, computer in hand, albeit the driver looking like he’d been kicked in the face.

Well that’s my story of the birthday computer.  The happy ending is that it works beautifully, set up like a champ, and will serve me for several years to come.  And I have my beautiful wife to thank for all of it.

Much to the chagrin of Fedex, whose managers have called my wife to apologize three times since the incident.


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