Windows XP Bites the Dust and Sundry Things

This has been a nerve wracking day, I’ll tell ya. I woke up with something to celebrate, my brain whirling with ideas, thoughts bouncing off the walls and corridors of my mind and landing smack in the middle of some family dilemmas. But that wasn’t the hard part of the day. Finished my journaling, my prayer and meditation time, and started making calls to take advantage of having medical insurance due to being broke, unemployed and provided by my State with help from the Feds. And, honestly, thank you very much to every single tax payer out there.

I’d worked my way through the sign up process, got my Provider One card, read the booklet and online website backwards and forwards until I could recite the rules and which program had which drugs available. An important, almost all important, component with COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease). When the right balance of medications are working and they are truly expensive, you want to be sure they’re covered. I have been blessed to have qualified through the Pharmaceutical Companies that create Advair and Spiriva and they have provided them free of charge. Without insurance, those two medications cost about $450.00 per month. After careful and thoughtful consideration and consultation, I’d picked a provider and the primary physician. I’d registered. I’d received the appropriate cards. It was time to call for a medical appointment. After two years without insurance, it would be nice to be sure I got that $50-$80.00 tetanus shot, recheck the Vitamin D levels and see if they’ve come up over the past two years. Touch base with my new physician and be sure we were on the same page regarding my care before something went critically wrong.

That’s when the day started going hairy. The physician I’d selected was not a primary care physician and the nurse at the other end was a wee bit frustrated with the insurance program that said he was. She instructed me to call insurance provider back and tell them he wasn’t a primary physician. Before she could jump off the phone, I asked if she could advise me on someone else in their system that worked well with COPD. We got that hammered out. I got an appointment. I called the insurance company. Both calls had long holds and cheerful recorded voices happily telling you all about their wonderful services and how glad they were that you’d call and a representative would be with you shortly. Got through to a representative named Faith, which I thought was auspicious and we straightened out the primary care physician. “Anything else I can help you with?”

“Why yes, Faith, there is. I know eye care is covered and I know I need glasses, which your program covers.”

“Yes, it does.” Faith said proudly.

“Great. How do I get an appointment?”

“Call this number.”

I called the number and the recording said I had reached Sears. Eyebrows raised, I punched the appropriate numbers as the system asked what department, etc. Finally reached Optometry and they could get me an appointment tomorrow (!), but if you need glasses, you have to pay for them. “Not according to the insurance plan.” I said firmly. “Oh, then, you call this number.” I dutifully called the number, but it was going to busy for the next hour or two and I wasn’t willing to pay .75 for a callback when they were ready.

I’ll skip past the call with DSHS, that’s Department of Social and Health Services. I’ve been on some computer’s list for not returning a form I returned in February and that is clearly noted in the system, but the receiving department hasn’t noted it in their system. My representative has been wonderful and I’ll be taking her the form personally tomorrow.

I paused in the middle of more calls to check my checking account online and see if the transfer had come in from PayPal yet. No, it hadn’t. But my renewal for Amazon Prime had come through and posted. That membership renewal fee was $79.00 and was not in the budget for April. Not even close. I should have cancelled it just to be on the safe side, but they’d emailed me they didn’t have a current credit card and that I should fix it. There was this small postscript about them using any other card you might have used before… Oops. That was a big hairy Oops said in a ball breaking acoustic sound barrier scream.

See, here’s the deal. I’d been short $170.00 on the rent, due on the 1st, late after the 5th. I’d spoken to the property management and she had said, “Okay, Hunt, keep me posted.” I’d busted my fingers to bring in $118.00 for transcription at about .60 per minute. Think about that for just a second. That’s the audio minute, not how long it takes to transcribe. I swear to you I used to be a wizard at transcription, but it’s been 10 years, and it shows. Depending on the audio, 2 minutes has taken me two hours depending on me, if my system is working, etc. But anything to make the rent. I’d worked 24 solid hours – about 12 each day of non-stop typing, which really costs the body a lot in terms of neck, shoulders, butt, and carpal tunnel to make .60 cents per audio minute. My hourly pay had worked out to be about $2.50, if I was lucky and averaged. Payday was Monday, the 7th, but PayPal takes 2-3 business days to transfer the money to your checking account. Monday night, April 7, there was a notice on my door which read Three Day Notice to Pay Rent or Quit. With a $50.00 late fee, which utterly screwed up all my borrowing from Peter and Paul to pay the rent. Then I see the withdrawal for and I frantically try to reverse it. That will take 2-3 business days, Ms. HuntMode. Incidentally, don’t try to find a phone number for on their website. No, no, no. Trust me. If it’s there, it is very well hidden. I finally found it by googling it.

And, now, we come to the title of this post. XP was a Microsoft operating system and I loved it. Microsoft has discontinued it and will no longer provide any security updates for viruses, etc. Today, April 8, was the deadline to do something – change programs, buy a new computer, but for God’s sake, and your blog, do something! Ominous little windows kept popping up saying ominous things with a little note, saying: More info here re upgrading. Once all the calls were done, and the property manager agreed to wait a couple of more days, I focused in on this challenge. Microsoft invites you to upgrade your system. To do so, use this friendly little application or whatsit to determine if you can and what will work or not work on your system. Ah, I could upgrade to Windows 8 with most of the features I’ve got coming along on the ride. And something about upgrading to 8.1, however, if you upgrade to 8.1, you have to pay for it or maybe not, but in any case you will have to reinstall your programs…. And you’ll have to do it with 8.0, too. Fortunately, a very loud interior bell in my head went off and I called the tech geeks at my local computer store and said, “Do I upgrade or take my chances?” I absolutely have work to be done and can’t pay for an upgrade for at least a month, maybe two. Bottom line, take your chances. I thanked my tech geek, clicked out of every single window that was opened, carefully backing out. Now, I’m headed for the last ounce of Stoli in the freezer.

And, you’ve wondered why I haven’t been posting. All’s good. This just needs a day or two to work the kinks out. I wonder if Mercury is in retrograde? (No, no it is not.)

Update: Full on laughter – I went to watch NCIS on my computer and up popped PAGE NOT FOUND. I was a bit dumbfounded, but with the day I had had, I figured “Okay…” Suddenly, the episode started. Ah, that was the title of the episode, “Page Not Found.” Grin.

21 thoughts on “Windows XP Bites the Dust and Sundry Things

  1. Oh Huntie….days like this….bless your heart. Somedays just seem to start off in the crapper, stay in the crapper, and end in the crapper. Hugs to you from me and SamCat the Ripper. Hugs to Ella and Elby as well. if this computer goes sour on me, I’ll be forced to do my posts via my tablet….hooray! one letter at a time with my handy dandy stylus. Hangeth in there dear heart. I got your back with prayers.


    • Kanzen, thank you – I happily accept all prayers coming my way. In truth, all is well, it’s just aggravating. Hey! I tried making the ColCanon (sp?) – it was good. I put too much green onions in – I didn’t know that was possible – laughter!


  2. Huntie, you and I are both posting about WinXP’s demise. I’ve asked if it actually means anything, because I don’t think it does. When was the last time you called Microsoft Support for help ? – like, never. As long as you keep all your antivirus software up and running, you should be jake, honestly …


    • ^ Yep. I’m a technical person (just not a professional one) and you’re spot on.

      My father is running Windows XP and I’m still figuring out a best course of action for him. A lot of things are already in place: I set up his hosts file to block most advertising and he seems to have good malware and firewall protection. If I can just get him to change his password practices and/or to use software like LastPass, things should be good.

      Windows 7 is still available, IF you have someone who’s competent enough to install from an OEM (original equipment manufacturer) disk, otherwise, yes, I’m a bit dismayed Windows 8/8.1 is being forced… it’s optimized for mobile devices, NOT desktops, and of course Microsoft wants us to buy such devices, especially the Windows Surface.


      • !!! Thank you VERY MUCH ! – you are the first person to tell me abour the Windows ‘Surface’ ! (It’s amazing what you can get away with not knowing if you don’t care a lot, eh ?)
        I’m not going to worry about continuing to use the old XP machine, then – apart from keeping my fingers crossed re its falling apart !


        • That was where I ended up, too, M.R. Plus all my stuff is automatically backed up, so if it crashes or whatevah, there is a copy of everything on an outside service – takes 20 minutes to download my files and all is well. It’s happened 2 or 3 times in the last couple of years – worth far more than they charge – about $60 per year.


          • Yes, Huntie – I’m awaiting advice on backing up to an external drive. My stuff isn’t worth an outside server.
            But the idea is the same !!! 🙂


            • Oh, worth has nothing to do with it, M.R. (M-R). I am too lazy to do it even half-assed. It is done automatically every time I come on line, at the very least. It was very important when I was getting my degrees – all that research – agh! And, it is worth it to me. Grin. So, you’re right, worth has a lot to do with it. Wink.


  3. Considering all the road blocks, you managed to get some important things accomplished, including watching the NCIS episode with that tricky title. “Tomorrow is another day,” as my mother used to say.


  4. I’m sorry, but there can be NOTHING to justify a medication cost of $450 000 a month. If the companies had to spend billions on developing it then they need to streamline their systems a few thousand-fold.
    The XP thing stinks. None of the alternatives work as well. Vista was the worst disaster since the Flood, and 7 is a pain in the posterior. As for touchy-feely 8 – hey, this is a clean blog, so I’d better not comment.


    • What were your gripes about 7? I’d mostly heard good things about it…

      Granted, I migrated to Linux after Windows XP, so I have little experience beyond Vista (my wife does not yet get why it sucks). Actually, I’m keeping an XP partition, currently, but it’s mostly for particular stuff I don’t need the Internet so much for.


  5. If you have current anitvirus software, running xp shouldn’t be an issue until you can upgrade. (Win 8 is monumentally different from xp, so be ready for that too.)


  6. Hunt, Thank God you have a great attitude. I am constantly amazed at how you manage your way thru the many mazes you travel. I am glad you in a program that provide you the Advair and Spiriva. And while I don’t support the high costs of most drugs I can understand their initial high cost. Doen’t make it right, but I at least understand to my satisfaction. You just keep hanging in there, please. Take care, and be safe. Bill


  7. Oh Huntie, I’m so sorry you’re having such a rough time! I can certainly sympathize. I’m still working on my Disability Benefits appeal, hubby’s unemployment insurance runs out in a month & my medications cost about $600/mo. The provincial disability benefits take weeks to get approved financially & when you finally get that approval, they tell you it will be 3 – 4 months before they approve you medically. So it’s bust your butt to fill in all the paperwork & then wait, wait & wait some more. Meanwhile, no one tells you how to pay to live. Keep your chin up Huntie, I’m sending good vibes your way! (At least I hope they’re good vibes!)


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