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Cabin fever

February 4, 2011

When you have a “day job” the idea of spending lots of time at home can sound very appealing. But when you work from home, and particularly if you cannot go out because you are awaiting calls or deliveries, it is easy to develop cabin fever.

When I realised I needed a new computer and the upgraded software to go with it, I thought it would make sense to have it all delivered. I am a big believer in home delivery. I don’t drive, but I don’t like being dependent on my partner to take me places to buy things, and it is often impractical to travel all over town hauling items home by tram or bus. So, I did my research, picked my products, and placed two orders: the first with Apple for my new computer plus an external hard-drive; the second with a company who could provide the ridiculously expensive graphics software I need to create digital illustrations at a slightly less ridiculous price than most other companies.

When I first placed my orders I was assured by both companies that my deliveries would be with me within days. Apple also promised a text-message on the morning of delivery day. But two days and no messages later, on a Saturday morning just as we were about to go out, a delivery man turned up at the door with my external hard-drive. I was pleased to have the drive, but perplexed by the absence of the promised text-message. So as not to miss further deliveries, I decided to wait at home during business hours until all my purchases had arrived. Hopefully, by Wednesday I would be free to go about my business, and have a fully operational computer system.

Monday passed without texts or deliveries, but on Tuesday morning I received a text from the delivery company TNT. It was a scorchingly hot day in Melbourne, and I was at risk of melting in the unit, but resisting the urge to leave in search of air-conditioned comfort, swimming pools or ice-creams would guarantee me a new Mac by the end of the day.

Or not.

Mid-morning the door-bell rang. Hooray! I scrambled to the door, where I was served with a registered post letter informing me that our rent is to go up. Not the delivery I was after. By mid-afternoon it was too hot to work at my old computer. I had retired to my bedroom, where I was reading a novel to distract myself from the heat, when I thought I heard some scuffling and tapping sounds outside. Could that be my delivery? No, surely they would ring the bell, but I’ll just check in case. I limped through the heat to the front door. No-one there. Ah, but at the end of the driveway (shared between five units) there is an unmarked delivery truck. I waved and tried to get their attention, but they either did not see me, or chose to ignore me, and drove off. I rang Apple, but they assured me that no attempt had yet been made to deliver my precious box, “Ring us back if it still hasn’t arrived by 6pm”. And so, at 6pm, I made another call to Apple, who told me that I was not home when the delivery was attempted. I was indignant! Hot, tired and indignant! But now I would have to wait until Thursday, or possibly Friday, when they would next be able to deliver. After much cajoling, they finally agreed to guarantee delivery on Thursday.

On Wednesday I began to develop a migraine, which was still with me on Thursday when I finally took delivery of my computer. As a self-employed sole trader without the luxury of paid sick days, and knowing that setting up a computer would not be an enjoyable task, migraine or not, I decided to get straight to it. I suppose it shows how easy Macs are to work with that I was able to get everything up and working despite my bleary, aching state. Everything was working by the time, on Thursday evening, that my next-door neighbour dropped around with a note from the delivery company, one of the ones they leave when they’ve attempted delivery but you are not home. Clearly TNT had attempted delivery to the wrong unit back on Tuesday.

And now it is Friday. I have the tail-end of a migraine still, but also a shiny new fully-functional Mac, and perhaps best of all, I am free to leave the unit!

Now I just need my software… But that is another long and sorry tale, and will have to wait for another post…

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