What Will Be, Will Be: Tulips at Childhood's Gate

A tale (or perhaps, tail) of technology travails, and tulips.

Monday was the first day of summer semester, and if I had any idea what was waiting for me at work, I would have pulled the covers over my head and stayed in bed! Semester starts are always crazy busy for accessibility prep work (summer not quite as much so as spring and fall), and I do a lot of my work from a huge, master spreadsheet. On this day, my Microsoft Office suite left me stranded: I could not enter information, save edits, or print from any of my documents or spreadsheets!

But before all of that, on my morning drive, I spent about 10 happy minutes at the Arboretum, traipsing around in a light rain. Above is a shot of the cheerful red tulips at Childhood's Gate. They are the last of the tulips to be in any decent shape; all of the others have faded and the petals are falling. It's the way of things, I guess, but I shall miss them dearly.

The few minutes I get in the morning for my little photo shoots are among the things that sustain me, even during my most difficult days. (And let me say that this one was right up there.) Finding something beautiful in the morning gives me courage and enthusiasm to take on the challenges of my day.

I'm not sure the details of my technical fiasco will be interesting to anyone at all, but here goes. I am on a managed Penn State computer that is pretty well locked down by our tech administrators. This is new to me, as I never had a managed computer until August 2018, when I was given a new MacBook Pro.

Monday morning, I went in to edit my main Excel spreadsheet, just as I've done a million times, and it gave me a message stating that it detected I was using a one-time purchase license, and I would need to download the application again. I wish it had been more clear and direct with me, and informed me what it REALLY meant: that it WOULD NOT SAVE ANY OF MY EDITS until I did just that.

However, that specific sort of warning was not provided. So I continued on my merry way, spending about three hours sending email alerts for summer and updating information in my spreadsheet. Around noon, I closed the document, only to discover that it did not save any of my edits. That's when I realized the severity of the situation, and I went out to the HelpDesk for a consult.

The helpful person there removed and then reinstalled Excel. But now it gave us a new message: I was not allowed to edit Excel on a Mac. Puzzled by this warning, especially since I've ALWAYS been on a Mac, the support rep on duty put a ticket in for someone else to come help me.

I spent the afternoon trying to find ways around the problem. I tried cutting and pasting my data from the Excel spreadsheet I could not edit into the ONLINE version of Excel. It would not permit me to do that.

I tried taking some data from Excel into Word, and discovered that Word was now acting up too, and would not let me edit there either. At that point, I almost cried. But I try to make it a personal policy never to cry at work.

Shortly after 3 pm, another tech person came to my office and uninstalled my Office suite. He told me that in time, it would regenerate itself. Not unlike a salamander regrowing its tail, I thought, as I tried to be patient: how long does that sort of thing usually take?

But it didn't do its thing right away, and I was directed to let the computer sit overnight on the network so that it could have time to regrow its salamander tail. Which requires a bit of magic, so I presume. Though apparently not the sort I'm capable of. In the morning when the support tech checked again, it had still not happened.

As of about noon today, Tuesday, I am finally back in business again. There was some sort of error on my account that needed to be cleared out and then the applications did indeed download. I can now edit and save edits. I am a salamander who has regrown her tail! Hooray!

There are just some days when you really can't control what happens, and I must warn you: some of those things that happen might be bad. So here are some red tulips to gird your loins with, should you have THAT sort of day. And here are some good luck wishes, if you should ever need them, that you are able to regrow YOUR tail quickly too.

The news was full of her passing on this day, so the only song that can go with this is Doris Day, with Que Sera Sera.

What will be, will be.

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