Saturday, November 19, 2011

Gone again

My laptop died a couple of weeks ago so I'm back to just ocassionally spending an hour or two in the internet cafe when I can.  So I won't be around much over the next while.  My first thought was too hell with debt, I'm going to use my coming-at-the-end-of-November-bonus to buy a good computer (until now I've bought second-hand ones from work, very cheap but they don't last more than a year or so - so in the last three years I've spent 300 euro on three different laptops, just not worth it).  But I've spent more time knitting, reading and listening to the radio or music over the last couple of weeks than I have done for months and it might be a good thing to not have a computer for a few months.  If I wait until I've paid off all my debt and then save to get one, I know I'll feel really good about it.  And if I don't manage to hold out the eight or nine months that's probably going to take, well, at least I can pay down as much of my debt as possible before cracking and adding a bit more back to it.  A bit of time might even mean that I research my options properly to make sure I buy something suitable for my needs and that will last a good few years.  Anyway, that's the plan at the moment.  I am going to buy an external harddrive soon though - my laptop is not quite completely dead and I can get about three or four minutes out of it in one go if it has been left alone in a cold place for a day or so (that trick of putting a dodgy harddrive in a freezer is not just an urban legend - for some problems it really does work althought when I worked in tech support we were supposed to absolutely deny that).

In the meantime I'm contemplating an iPhone to keep up to date with stuff a bit better but I'm very undecided.  The only reason I'm considering it is because work have arranged a special deal with vodafone so after a small one-off payment (around 50 euro), I wouldn't have any further monthly costs as it would be covered by the work flat-rate package.  When I got the email about it a few months ago I had no intention of getting an iPhone so I just didn't really read it properly.  I've heard people talking about it recently though and given that it'd be an easy way to at least have some online presence, I'm going to dig out that email and read it through properly.  I think something like basic internet and all calls within the country are covered, which sounds almost too good to be true.  But of course there is a downside, in this case the fact that since I would have a company phone, my number would be in the company outlook address book and I would essentially be contactable 24/7.  With my old boss that would have been enough to stop me because he would have taken advantage of it all the time.  But my new boss isn't like that and is very much into the idea of a decent work/life balance and all that (and really into it, not just paying lip service as so many do).  So it's something else to think about.  Or I could get an iPad privately - not sure it would do everything I'd need and it would mean tying myself into at least a two-year contract, which I'd prefer not to do.  All in all, lots to consider.

For now though I'd better head off to the garden centre/building supplies place and find something to kill moths.  Yes, I found the infestation of clothes moths finally.  And then another one.  Who knows how many there are.  I've gotten moth paper and these ridiculously strong-smelling lavender oil yokes for keeping moths away - luckily I already had lavender sachets in my wardrobe and drawers which might have prevented an infestation in my main clothes storage.  At least so far I haven't found any there.  Where I did find them however was in the cupboard where I keep my craft supplies - wool, material, candle-making stuff and anything else that might be useful sometime.  As I've been knitting again recently, I've been using stuff out of this cupboard.  And while searching for my giant needles, I dragged out the baskets of felting wool/roving and silk strands ('cos I thought it would be practical to take it all out of the plastic bags and have it in baskets instead - looks nicer and is easily accessible!) and noticed what looked a bit like a big patch of dust.  Looked closer and saw one or two moths and realised it was all the eggs that I was looking at.  This all happened at around eleven o'clock last Sunday night and I nearly cried.  It's a good thing I have been starting to feel better recently because if that had happened to me six months ago, I really think I would have ended up in hospital with a severe nervous breakdown.    I risked the wrath of neighbours and switched on the hoover to get rid of what I could see and after struggling with myself for twenty minutes or so I dumped the whole lot of baskets and roving etc. into a big plastic bag and straight out for the rubbish.  There would just be no way to rescue it - as soon as I tried to wash it at a temperature that would kill them, it would felt.  So, nearly two hundred euro's worth gone just like that.  Serve me right for not bothering to use the stuff more often after having gone to the expense of buying it!

Two days later it was the first really cold evening we've had and I decided to take out my patchwork blanket, which was over the other side of the sitting room on the basket which contained all of the ripped up t-shirts that I planned to make a rag-rug out of as well as the Lorna's Lace wool that I won in a competition shortly after moving here but which got all tangled and that I'd ocassionally take out to untangle a bit more.  I sat with the blanket snugly around my legs for a couple of hours and it was only when I was folding it that I noticed some 'dust' on one bit, looked closer and could see larvae squirming.  Eeeeww.  It felt like they were everywhere.  I hoovered the first patch of 'dust' I saw and what larvae I could see but it was kind of like cobwebs and as soon as I started seeing them, I just kept seeing more and more.  So the blanket went into a big plastic bag with the top tied securely but I just couldn't bring myself to throw it out.  Two years of work went into it, not to mention the amount of money the wool cost.  I've dumped the basket with the t-shirts and other wool, hoovered as best I can all around and have hung up sticky yokes as well to catch any moths that might already be around.  Now I want to see if I can get something to kill the already existing larvae.  If I can't I'm going to get a big plastic box with lid and leave the blanket steeping in water with lots of vinegar, which someone suggested might work.  After that I'll wash it in the washing machine as hot as I can without destroying it.  Or bring it for dry cleaning perhaps - not sure how they'd react to being handed something full of clothes moth larvae.  We don't really have moths like that in Ireland, so this is all new to me.  If anyone has any suggestions or tips for dealing with the infestation (or indeed on choosing a new computer) please leave a comment.  From what I've heard so far I've resigned myself to the fact that it may be months or years before they're completly gone.  But I want to minimise the damage at least.

Have a lovely weekend all.


Mags said...

Sorry to hear of your bad luck with both your craft supplies and your laptop.

Regarding advice on laptop purchase:

I'm not an expert on electronics, but I've used a laptop in my job (as a software developer) for years. My current laptop is 6 years old, a Dell, has 2GB Ram (upgraded from 1GB only this year) and a CPU speed of less than 2Ghz.

A family member recently decided to purchase a laptop mainly for light internet use at home. I've been amazed at the number of sales people who genuinely seem to think he needs a higher spec laptop than my development machine.

I persuaded him to buy a Toshiba at the lower end of the range : 250GB Hard Disk Drive, 2.3Ghz speed, 1 GB Ram (can be upgraded to 2GB for maybe €30 or so). Price (in Ireland) €299. That's a saving of at least €150 compared to the general advice he was getting.

So far, I haven't seen any reason to doubt the advice. In short, it's very hard to justify paying for anything more than the low-end laptop.

Assuming of course the laptop is not going to be used for gaming or running technical graphics software.

Hope this helps.
Good luck with your research.

melanie said...

Ew. Ew. Ew. I'm squirming as I read and really, I'm miles and miles away. I'm not sure what I would do. I have an unrational fear of moths.

Sorry about your computer troubles. I have to say, I really do enjoy my iPhone - mostly for all the photos I take on it. When I stopped working I was going to get rid of it but then I started reading things on it during my all-night nursing sessions with F and the Mister said we should just keep it since it makes me feel contected to adults during the day. :)

Laurie said...

I've been thinking about you, especially since we're planning to go to Ireland in May. I know that you're in Germany now though! Good luck with your computer purchase and I feel your pain about moths - I ended up getting rid of a lot of my wool yarns when it happened to me. One way to deal with it is to put everything in a black plastic garbage bag and set it in the sun and let the heat bake them. Not so easy in the wintertime, I realize, and still pretty gross. It is one of the reasons I switched to working mainly with cotton and silk.

Sammy_Kaye said...

Just wanted to say I have newly found yoru blog and I am loving reading it. I have jsut set up my own frugal living blog which I hope to get underway and properly running in the new year but I am learning the ropes at the minute. I really do hope you can get your computer up and running too as we seem to have a lot of similiar interests and goals etc and I would love to talk to you more.