Tuesday, March 11, 2008

The Case Of The Water-Filled Laptop

Two months ago, when I first started writing about Argus, my husband took pity on me. Seeing me struggle with a slow computer and our charming country dial-up internet connection, he had an idea. It was better than watching me upload photos in tears (and with a lot of foul language).

A day later, a beautiful new laptop magically appeared on my desk. It was FAST, it was SMART, it had lots of hard drive SPACE, and, best of all --- it had a wireless internet connection!!

I had arrived! No more chiseling stone tablets, then running them across town in my horse and buggy! No more starting an upload before going to bed! This new deal was amazing!

Ken beamed, seeing my smile and my happiness at finally joining the rest of humanity in the world of high speed internet connection. Oh! The things I could do and see!!

Until Saturday.

On Saturday morning, my beautiful new computer was safely tucked away in its cabinet when two 10-year-old little girls decided to look at it. One of them carried a big glass of water. It spilled --- all over my open laptop. They mopped up the evidence, scurried away, and hoped for the best.

Later, when I sat down after a hellish morning of hauling used pipe panels, I turned on the computer. It booted up just around the time I noticed a gut-churning amount of condensation on the screen. Just around the time I saw that the keyboard was filled with water, my beautiful laptop gave its last gasp with a loud "POP!"

And that was it. Darkness. And a laptop that oozed water from every port.

So now I am back to chiseling stone tablets for a few days while we figure this mess out. The funny thing is that I am not angry. More like resigned. Broken laptops are good problems to have.

Argus is getting ready. He knows that it will be time soon.

On Friday I harrowed the pock-marked Winter Sacrifice Pasture. It was dry enough to get the tractor in, and just damp enough to harrow the whole field, turning a leg-breaking mogul course into a soft, loamy flat turnout with great footing. I circled around and around the bumpy field until my organs were permanently rearranged and I knew for sure it was time to spring for a new sports bra. Argus watched from his adjacent turnout, highly interested in my efforts. He seemed to sense my intentions and has been more interested than usual in "The Big Pasture" and its residents ever since, stopping often to look longingly at the small gelding herd.

Do horses read our minds? Does Argus see my visions for him? Does he know that today I will turn him out there for the first time?

My visions include scenes both good and bad. I have a careful plan for introducing him to the larger pasture, first by leading him around the empty pasture, showing him the fence line. Once I am confident that he has learned the layout, I will turn him loose by himself. This way, if he becomes agitated or starts to really run, he won't have a buddy egging him on.

Next I will add a level-headed friend, someone who isn't motivated to gallop much (that pretty much eliminates all the Thoroughbreds here, which leaves me with a mule and a draft horse to choose from). And since the mule if HALF Thoroughbred, and can run like the wind (and once did on the racetrack) I will cut him as well. So that leaves Half Pint the Percheron, who likes to run but tires easily and cannot go fast. Half Pint will be Argus' first Big Pasture mate.

I know an hour or so will be all Argus can handle of this. He has already shown us that wide open spaces make for a cold sweat and shaking legs, and that the stress of turnout must be balanced for him with the encircling arms of a small paddock to come home to.

He is so much like a Thoroughbred, fresh off the track. All wound up, with no idea how to handle himself.

But still, I have no idea what to expect with Argus. This is the scary part, the part of me that keeps a cell phone close at hand when we are trying something new. Argus is sensible, but damaged. He is 16, yet barely two. Like so many survivors of trauma and neglect, Argus' actions cannot be predicted in advance. I worry about him running through a fence, like he did a few weeks ago.

"Do your best," someone once said to me regarding Argus, "that's all you can do."

So wish us luck. It's a sunny, 70-degree California day, and Argus' next adventure --- the first step to group turnout ---- is about to begin.

I'll have my cell phone in my pocket.

For all you Cowboy fans...

Dr. Miller visited yesterday, and said that Cowboy has gained 75 pounds so far. He was taken on a walk outside his stall for the first time, and he felt good enough to try to buck. Dr. Miller is cautiously optimistic about Cowboy's chances for a complete recovery.


elaines630 said...

That is so great to hear! Not about the laptop - but about Argus and Cowboy. I just found your blog today and words cannot express my feelings on this. I think what you are doing is truly wonderful and it really takes a special person to be able to rehabilitate abused animals. Thank you for helping those that cannot help themselves.

barrelracingmom said...

So sorry to hear about your laptop! Does warranty cover water damage?? Have kept up with Argus for a long time and just wanted you to know I am rooting for the both of you. Take care!

Megan said...

I am so glad to hear Argus and Cowboy are making great strides but...

...I really hope they parents of those two girls step forward and pay for a new laptop for you. I know it was an accident but those are costly pieces of equipment and it seems like what any responsible parent would do.

SquirrelGurl said...

I am so excited to hear that Argus is about to take another big step in his journey to recovery!

I check in on you blog quite often to see how he is doing, it always brings a smile to my face. Keep up the good work and can't wait to hear how his big pasture adventure goes!

Yay Cowboy! Keep fighting buddy!

StableBabe said...

So glad to hear about both Argus and Cowboy! Please let us know as soon as you can how Argus' day went and good luck with the laptop. As much as we love them they can still be major pains.