So here’s to hoping someone can find a little humor in the story I am about to tell as well as a little help if you are ever stuck in Manhattan with a broken Powerbook G4 and limited budget!
Late one night after a busy day, I was winding down with my nightly phone call to Husband and Daughter (at out home in Atlanta while we are staying in NY for a few weeks). My 5 year old son, Ayden, who is a very curious and creative little one, was bored with the nightly call as his turn to talk was over.
Listening to mom talk is not as entertaining as I would imagine! He started to amuse himself by experimenting with found objects. This time, the object of his attention was the extra button that attached to his brand new shirt. His mischievous little mind concocted the idea of seeing what would happen if that tiny little button decided to find a home in the slot of my superdrive. The concept of getting it back out was not an issue to him until he saw just how quickly the tiny little button disappeared into the slot.
Now Ayden, since he was old enough to stand, has had this unique little “uh oh” dance- a silently but powerful announcement that 1.) he has made a really bad choice, and 2.) he doesn’t want to tell me. It is a familiar dance and I know instantly upon witnessing this performance that something has happened and it is not good. The all-too-familiar jumping with arms flailing, punctuated by a pitiful face, could only mean something bad. All he could say was “I’m so sorry, I didn’t mean too”.
I immediately hung up with my husband and shifted my full attention to Ayden. I asked him carefully what he did that upset him so bad. All he could do was point at the superdrive on my computer. I couldn’t see the problem so I didn’t know what he was trying to tell me. Then he told me.
“I put my button in your computer”.
At first, I thought “don’t panic” you can just turn the computer over, shake it and the button will fall out. Why did I think there would be such an easy solution? This is not the first time this has happened and I was actually able to shake the button out without incident. This time no such luck. Then I tried tweezers, then a coat hanger, finally resorting to a kitchen knife.
Yes I stuck a kitchen knife in my superdrive.
No, it wasn’t a good idea!
And now for the Disclaimer:
DO NOT TRY THIS AT HOME.
In my defense, I was a little more than stressed at this point. I was only half way through a month-long stay with my son in NYC. I was spending my days with my son in the city and my nights trying to maintain my normal workload. My Powerbook- as much as I love it- does not have the space to hold all the files for all 65 clients. All that data is stored on cds. Not having use of my superdrive for the next 2 weeks was just not an option.
I spent the next hour trying to schedule an appointment at a Genius Bar, any Genius Bar in Manhattan. Unfortunately, they were all booked through the next 4 days. I then turned to "Authorized Dealers” in NY City. I made a list to call the next morning.
I woke up the next morning and chose the "Panic" option again. I emailed my temporary NYC landlord to see if he had a screwdriver. (He too is an Mac nerd and has a few babies of his own.) Luckily he said he would be right up and had some tools he thought would work. Going beyond the call of Landlord duty he watched several videos online to see how to carefully take my laptop apart. As I paced the floor of our kitchen, he meticulously, took apart my entire computer down to the Superdrive. Once that was open we found the pesky little button and simultaneously thought “How in the world could this little thing be so much trouble…”
Watching a few more videos, we used a little teamwork to get it back together. You’d think it would be easier to put it back than take it apart, but NO. Finally, after dropping a few screws and even adding one somewhere we weren’t supposed to, we got her put back together. As I held my breath, he pushed the power button……….
Pushed it again holding it for a few seconds and………………..
We had somehow taken a bad situation and made it worse! Before full-blown PANIC took hold and I rescheduled my return home for that same afternoon, my iphone rang and it was David.
Patience has never been my greatest virtue!
David was one of the local Apple repairman on my call list of "Authorized" options. I had left him a message that morning prior to calling my landlord for that screwdriver. After spilling my sob story all over the phone to poor David, he chuckled and said, "I will meet you at my store in about 30 minutes".
I grabbed my computer, backpack and the guilty little 5 year old, thanked my landlord and headed to the subway to get to the Harlem Apple Store as soon as I could humanly get there.
The Harlem Apple Store is located in a small office building along with a private detective and personal hair stylist. Very interesting, but as I was learning in this massive city this was NOT uncommon and probably right where I would be if Arnold Graphic Design was leasing space in Manhattan!
There were Apples stacked from floor to ceiling from newest models to the very first Mac ever made. There were boxes of parts and cords everywhere and behind them, David, my hero. I handed him my Powerbook with I’m sure what looked like a pitiful puppy dog look on my face, hoping against hope that he could work a miracle. I was sure it was dead, that I had somehow killed my prized possession.
David smiled sweetly and said, "Give me a sec and I’ll see what’s going on".
After taking a few things apart and examining our less-than-artful repair job, he found the source of the problem to be a simple oversight in connecting a cable.
Once the computer booted up he inserted a CD to checkout the superdrive. I guess it’s no surprise that my expert coat hanger-knife-tweezer extraction technique, no doubt compounded by the all the upside down shaking, had killed my the superdrive. David, a glowing halo floating rakishly above his head, offered to install a superdrive within the hours at an unbelievably affordable price.
To put his price in context, and to excuse the rash ill-advised but hopefully drive-saving actions, the diagnostic fees I was quoted over the phone by his competitors exceeded his quote by $100. That didn’t even include parts or labor, just a look and diagnosis. Without a second thought I said, "DO IT", as I ran out the store to find an ATM.
Do I wish this had never happened? Yes. I would have preferred to spend that extra cash on a knock-off handbag in Chinatown. But it happened, just the same, and I can’t imagine a better end to this story. I knew when I left that shop an hour later, that calling David that morning was the best choice I made. (Had I been a little more patient, he may have had a little less work on his hands that afternoon, but all the same, it was a great end to a bad day!)
So if you live in New York, or plan to visit for an extended period with your Mac in tow in tow, add this Dave to your contacts list. I have no doubt you will find him as brilliant as I did. Oh and remember, if you have small children around, put your laptop away. You never know what will find a home in your superdrive when you aren’t looking!