Well, the bad news is that my laptop is broken. Broken enough that we know it will not last the trip overseas and up to 2 months there without needing to be taken apart and put back together again (a process Mike has effectively done about 5 times now, securing the problem each time and returning it to it's properly working condition... for a time). So tonight we went out to take another look at laptops. We were hoping not to do this but it was time.
So there MUST be good news then... Yes, we found a computer. A CHEAP computer. Less than $500 for a decent laptop on clearance- open item (but never actually used, it is obvious). We took the "smart road" this time and purchased that thing we said we'd never do-- "accidental damage warranty". Yep, it's worth it! That's the only reason my old laptop secured its death. Kristopher dropped it off the couch onto the power plug. Bye bye connection to motherboard and ability to run off power or charge the battery. Lots of tiny screws and a soddering gun later it has been limping along for quite some time with only periodic needs to re-repair it.
Here's the neat part(s) though- the man selling us the machine says "I'll take 20% off of any warranty plan if you purchase 2 accessories with the laptop. Hmm.. let's do the math... $280 plan, 20% is $56. So... we looked around a bit. A 2 gig memory stick for the digital camera? on sale from $37 marked down to $24... A game for Kristopher? $20... Ok, so if we spend this extra $44 then we'll save $56? Right. Immediately, no mail in's or anything. Sounds good, we just got $12 off our warranty AND got a memory stick and a computer game :) Then... he took 20% off of the game and the memory stick too! Our whole bill came to $817. $1057 worth of equipment. Not too bad :) (unfortunately, when we got home we realized that the computer rang up for $50 more than it was priced, so we'll go back to have that corrected... but we know our salesman is working and even the manager tomorrow- no worries!) Have I mentioned we like Staples?
And the new laptop has some neat features that we REALLY didn't expect to find for such a great price. A memory card reader- and get this- I put my memory stick in and pressed "import" and it even put them all in a folder named EXACTLY how I would have named it and it's in my "pictures" folder even. I LOVE IT! No cord, no using up batteries... And a webcam. Yep, $500 and it has a webcam. Not bad? I'm sure it has more than that, but those are the two things that I'm really excited about. And both will be wonderful to have overseas.
So even if we didn't exactly want to spend the $800 on a new computer, I feel so much better knowing that I'll have this as a means of communication while I'm gone and that it won't be dying mid-trip! (but if it does... it will be replaced for free!)
So even tho you didn't ask for it, here's a pic of ME posting this post, isn't the web cam cool?? :D