Thursday, February 18, 2010

#49 Prison talking: Finding Solutions

Prison talk: Finding solutions

Sometimes we get our share of problems knowing that we all get them, no different from you or me. But sometimes when the problems continue to mount, it can break the back of even optimistic people. No different with me as an ex felon or you as a regular person. Tonight was one of those situations.

I was answering a few emails from some readers and was about to go offline, when I noticed something wrong with my keyboard. It wasn’t typing anything, even after hitting the keys a few times. Since I have a wireless keyboard and mouse, I figured that maybe the batteries were dead, so I moved my keyboard to the living room and checked it out.

It seemed that they were dead, or at least very weak, so I replaced them, and moved back to the computer, ready to resume checking to see if everything was ok…

It still didn’t work.

So now I am wondering, why isn’t it working? I need this to work, because without the keyboard working, I can’t write my blogs…or anything else for that matter. The mouse worked fine, but the keyboard was not working. My remote has a connect button, so I pressed it, hoping it would make the keyboard work…no dice.

I checked the instructions to see what to do, and they said there was a tiny button on the bottom of my keyboard, that it can reconnect…I never noticed it before, but found it, and tried it….

No luck.

I tried the remote and the keyboard, even trying the mouse, even though there seemed to be nothing wrong with it…still nothing.

Now I was getting concerned. I took the batteries out again, put them back in, and tried the connect button. I needed this to work, it HAD to work because without it, I can’t use this computer. I cursed myself for not being able to afford a new computer, but hoping that this would work. But after several attempts, nothing.

I thought, why not just restart, maybe it will work…no dice.

And in my frustration, the thought, “if it ain’t one thing, it’s another” just kept running in my head. My computer crashed only a week ago and I did a system recovery and lost everything, I can’t bear another setback like this.

I restarted the computer and tried my keyboard…nothing. The mouse still worked but not the keyboard. Then I figured, why not go back and get the original keyboard and mouse? Surely that will work!

So I went back to my bedroom, got the original keyboard and mouse that came with the computer, and plugged it back in. It’s got to work now…but it didn’t.


It came with the computer, it SHOULD work! I was losing hope now, as that thought of “if it ain’t one thing, it’s another” seemed to be getting louder and louder. It just does not seem fair, just when something in my life starts to get just a LITTLE hope, things come crashing down. The keyboard HAS to work. It just HAS to!

I could not understand why the original keyboard and mouse was not working, but as long as the mouse worked from the wireless, I could at least point and click for an update. Maybe I could get a download of the driver. It had to work, because since my computer’s CD drive is broken, there is no way I can install the keyboard or mouse even if it required me to. I have been with a broken CD drive for over a year, one of the reasons I needed my keyboard to work so I can hopefully try to earn some money to buy a new computer, or at least a cd drive.

I managed to get to Windows Update and see if they could check my computer to suggest a driver, and actually found a download for a keyboard that is supposed to work with my computer…I have a 510n HP if you are curious…and it also tells you how old it is.

I downloaded the driver, and tried to install it…no good. It said my computer does not meet the necessary requirements. What kinda requirements do I need to reinstall the keyboard and mouse that came with the computer!

I was getting more and more frustrated as I sat on the floor, about to give up. The wireless keyboard wasn’t working. The original keyboard and mouse does not work. I cannot reinstall anything by cd because my cd drive has been broke for about a year. I cannot download the driver to help because it says my computer does not meet the necessary requirements. I was stuck. I felt defeated and was about to give up.

I cursed myself for not having a new computer, I really needed one long before now, and it seemed like I ran out of time. No telling when I will be able to luck up on getting a used one, and without the keyboard working, I could not blog or write anything. This sucks.

In a desperate attempt to try something, I went back to the wireless keyboard and took the batteries out. I noticed the second one was hard to take out, usually that was the case because of the tight fit, but I also noticed there was a bit of white powder inside the compartment. Maybe there was excess battery acid that dried up and caked up inside.

I got mom’s flashlight and looked inside…and saw a buildup of solid battery acid at the back…I realized that it is quite possible that THIS was what was keeping the keyboard from working. Maybe this was blocking the connection of the batteries, which prevented my keyboard from working.

I got some Q-tips, warm water, the flashlight and an extended piece of metal, and sat down in the living room. I was going to have to dislodge that battery acid, but I first had to soften it with warm water from the Q-tip. I was careful to try not to get any more moisture inside this keyboard than necessary. I dabbed the acid, hoping to get it soft enough to scrape out, and repeated as often as I could. After about 15 minutes, I managed to get it clean inside, and tried the batteries again. I was very nervous, thinking that if it did not work, I would have lost.

I restarted the computer, and hit a few keys on the keyboard after opening up a page to type on….BINGO! It worked! I breathed a sigh of relief and felt myself regaining hope, and figured, even at 12:30, to write a post tonight and put it on.

There is a lot to be said about what I went through, and although on the grand scope of things it might seem small to you, the moral here is, if you can bear it, to find a solution. It is hard to do that in the midst of turmoil, depression, anger and stress. And with a loved one in prison, these are common obstacles. Lots of you have problems with situations with a loved one in prison, and it is hard to even see a solution when all you see is failure, depression, stress, frustration, shame, condemnation, and other negative feelings. I assure you, I have been there.

And I am not saying it is easy to move those to the side…you cannot know how frustrated I was just an hour or so ago. But I kept trying to find solutions, if plan A didn’t work, I need a plan B. If plan B didn’t work, lets try plan C. If that didn’t work, what is plan D. Its not like I had 26 plans, as I mentioned earlier, I was about to admit defeat. But sometimes an answer to a problem could be just an arms length away.

This is why sometimes when it comes to prison issues, it is good to have someone to talk to. Many times when I answer emails I can speak from outside the circle, and thus have a clear focus of what you can do. Often times when people talk about prison problems, they are inviting people to join them IN that same circle. Folks that is NOT how you help somebody.

It might seem like the kind thing to do, but trust me, if two people are sulking and feeling down…neither are in a position to help the other. But if one person is feeling down, and the other is in a frame of mind of looking for a solution, then there is still hope.

This is what prison support groups ought to be about, a group where people with problems and questions can mix with those who can think of solutions. But if everybody at a site is filled with gloom and doom, then NOBODY gets help and it turns into a nest of cackling hens.

I am not saying that I know everything, heck I know very little in the world of prison genre, but my experience gives me the ability to talk about what I went through. And the life I have had in prison and out gives me the ability to talk not just about prison while I was in there, but life after prison. And further, because I have written for so many different prison support sites, I also have the experience and ability to talk about that as well.

These give me the chance to help you IF you ask. If you asked me about prison food, I can tell you much better about it than some wanna-be moderator on some site with 40,000 posts, but never set foot in a prison except for visitation. I can tell you about it because I lived in there, and further, I actually worked in THREE different prison kitchens. My experience in prison gives me a chance to give you solutions or answers to your questions.

And if I can do that, if I can win you over, then I stand a chance of getting your support, maybe down the road you will ask me about my prison cards, maybe one of my books, or other things I do. If I can get readers to the point where I can start receiving support, I would then be able to do much more, especially knowing that I have a supportive group that interacts instead of people who just read.

These are the foundations of solutions when it comes to prison support. Finding solutions is not always easy, and can be very, very frustrating. I can clearly understand why a mom is so worried about her son and why he has not written, or why a wife with a husband in prison is worried about a transfer, or why a girlfriend wonders why her boyfriend is asking for more money than he used to. Folks, I can help you understand that, because I have been there.

I ask you, if you are overburdened with prison issues, would it hurt you to at least email me? Why are you going to spend another week or month losing sleep when I am asking you to let me help? I don’t expect 1000 people to email me tomorrow saying, “hey, I want to buy you a new computer, how much do you need?” I expect that the first thing I have to do is to provide information to you freely. That’s why I am blogging and sharing retro posts, to give you information about what I talk about.

To give you solutions to your problems, even if you wanted to ask but didn’t trust me yet to do so.

If that works, then I hope that you would at least trust me to make a nice comment on my blogs. There is no risk in doing that if you read my blogs on blogspot, Xanga and Wordpress.

If you trust me more, then email me. Let me know you’re out there, and if you have a question, ask. Folks, I have written over 5000 pages…not posts, PAGES, since I got out in 2001. I love to write. So ask me, and let me help if I am able.

If you trust me after that, then please consider supporting my blogs. I could really use a new computer, so I can get back to using Print software to make new cards, encouragement certificates and the like. I would really like to earn some money writing blogs, and helping others. People always criticize ex felons about doing something constructive, well, this is one example of how it can be done.

So consider my offer, and remember that sometimes the answer, the solution, is often behind a nest of frustration. But if you can’t get through it, you can’t find the solution. Until next time….

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