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Electricity 101
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Of the 96 items I was able to check off my To Do list over the course of the past two weeks "vacation", one involved moving a printer from upstairs to downstairs. This should be as simple as unplugging the printer from the electrical and Ethernet outlets, lugging it downstairs (despite its weight, I'll put in a plug for HP here - it's a 5 year old printer-scanner-fax-copier that has served us exceptionally well), and replugging it. Since we are not, however, living in some fantasyland, it was tad bit more complex.

It turns out it was not only the printer that needed to be moved, but also:

1. A device labeled "Jet Direct" which has a stupefying number of cables and wires protruding from it. I suspect this is piping a list of all the movies I watch on cable directly to Dick Cheney's office.

2. An external hard drive used for backup purposes, which reminds me that I haven't performed my annual backup lately.

3. A hub that is used so that both the printer and the hard drive can plug into the household network. It has a mutltitude of orifices that are labeled in such tiny black-on-black font that you'd need an electron microscope to read them.

Each device had many cords and cables that, along with the hub, hard drive, and Jet Direct, I threw into a plastic bag for the trip down the stairs. (Clue - this was where the first error was introduced into the process.) After tripping over one cat and two dogs while carrying the printer (I'm sure the three little kids next door are asking their parents what the crazy lady was yelling about), I arrived in the room that would serve as the new home for the noisy, heat-producing electronics.

At this point, I was interrupted (probably for an emergency trip to Wawa to pick up mass quantities of carbohydrates). This is another important clue to the ensuing fiasco, because when I returned to the plastic bag full of tangled wires it was less clear that it had been a few hours earlier as to which device matched which cord(s).

Undaunted, I plunged into the task of getting the hardware set up (which means arranging it on the tiny, particle-board printer stand, the assembling of which had nearly caused a divorce several years ago, in such a way that it would not fall off. Or wobble too much.) I plugged and shoved and jiggled ends of cables to get them to fit into the appropriate entry points. When I was done, there were no cords left over, which I thought was a good sign. I fired up each of the machines and all the little blue and green and yellow lights signaling power and (presumed) proper working order lit at the right times.

Until I got to the printer itself. When I turned it on, it encouragingly told me it was initializing itself (which is the printer equivalent of doing one's morning ablutions). And then it started flashing every light on its control panel, and the message changed to an ominous "Error c00e0402 TURN OFF AND ON". I followed the instructions, thinking that maybe it had dropped its toothbrush in the toilet, or something electronically similar, only to get the same message. Errors that have codes that appear to be in base 8 are never good.

I finally had to resort to what I had been trying to avoid all along - getting my ill (mono), handicapped (needs knee surgery but is still recovering from Achilles tendon surgery), almost-old-enough-to-qualify-for-those-"55 and better"-communities, husband involved. It took him several hours of traipsing up and down the basement stairs, consulting the manual, and muttering under his breath (along with two days of recovery time) to figure out that I had plugged the power cord for the hard drive into the printer and vice versa. The printer was getting insufficient power, while the hard drive thought it had died and gone to Viagra heaven. They really should make all power cords the same. Harumpph.

Moral of the story: just because it fits doesn't mean it will work.

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