Fortuitousby Jim

31 May 2008
12:05 pm

I apologize for the long post, but I really have a lot to say. (It seems whenever airports are involved, my posts quadruple in length…) Bear with me, I think it’ll be worth it.

A few days ago my dad asked me to do a little project for him which involved burning some video to a DVD. My computer had been having issues, and I had decided to reinstall windows to hopefully fix those issues. (It had been a really long time since I did a full reinstall.) I decided to give Windows Vista a try since I hadn’t yet and I wanted to give it a fair chance. There is so much opinion about Vista out there and I really shouldn’t say anything until I can form my own. So, last night I installed Vista. Everything went smoothly.

The video project my dad wanted me to do is 56 gigabytes, so I figured I should free up some space on my hard drives by removing my (no longer used) Linux partitions and resizing the NTFS partitions with the new unused space. Well, most other times, this operation took at most 20 minutes. This time, I had a 500 GB hard drive with a 366 GB partition to resize. The problem was the block size had to change because the drive was so big. Basically, there are only so many address spaces the drive can use and when I grew the whole drive, the individual address spaces had to each grow too (because I already was using the most number of address spaces I could). So, it took my computer about 7 hours to do the complete resize. When you edit the partitions, you DO NOT stop in the middle, unless you want to have corrupted data. There was really nothing I could do; my computer was tied up for several hours. Fortuitous event #1: A couple days ago I copied the entire 56 GB project to a network drive to free up some space for my new Operating System. Even though my computer was occupied for many hours, I could still get to the project my dad needed me to finish.

I forgot to mention that my mom needed to be brought to the airport for a 6 am flight this morning, which means we had to leave at about 4:30 am (so she could be an hour early at 5 am). I was in a little bit of a time crunch. After I realized that I wouldn’t be able to use my own computer to work on this project, Angie suggested that I use her computer. Fortuitous event #2: About 3 weeks ago, I bought Angie a new computer. I had noticed that her computer was nearly 8 years old and showing its age. Angie was so good to not complain about it and just be patient with it. So, as a surprise, I bought her a new computer which is faster than my own. There is no way I could have used her old computer to work on this project.

So, I installed Adobe Premier and Encore on Angie’s computer and got to work. It took about 90 minutes to copy the 56 GB project. Angie’s computer is the only one in the house not connected to the gigabit network, so the copy was slow. (I guess I should have bought a new network switch while I was upgrading her computer.) Once I got started, I ran into the same problem that prevented me from completing the project months ago. I found a solution from a google search and was able to finish the DVD just minutes before having to leave with Mom making fortuitous event #3. I would have liked to have more time, but Dad needed something and this was all I had.

We hopped in the car and started the drive out to the Oakland airport. Things were going just fine, but as we pulled off the freeway on 98th Ave., warning lights started flashing on my dashboard. I realized my power steering was gone, so I quickly got in the turn lane of the offramp and turned right on 98th Ave. and pulled over to the side. My car had overheated. Fortuitous event #4: My car had died 2.7 miles from the airport. I can’t say how glad I was my car died in a place where I could safely get off the road. We called AAA and had a tow truck there in 15 minutes. I only got 5 miles for free from the towing service, so I asked if he would take us to the airport. He seemed a little surprised, but took us there nonetheless. When we pulled up at the curb to drop Mom off, a security guard gave us a funny look as I jumped down from the truck to go get Mom’s suitcase out of the trunk of the car being towed. We must have looked very strange. Anyway, we only lost 30 minutes and so (fortuitous event #5:) Mom was able to make the flight!

I asked the serviceman to drop me off at the nearest gas station. He unhooked my car and I went inside to buy some coolant. He was kind enough not to charge me, even though I think I went over my 5 mile limit (probably only by a mile). I got the coolant and he even helped me put it in the car and get it running again. With the engine running, he noticed that I had thin streams of coolant squirting out of my overflow tank. I thanked him for his help and bid him farewell. I had brought the GPS, so I was looking for repair centers nearby and considering waking up Jon (my brother living in Emeryville a few miles away) to help me out when fortuitous event #6 happened: Dad called to check up on me. We talked about the car and he figured that by refilling the coolant, I would probably have enough to get home. We had poured nearly the entire container of coolant into the car, so it had been quite empty. With his assurance, I started the trek home.

Fortuitous event #7: The last couple days I have felt a cold coming on, so I have been getting to bed on time (a rarity for me). The last three nights I’ve gone to bed at times ranging from 8:30 to 10:30 pm and slept for at least 8 hours. I couldn’t afford being sick with so little sick leave after Angie’s surgery, so I wanted to make sure I didn’t get sick by doing whatever I could to keep my body strong. With such a good sleep pattern the last few days, I hardly felt tired driving home at 6 am even though I had been awake for over 24 hours (and I don’t feel sick anymore). I arrived home to find my wife and my cat peacefully sleeping in bed. I put on my pajamas and got under the covers and went to sleep.

The more I think about the events of the last 24 hours, the more I realize just how fortunate I was. Seemingly terrible things happened to me, but in the end, everything worked out just fine. My computer is in perfectly good shape, Mom made it on her flight, Dad got his DVD, and I got home safely. I really felt like these events were more than just luck. The Lord really does look out for us and answer our prayers. Days like this help you realize that.

Comments (6) Trackbacks (0)
  1. Kenn North
    3:05 PM on May 31st, 2008

    I expect a Vista review to the be forthcoming!

  2. Jim
    3:08 PM on May 31st, 2008

    Of course. Isn’t that what blogs are for? :)

  3. Rachel
    3:34 PM on May 31st, 2008

    Wow. You must be living right to have everything line up so nicely! And it’s also a sign of your amazing character that you kept your cool through it all. I sure admire you, Jim!

  4. Justin
    9:38 PM on May 31st, 2008

    Wow!! That’s quite the series of events. I also will be expecting a thorough review of Vista. In the meantime though it seems like your car is having quite the problems. We should probably take a look at that.

  5. Momma Hoffman
    8:19 PM on June 1st, 2008

    As the mom who made it on her flight I would like to pay tribute to Jim for the awesome young man he is. He handled both the all-night DVD making process and the car trouble so well. When I think of the question we are often asked to consider: “What would Jesus do?” I can truly say Jim lives his life along those lines without even thinking about it. And the Lord truly was watching over us, which also lets me know He is with Angela, too, right now in her recovery process. What a sweet couple Jim and Angie are! What a blessing it was to get to be in their home for a week. Thanks, y’all! :-)

  6. Momma Hoffman
    9:25 AM on June 2nd, 2008

    P.S. A suggestion for a rename of this post: A Series of Very Fortuitous Events… :-) Love you guys!

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