Out with the old

Susan Manzke

Recently, we had two pieces of equipment move out of our lives — one was for farm work, and the other one was for the office. Neither was an easy move.

Bob sold his John Deere 55 combine, manufactured sometime in the 1960s.

The old combine hadn’t been used in many years, but with some puttering it started. Bob was amazed because this had been accomplished using the last bit of old gas still in the tank.

Years ago, Bob had parked the machine when its internal fan broke. He had been in the midst of harvest and had to turn to another combine to finish the job. Ever since that day, the 55 had rested in our machine shed.

After harvest, the broken combine wasn’t needed. When spring came, Bob was too busy with field work to repair the 55 and let it go. He actually didn’t want to crawl inside the belly of the combine to do the repairs. Other options were used the following fall.

Now it was finally out and heading to another farm. Bob bid it a fond farewell, and then he went into his shed and appreciated the open space its absence left behind.

This transfer of equipment went smoothly for us, but it was not so with the one from our office. That all started in the middle of the night.

A thunderstorm sped through our area a week or so ago. One bolt of lightning hit nearby. CRASH! Our telephone rang once; that ring shook us awake more than the lightening. I checked the phone and happily heard a dial tone. It was working. With that good news, we went back to sleep.

In the morning, we found that Internet router was dead. Out in the country we have DSL, which works through phone lines. Though the phone was still working, our router wasn’t.

I called up the Internet help line. They could check from their end to see if the router could be rebooted. It couldn’t. “We’re sorry,” said the technician. “Your router is too old" (he meant old for a router, not old for a combine).

They would send us a new router right away.

Bob and I hadn’t realized how tied we are to the Internet. We both paced into our office and passed the dead router.

I wondered what emails we were missing. My column goes to the newspaper through the Internet. What if we didn’t get it fixed in time? It would be like going back to the stone-age if I had to use snail mail, but that wouldn’t happen. Our library has a great Internet connection that I would have used, but I still missed one at home where I could connect at any time, day or night.

The following afternoon, the new router arrived. The technician said to call and someone would walk us through connecting it to their system and our computers.

I took it out of the box and sorted through the wires. Bob stood by to give me moral support. He didn’t want to touch anything — my husband prefers big machines.

I sorted out what went where and plugged it in. To our surprise, the lights lit, but we still needed to call the technician. I had forgotten the DSL cable needed to connect to the phone line.

With the help of an expert, we got everything running. Too bad they weren’t here when I had to reconnect our TV and printer to the active Wifi.

I’m not kidding when I said I worked hours connecting the printer. By nightfall, I was pulling out my hair trying to get our printer to recognize the change. I pushed all the buttons I could think of. I added the new passcode — a string of 14 digits. Nothing worked.

I gave up at bedtime, figuring some magic would occur overnight and solve my problem.

No such luck. But after a couple more frustrating hours, I got everything working. Yay!

Too bad modern machines don’t last as long as that John Deere 55 did. If they did, I’m sure, this router would outlive me. Someday I’ll have to go through this madness all over again, if I live that long.

Susan Manzke, Sunnybook Farm, N8646 Miller Rd, Seymour, WI 54165;

Bob looks one last time at his John Deere 55 as it is readied to move to its new home.