My week started, as weeks tend to, on Monday. Dominic and Robert were due at any time. I had set up the laptop on the kitchen table and had turned on the PC in the living room all ready for them. I ate lunch whilst idly surfing (QVC, Facebook and the new Strictly Come Dancing site). Still no sign of Dom and Rob. I left everything running while I went to pick Mac up from school and sat watching the screensaver do its thang whilst listening to Mac tell me all about his day - it's certainly changed since my day (now I feel ancient) and I sat, goggled eared as he counted up to fifty and went right through the alphabet (in the wrong order but all 26 letters were there). Dom and Rob arrive ten minutes before David did at ten to six. "We'll have a quick look now and come back tomorrow yeah?" said Dom from Basildon. Their "quick look" held up dinner by an hour.
On Tuesday Lydia decamped to my sofa and we chatted idly whilst waiting for the IT Duo. They'd "helpfully" disconnected our internet connection while they had checked on the "IP address" so I couldn't surf. I went to pick Mac up (and met, for the first time, Queen Organiser Mummy) and returned to find Dom and Rob had turned up and were making Lydia her fifteenth cup of peppermint tea. They spent the rest of the afternoon fiddling and left at dead on 5pm, promising to be back "around eleven".
Wednesday morning and a prolonged chat at the gates with Queen Organiser Mummy who handed me a printed A4 sheet with the list of activities she had arranged for her son Oliver and the "rest of his class mates, so essential for children to have a planned social life don't you think?". Attached to the A4 sheet were "crib notes for parents" which listed the dos and dont's for various events. Mac had been invited to a range of events right up until 21st of December. Other mummies were similarly stunned - Red Haired Mummy was slightly miffed to discover her daughter had a better social life than she did. Dom and Rob arrived at ten to eleven and informed me, after twenty minutes of fiddling, that there was a problem. "Basically" said Rob "What you've got here is an elderly PC but a sprightly laptop. So what works on one doesn't work on another. Tricky." So tricky in fact that they knocked off at half two (after spending 45 minutes talking to their own helpdesk) with a promise to be back at 10am tomorrow.
10am on Thursday and no sign of Dom or Rob. Auntie Ivy rang from her intensive driving course to say that one of the instructors teaching her was last seen downing a bottle of brandy and the rest of the instructors were drawing straws about who was not going to take her for the reversing round corner lesson. The Dynamic Duo arrived at quarter past twelve, spent ten minutes looking at the laptop, inhaling loudly and muttering about "breached firewalls" before they picked up their box of tricks and said they needed to "check with the office" but that they'd be back "by five". They weren't. At half past five I rang the helpdesk and demanded to speak to a supervisor. After a few questions I informed the very nice sounding lady that I had "no SAGE installed, no sign of a firewall and absolutely no internet access". She told me that that wasn't possible as Dom and Rob were "the best in their field". I snorted and demanded again to speak to a supervisor. David arrived halfway through my rant (where words and phrases such as "travesty", "waste of space", "legal action" and "lazy incompetents" sprang from my lips). To give them their due, the Supervisor Section of the IT department were on the ball enough to promise me that their Senior Technician would be on my doorstep, come rain or shine, at 9.30am tomorrow morning and didn't even flinch when I hissed "I'll believe THAT when I see it!".
Friday morning. 9.35am and a very nice man called Jonathan arrived. He went into a flurry of tutting and sighing and mutterings for half an hour whilst looking at the laptop. When he got to the PC I thought he was going to expire. Still. By the time I'd left to pick Mac up he had all but sorted everything out - SAGE, firewall, internet, the lot. I bought him back a danish from Ayres as a thank you and he listened to Mac's chatter about the Halloween party he's been invited to. I resisted the temptation to ask where Dom and Rob were - no doubt cocking up another poor soul's cyberspace.
So. David has spent all evening on the sprightly laptop with his SAGE and I've been on and off the elderly PC. And all is right with the world.
But I have just five weeks to "source material for and make a Halloween costume" for Oliver's Horrible Halloween party, to be held at Queen Organiser Mummy's spacious abode overlooking The Common. According to my crib notes "mass produced shop bought items will be frowned upon - costumes or accoutrements" and if I want any help in making my childs outfit then I can get in touch - she has listed four different telephone numbers.