A lot has happened since you last read this column!

Melvyn Magree

Have you gotten tired of Facebook or Classmates sending you email like this?

I dropped Facebook long ago because what generally happened was a half-sister posted yet another picture of her yard.  I ignore Classmates because the great news is that someone who I didn’t know posted something or other.

Well, you may or may not be interested in the “lot” that happened to me last week.  If not, go on to something else,  If you are curious, I hope to reward you with a few chuckles.

At least twice last week, I woke up with some stupendous ideas for this column, mostly about politics and billionaires.  I should have gotten up and written them down, but I preferred trying to go back to sleep.  I would remember these great ideas in the morning.  Of course, they faded with the rising sun.

Well, a few annoyances happened and they are hard to forget.

My printer started producing broken letters.  I twice tried the nozzle cleaning procedure, but the test papers came out even worse.  I even replaced the one ink cartridge that was low.

The warranty was about six weeks shy of running out.  Oh, well, for a few dollars, it’s hardly worth making a claim.

I looked up a few printers on Best Buy, and of course my model was no longer sold.  And of course, none of the current printers used the ink jet cartridges of my model.   I selected a model that was similar in functions, took my old printer to be recycled, and at the last minute took the receipt for the old printer.

When I got to Best Buy, I took in the tray that accepted envelopes.  I hoped I could use it in the new printer so that I didn’t have to change the paper in a tray.

I looked over the model I had selected and it looked like a good replacement.  As I really knew, the old tray wouldn’t fit.  I asked a clerk a few questions including how to recycle the old printer.  He said to bring it in a cart.

I went to check out, paid for my new printer and some ink cartridges.  I couldn’t find my Rewards card but the cashier looked it up. I took my purchases out to the car and brought in my old printer for recycling.  I gave the clerk at customer service the old printer and my story.  When I gave him the receipt for the old printer, he said that I had a replacement warranty!  I could have paid for the new printer with the old printer.

I still couldn’t find my Rewards card, and so he gave me an in-store card for future purchases.  I had no idea what I would be using it for in the near future, but as you will read, I soon found a use for some of the credit.

I took the printer home and started to set it up according to the instructions.  Things went smoothly except for setting up wi-fi on my modem and on my computers.

Then I tried printing some business cards.  The printer broke the card stock apart and jammed.  Check instructions.  Open back panel.  Pull out pieces of card stock, broken along the perforations and crumbled.  Also pull out pieces from the front.  Put back panel back, but it won’t fit.  Just which way does this thing go in?   I think it took me ten minutes to do it right.

Print a sheet of business cards and leave for a meeting, finally.  This was Thursday.

On Friday, we headed to the Twin Cities.  As I often do on trips of an hour or more, I use my iPhone and a low-power FM gadget to play podcasts through the car radio.  Except the gadget didn’t work!  The power light was on, but the radio frequency lights wouldn’t come on.  Nothing I tried would change the situation.

So, we spent two hours barely hearing “To the Best of Our Knowledge” (ttbook.org).  I had the iPhone between the seats and we could barely hear the speaker above the road noise.  At least we learned more about the operations of Coca Cola than we had known before.

When we got to the Twin Cities, we headed first to the Roseville Best Buy store.

We couldn’t find the same make of FM gadget, but we did find one that was considerably less expensive and automatically found the most open station.

I paid for it with my rewards card and the in-store credit card.  I still couldn’t find my rewards card, but I could use the email message on my phone about the rewards credit I received for the printer purchase.

We next stopped at a grocery store.  While my wife shopped, I installed the FM gadget.  It gave me 88.1 as the frequency and I could hear the podcast scratchily.  I reread and reread the instructions, but no matter what I did, I couldn’t get a clear signal.

Because the reception changed as we changed direction, we figured that we were getting interference from the humongous antennas in Shoreview.

Before we left the Twin Cities, we tried again in a Caribou parking lot.  We reread the directions and tried again.  We were able to listen to a podcast with a minimum of static.  We were still within sight of the Shoreview towers.

Oh, I also found my Best Buy Rewards card.  It was in my wallet all along.  It is silver-gray, not blue and yellow!

We have three lessons here that we constantly forget.  One, read the directions first and understand them.  Two, when looking for something in your wallet, make sure you see the face of every card.  Will I forget the next time?  Does the sun rise every morning?  Three, I found one of the lost middle-of-the-night notes.   It was in a folder I didn’t check.  Sorry, it’s more about billionaires.