Dear Ernie: You're Super High-Maintenance and You Suck

So it's been a few weeks since I got accepted into the GSK drug study and a few things have happened. First, I turned 31, which officially means that I'm in my thirtIES, versus being thirtY (yikes) but also, I've developed a love hate relationship with my Palm Pilot, Ernie. And by that, I mean that I try to love him while he adamnatly refuses to get along with me. And by that, I mean he's a dick. 

Apparently, these Palm Pilots are the same for everyone who's in the study--no matter where in the world they are. As such, they're supposed to be able to transmit results from even the most remote locations. It seems simple: blow into the peak flow meter twice a day, answer a daily questionnaire and then send it off into space. Three steps--no big deal, right?

Well, here's what happens with me:

Step 1: Answer morning questionnaire.

Step 2: Blow into peak flow meter.

Step 3: Transmit peak flow meter results into Ernie.

Step 4: Ernie accepts peak flow results.

Step 5: Press send.

Step 6: Watch the screen try to connect to the wireless signal, a countdown that starts at 290 seconds.

Step 6(b): Slowly watch the countdown reach 250 seconds.

Step 6(c): Fill the kettle with water for a cup of tea because it's early and I need the caffeine.

Step 7: Ernie beeps, sounding that the information hasn't been sent.

Step 8: Look outside at the mass accumulation of snow on my car because I was too lazy to put it in our temporary car port the night before.

Step 9: Sigh loudly.

Step 10: Steep tea and try to resend peak flow results.

Step 11: Watch the countdown start again and cross my fingers that somehow, Ernie will be able to connect.

Step 12: Notice that Ernie has passed the second of three connecting processes and feel a small amount of relief that I won't have to drive into town after all.

Step 13: Drink tea while trying not to move from wherever I'm standing in case my location has something to do with the wireless signal while also trying not to stare at Ernie because I don't want to make him nervous and a watched Palm Pilot never sends.

Step 14: Hear Ernie beep again because the connection has been lost.

Step 14(b): Debate on whether or not I have to go into town even though the RTT for the study says that as long as Ernie saves the reports, I can send them in later and not get kicked out of the study.

Step 14(c): Try to sit down and start writing for the day but can't ignore the plethora of negative thoughts that fill my mind, all of which have me eventually getting kicked out of the study for being non-compliant despite the report being saved.

Step 15: Sigh again as I put on my boots to drive into town.

Step 15(b): Sigh even louder when I pass the mirror and see that my hair is a hot mess.

Step 15(c): Grab a toque to cover said hot mess, as well as the device that is making my life ridiculously complicated Ernie.

Step 16: Let out a small cry as the hairs in my nostrils freeze because it's -18C and the sun's only been out for seven minutes, therefore doing nothing to combat the frigid temperatures.

Step 17: Wait in car as it warms up because my ice scraper is still in the locked shed and it's so windy that the thought of standing outside and struggling with the stupid frozen padlock isn't even slightly appealing.

Step 17(b): Crank the heat so the windshield will defrost and point all of the vents towards the windows because the car starts off blowing cold air and I'm already freezing.

Step 17(c): Use the washer spray to speed up the process of windshield defrosting because I'm cold and just want to get on with my day.

Step 18: Start driving while sneakily reading the wireless signal without making it seem like I'm looking at my cell phone because if a cop catches me, I'll get a massive ticket.

Step 19: Finally get two bars of signal after driving for 11 minutes, pull into some random person's driveway and hope they aren't home or won't notice that I'm moderately tresspassing for the four minutes Ernie takes to send the report.

Step 20: The report finally sends.

Step 21: Turn around and go home while wondering if the reception in rural Poland is better than the reception in New Brunswick, Canada.

Step 22: Repeat Steps 1 - 21, twice daily.

Step 23: Bang head against wall.

Yes, I know that Step 14(b) states that the RTT for the study told me that as long as the reports on Ernie are saved, I'm OK, I just can't handle the thought of something going wrong. Getting into this study is the best thing that's happened to me since getting sick and there's no freaking way that I'll let a low wireless signal mess it up for me. That and the Prednisone makes me a nervous wreck, thusly amplifying those fears by about five ka-trillion.

Lucky for me, I have a very generous and supportive Mum who got on it and ordered me a thingy-ma-doodle that will increase the signal for our house. YAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAY!!

The thingy-ma-doddle arrived on Monday afternoon but The Remix was at work and didn't have time to install it that night. Then, of course, Tuesday was Jan 1st and he wasn't in good enough shape to install it then, either. However, TODAY IS THE DAY, people! When he comes home from work, his FIRST job is to get a ladder and strap the thingy to the outside of our house. Facing NW, towards the distant cell tower, and therefore hopefully making this morning my last Ernie-related drive. But until then...

Dear Ernie: You're super high-maintenance and you suck. 


  1. Sounds like Ernie is a huge pain in the arse! I hope the thingy-ma-doddle helps with the signal.

  2. Good luck one thing might be the snow/weather. We have this stupid internet that goes out when it snows, it is like a stick thingy like mobile broadband or something which works great on things like moving trains but in our apartment the slightest bit of snow out makes it go wonky!

  3. Fact: Ernie sucks.

    Another fact: My child totally 'starred' this post on her own. While I was reading it obvs. She has great taste.


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