A Really Bad Day...Or Two

So I was having a beer the other night, relaxing and decompressing after a long, but fulfilling week. I was going through some emails, scrolling Facebook and generally chilling out.


I was relaxed, until the point I knocked my beer and spilt it all over my laptop. I quickly grabbed a towel, mopped up the surface liquid and turned the laptop over.


I wasn’t too annoyed or emotional with what had just happened. I was actually planning on upgrading to another laptop soon anyway and this might just speed up the purchase. I was however; a little worried about the data on my hard drive. I had recently purchased an extra external hard drive to back up all my data, but of course I hadn’t actually got around to it.

I rang my local Mac store to try and get an appointment. They didn’t have one until Wednesday and it was only Saturday. I certainly didn’t want to be stuck without a computer for 4 days (assuming they could fix it immediately) so I googled some other options and found a local guy. I rang the number and he was available that day to grab the data from my internal hard drive.


The guy I found was cool and very knowledgeable about Macbook’s. I told him what had happened and how I had an unused external hard drive that I hadn’t gotten around to utilising for a back up. He laughed and told me he heard the same story many times. He said it would be no problem to grab the data from my computer and save the last few months work…thank god! He also gave me some great advice on which Macbook to purchase, which helped immensely.

I left my ruined laptop with this dude and took off to buy another laptop. A couple of hours later I returned with a newly purchase laptop and decided to leave it with him to transfer all the data.


My plan was to head to BJJ training, return back later to grab my computer and get home to quickly get out some time sensitive content I’d been working on for last week.


This is when things started to get interesting…


On my way to BJJ there was a major accident on the highway, which caused a huge build up of traffic and things were moving at a crawl. Now the drive to training is about 35mins and when it hit 7pm (the time training starts) and I was not even half way there, I decided to pull the pin and turn around. My new plan was to head back, grab my computer and get home to complete my work.


I vowed to go for a run later that night as I had just consumed an entire packet of peanut M&M’s I’d found in the glove compartment to help keep me awake during the bumper to bumper traffic (or maybe just because I like peanut M&M’s J).


It took another 30mins to get off the highway, turn around and get back to the guy’s place who had my laptop. I parked the car and had a bit of a way to walk to his house as it was in the city and of course there was no close parks. I stopped in at a local pub to grab some cash to pay my laptop repairer.


I tried my debit card. Declined. I check my account to confirm there was money it in and tried again… declined. It took me a few moments to realise that my withdrawal wasn’t being declined because of insufficient funds, but because I had reached my daily limit.


I reached for another debit card, but suddenly realised I didn’t know the pin. I only used this card in emergencies and usually pay waved it. I reached for my credit card and thought I’d use it as a cash withdrawal. I didn’t know that pin either.


With no options left at the ATM, I headed to my laptop repairer, informed him of the situation asked if he had a machine which I could use my credit card on. He didn’t…bugger.


He said to just come back tomorrow, but I really need my laptop tonight to finish some work. Then I thought to call my bank and ask them to increase the limit temporarily so I could sort this out.


I called the bank.


“I’m sorry, but we are currently experiencing an extremely high level call volume and waiting times are unusually long.”


Awesome. I hung up.


I didn’t want to just hang out in this dude’s house that I barely knew for an indeterminable amount of time so I told him I’d simply come back tomorrow to settle the bill and grab my computer.


I got outside and called the bank again. I was determined to get this sorted tonight. As I dialled the number I noticed I only had 2% battery life left. No problem, I reached into my bad and pulled out the external power pack I had and went to connect it to my almost flat phone.


No cable. Damn, it was in the car.


I walked all the way back to the car. My phone had died along the way so I would have to wait for the charge to kick in, the phone to start up again before I could dial the bank again and join the back of the cue.


A few minutes later I was in business. I rang the bank, got the same auto response regarding the long cue and waited.


30mins later my called was answered, my daily limit was increased and I was back in business. I made my way to the ATM, withdraw the required funds, went back and paid the guy, took my laptop and headed home.


Once home, I parked the car, got out and walked around to the passenger side to grab my gear.


This is where things got even more interesting.


I had a pair of Kathmandu outdoor pants sitting on the passenger side, which I had planed to use after BJJ training. I had these pants rolled up and a belt attached. When I opened the car door, the pants fell out of the car and with the extra weight due to the belt, rolled into the gutter and down a drain. A 3m drain.


I stared at the drain, quite confused about the whole situation. My brand new $170 Kathmandu pants had just fell out of my car and down into a deep storm water drain with a very heavy gate securing the access point.


I wasn’t even angry, just bemused. This day was ridiculous!


I ran through the options in my mind…


“How do I retrieve the pants?” “Do I really want them now?” “Is it all too difficult and should I just move on?”


I walked into my apartment block, got in the elevator up to my floor, opened the door and announced to my wife, “You know those pants I just bought….?” I proceeded to tell her the story and she began to grin. She said, “Why wouldn’t that happen to you?”


Why not indeed.


The council no doubt would have experience in this matter, but as it was closed I decided to fashion a retrieval system using my dog’s extendable leash and a coat hanger. A few minutes later I was back in front of the stormwater drain starring at my pants through the steel grate.


I got down in the prone (belly down) position lying beside the grate and began letting down my makeshift retrieval system. The midgies seemed to take a liking to the new addition to the drain and took great offence at my attempted retrieval. They attacked veraciously and without prejudice and soon I was covered in bites. I persisted through their attack and tried to hook the coat hanger onto my pants, but found it difficult to get the hook in the right position.


Finally after around 10 minutes and many midgy bites later I had the pants hooked. I activated the retrieval mechanism on the dog leash and began to raise up my pants…


Snap, the coat hanger broke off the leash and my pants slumped back to the bottom of the storm water drain. I went back upstairs; I had some work to do.


The pants would have to wait.


A few hours later and while I was finishing my work, my Wife who I didn’t realise was actually MacGyver, had fashioned a new retrieval tool. It was a sturdy coat hanger, which she had fastened to a broom handle using trusty old sticky tape.


I trudged back outside, determined to get my pants. I once again got into the prone position and fed the broom into the abyss. The midgies once again attacked, but I persisted and within a few minutes I had hooked my pants with this brilliant new retrieval tool.


I hoisted… it worked. I had my pants.


I powered upstairs and walked triumphantly into the apartment as if I’d just received my Commando beret all over again. I smiled, my wife smiled, she knew that I knew she was an engineering genius.


I had a shower and got into my nicely made bed. After all, no matter how shitty your day, at least you can get into a nice made bed at the end of it and look forward to tomorrow.


However, this wasn’t a shitty day. I’d had my new computer, I had my pants, I had Mrs McGyver...


I’d won.

About the Author

Rhys Dowden is the owner of Operator Edge, a company through which he provides to his clients extensive mental conditioning along with military, self-defense, and strength training.

Growing up in Queensland, Rhys enlisted in the Army as soon as he was 18 and then served a little more than four years in the Royal Australian Armored Corps.

Read more here...

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