Apples and Aggravation

We decided to give apple-picking a try this year. Isabella is at a great age for activities like this, and somehow picking apples seems quintessentially fall, my most favorite season of the year.

(Speaking of which, I haven't had a pumpkin spice latte from Starbucks yet this year. Must get one soon.)
Given that I am a gigantic nerd and research everything we do in advance of leaving the house, I began to check out the websites of the farms in our area that offer "U-pick" apples. There aren't any close to my house, so on Friday the hubs came home from work and said that there was a great one a few miles from where he teaches, about 30 minutes away. On Friday night, I went out to their website to check it out...
and my laptop was infected with an insidious, nasty, super-deep virus that had taken over the farm's site.
My anti-virus program did not touch it. I am enraged over this, because the company and program I used (past tense) is well-known, very large, and apparently, completely ineffective. I don't want to go all Dooce and Whirlpool on them (although I really, really want to) because let's face it, my audience is about 1/1,000,000 of hers and therefore I'm unlikely to do any damage to their business, but I am very, very pissed off. Needless to say, I am now running a different, more effective anti-virus program. Email me if you want more details than this.
Anyway, I called my friend, IT genius that he is, and he was just getting on a plane heading back home from a business trip. He spent 30 minutes helping me troubleshoot the problem over the phone, and following our conversation, I thought I had gotten rid of the virus. I turned off my laptop, and went to bed.
When I woke up Saturday morning and switched on my computer, the virus was back. A fake program was popping up all over my screen, telling me my computer was infected with spyware, and telling me to buy their program to get rid of it. This was just the mask of the virus, which was then burying itself 17,000 levels deep in my registry and Windows OS files. I couldn't get online. I couldn't get rid of it via any of the conventional troubleshooting methods, which I'm familiar with given my technical writing background, because the virus was preventing access to the registry, Control Panel, and any of the utilities used to fix issues like these.
Needless to say, I was freaking the hell out. My entire universe is on my laptop-all my client work and contact information, all the work and information needed for my online teaching job, which is probably starting this week, all my photos, and I had no Internet access. None. I started to hyperventilate at the prospect of having to wipe my hard drive, re-install my OS, and start from scratch.
I called my friend at 8am, expecting his phone to go to voicemail, since he had returned home late Friday night. Instead, he picked up, and was able to decipher my blubbering, panicked cries for help enough to agree to come over later than day to help.
In the meantime, off to apple-picking.
In spite of a brief temper tantrum in the orchard from a certain three-year-old who wanted to be carried instead of walking (I thought we had kicked the "Carry Me!" nonsense months ago, but apparently, I was wrong), we had a great time. Isabella picked a ton of apples, and has wanted to do little more than eat her bounty since then.

Here are the twins expressing silent skepticism about the apple-picking business.
Nicholas spent the entire trip fantasizing about something new to sink his 1.5 teeth into.

We returned home, put the kids down for their naps, and my friend came over to help.
He spent the next 11 hours at my house, trying to get the virus in my laptop to die. He thought he'd killed it only to have it re-emerge several dozen times. Keep in mind, this is a guy with 12 years of big-time IT experience.
Finally, he uninstalled *Well-known, yet utterly useless anti-virus program* and bought and installed the one he runs (Trend Micro, for those interested). I also bought their 24/7 support, because he had tried every trick he knew to rid my laptop of the virus, and it would not leave, and at 11pm Saturday night, we called their tech support hotline. Their Level 1 rep tried for an hour to remotely fix the problem (at that point, I had Internet access once again). She couldn't do it, and elevated the problem to their Level 2 team. And this rep, after another hour of work, finally fixed my computer.
Both she and my friend both agreed that the virus in my laptop was the worst one each of them had ever seen.
I spent a tender moment or 12 gently caressing my laptop and shedding tears of joy before going to bed close to 1am.
My wonderful, awesome, amazing, not-feeling-well-and-super-busy-himself friend spent 11 hours at my house last night trying to fix my computer. I bitch and moan quite a bit about my life on this blog, but it's high time I realize that I am lucky indeed to have people like him in my life.

6 Responses to “Apples and Aggravation”

  1. # Anonymous Lis Garrett

    Oh, oh, oh. I can only imagine how you felt (I'm backing up everything to my external hard drive ASAP!). My sympathies, as I completely lost everything once, and it's something I never want to experience again.

    Glad to hear it turned out okay in the end. I use Trend Micro, too.

    Ian and went on an apple-picking field trip with Bridget's preschool on Friday. Apples, cider, and donuts - ah . . . FALL!  

  2. # Blogger Mom24

    I'm guess McAfee, because it happened to me. Not fun. Now I use Norton. I'm not sure if that's what we should be using or not. Maybe when it expires I'll switch to Trend. Please, please, please tell me if it was Norton that allowed the virus.

    Did you call the orchard to complain?

    Sorry it happened, glad it's all better.

    We went apple picking Friday. Fun.  

  3. # Blogger In Due Time

    I have the same virus on my desktop. SO hasn't even attempted to touch it yet. He knows it's going to take some time and he doesn't have that yet. Wahhh.

    Looks like y'all had fun! I love seeing pics of you, too! :-)  

  4. # Blogger Jesser

    Dang. Computer problems are THE WORST. Makes you feel like someone cut off multiple appendages. On the bright side, that apple picking trip looks like so much fun. And man are your babies cute (I'm including Isabella in "babies"). :)  

  5. # Blogger Pregnantly Plump

    He does sound like a wonderful friend to have in such times! I'm glad you were able to enjoy the apple-picking. I would have just stressed and fretted the whole time I think.  

  6. # Blogger Sunny

    That computer virus sounds nasty!! I thought I had a bad one a couple of months ago, but it was nothing compared to that. I'm so glad your computer was saved!

    The apple-picking sounds like so much fun. Can you believe that living in the Seattle area, which is in WASHINGTON STATE, as in "Washington Apples," it's almost impossible to find orchards nearby. They are all across the mountains on the east side of the state. Phooey. Almost reason enough to move back to the Midwest.

    Oh, and also? You and your kids are ridiculously cute. :)  

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