It's been a hard six weeks. The first week of October Son #1 tore his ACL. That same weekend, Son #2 made one of those stupid, stupid, stupid, underdeveloped frontal lobe, two second teenager decisions that has had enormous and  far reaching consequences for him, and also for me.

And as so often happens, when the big things start falling apart, so do the little ones. Or maybe the little ones fall apart regularly, but you just notice them more when the big ones are hard. Two weeks ago, for instance, I broke a crown on a tooth. And last week my computer died. 

When I took my computer to the shop I've used for the last ten years, they told me it would take 3-5 business days. After five days, the computer store called. The off/on switch was shorted out, and they thought it I might have spilled liquid into the computer. I hadn't. They wanted $380 to replace the switch and the top case. I wasn't sure whether my four-year-old computer was actually worth that much. My twitter friends suggested I get a second opinion.

Last Saturday I went to pick up my computer. They guy said I couldn't take have it. It was in pieces on the workman's bench and I would have to wait until he put it back together on Monday. I couldn't get there on Monday or Tuesday, so I went to pick it up on Wednesday morning (on my way to the dentist to get the crown repaired). The repairman offered me $30 for parts. I didn't take it. He then suggested that I try the Apple Store.

I should confess that I am not a big fan of the Apple Store. It's always super, super, super busy. There are all kinds of different computer noises, and classes, and conversations, and it puts my ADD brain into full fight or flight mode. That day, the day before Thanksgiving, was no different. The store was busy, busy, busy. And super noisy. And I couldn't get an appointment at the "Genius Bar" until Saturday.

So on Saturday I went back. And it was still busy, busy, busy. And super noisy. And I had to stand in front of the speaker display and every time someone needed to look at the speakers, I had to kind of scootch over and try to make room in this really crowded store. At one point someone asked me for advice about which speaker they should buy. And I was really, really glad when it was my turn for the Genius Bar and I could sit facing away from the craziness of the store. 

Mr. A., my genius, was very personable. In the first five minutes, I knew that his favorite part of Thanksgiving was cornbread. And that he has a sister who is a social worker in Minneapolis. And about his friend who is a football player that tore his ACL. He knew about my boys. And all the while, he was plugging in my computer and running different tests.Soon he was able to confirm that there is something wrong with the on/off switch. I thought about the $380. And I wanted to cry.

"Let me see what I can do for you," he said. And he walked away and went over to a different computer. In five minutes he was back. "Ok, here is what they are going to do," he said. They are going to replace the top case. And then they are going to replace this part on the bottom too. But it will take about 3-5 days."

"How much?" I asked, hoping I wouldn't start to cry in the store, in front of all of those people.

"Nothing," he said. "Apple is taking care of it."

"Nothing?" I said, thinking of the $380 I was expecting to hear.

"I don't joke about money," says Mr. A. "Really. You just need to sign with your finger."

I sign and leave the store quickly, then go to my car and cry.

It has been a long hard six weeks.

Tonight I am going to write Mr. A a note, to tell him how much his kindness meant to a very tired mom.