The following is a story about real events.
Identifiers such as names and places have not been changed.
Everything that follows is the truth.
(And not in a Blair Witch kind of way.)
Missed My Nom Noms
This last week has been an emotion-filled one. My wee one is off to school in a few short days for the very first time. I am full of all kinds of feelings. And it has left me exhausted. Not to mention my blood sugars have been all over this week. And now the heat/humidity is back. Which will likely lead to more (not less) troubles for me. And a flair up of my allergies since we have the central air blasting. So. Little guy is off to kindergarten, mom (me) is at a loss for what to do and diabetes thinks it is being cute and funny.
The Thursday that just passed will go down in the books.
The little guy and I had a few last minute items to pick up for school. Because I, the Queen of Organization, came to the realization I had neglected to purchase labels for all the school stuff and then also realized that the wee one had outgrown all of his hoodies, save one. And even though we are rumoured to have an elongated summer, with warm temps right into October (boo!), I wanted to make sure that he had all he would need to start. So we popped out and ran some errands. Things went really well. Nothing was left on the list (a rarity!) when we returned home. My plan was to put the groceries away, grab a bite to eat, and leave enough time to hit the grocery store en route to picking hubby up, and pick up the last few foodie things.
Things did not go as planned.
I did manage to get everything in the house, put away and organized. For the most part. Just a quick bit of lunch before finishing up. Since I had yet to do the actual grocery shopping was struggling to figure out how I was going to make myself a sandwich with no bread in the house. Hmm, not enough lettuce for a wrap…maybe a…no…oh! And I popped the freezer open. Phew! I discovered a prehistoric English muffin. Hard as a brick it was, duh it was frozen. But from what era…
The phone rings. Long distance. I do not recognize the number but…Hello?
Through the static I manage to make out that the guy is calling regarding my computer. I explain that I cannot properly hear him. But before I can even politely exit the call he has hung up. A narrow escape, thank goodness…
The phone rings. Again. Long distance. Again. I do not recognize the number. And it didn’t resemble the previous at all, so…Hello?
Same guy. I think. As I listen to his introduction I am getting out my glucometer and a few things necessary to make my lunch. At this point I am starting to feel as though my blood glucose levels may be on their way down. God, this guy is confusing and all over the place…
He tells me his is calling from Microsoft on behalf of Windows. I ask all my usual questions, since when does Windows phone people at home, how did you get my information, why was I not advised of this problem in a more formal way…instead of answering my terribly difficult questions he passes me to a supervisor. Who comes on the line and sounds suspiciously like the first guy, but I can’t tell and between the guy (or guys) on the phone just keep talking, faster and faster, the wee one running around, my lunch resting half-made and idle in the kitchen, and the beginnings of a really bad low blood glucose. So I assume it is the next supervisor and hear what he has to say.
Nothing he says is good. My computer is at risk. There are several threats being made. The computer will eventually cease to work if I do not allow them access to clear the threats. Where are you calling from again? Windows ma’am. And what will happen? The threats that you can’t see will damage your computer by installing unseen viruses, you need to be protected. But I am protected, I have anti-EVERYTHING. No ma’am, you need to be protected; you will notice your computer has been very slow (No it hasn’t…) and it will perform much faster when we are done. But how can I verify you are with Windows? I will read you the code that is specific to your machine, you follow along and see if it matches up if it doesn’t feel free to hang up the phone, okay ma’am?
The number he reads is correct. In my haze and confusion it all seems to make sense so I grant them access to my machine. I am watching the technician remotely access my machine and attempt to remove the mean and nasty unseen virus. Ma’am can you see the technician working to resolve the issue? Yes… Good ma’am, you will notice your machine has been very slow lately right? Not really. Well it will perform much better, much faster when we are done. Okay…but it doesn’t really have an issue with speed. Well ma’am we have discovered your problem, you are not protected, and will need to reactivate. Reactivate what? Your Windows protection ma’am, to protect your computer. But I am protected. Oh ya, what do you have ma’am? I have AVG. Well ma’am you will immediately need to uninstall that. I do not feel comfortable doing that.
During all of this I have managed to eat nothing. My lunch is still a work in progress and the sweat on my upper lip signals even lower blood glucose levels. The room is spinning. My head is swirling.
Ma’am, you need to do this or your computer will NOT work anymore. But my computer is not even nine months old, this doesn’t make sense to me. Well ma’am, if you have a pen I will give you the prices (which at first sounded like prizes). The prices for what? For reactivating your protection. He then tells me I can have six months for $99, two years for $199 or a lifetime (not my computer’s but mine!) for $299. My husband and I do not make decisions like that without at least a mini-discussion, so I cannot make a decision until I speak to my husband. What time is he home? Well, that doesn’t matter, give me your information and I will call you when I have made a decision. Ma’am what package do you want? I don’t want a package, I want to talk to my husband. I will call back later then ma’am, when will he be back? You misunderstand, my husband is not going to make this decision; I want to talk to him about it. Then shut your computer down ma’am and do not use it. Do not use it? Shut it down ma’am. What??? What do you mean I cannot use my computer? Ma’am wait for your husband and I will call back. Don’t you patronize me, my husband doesn’t know anything about computers…CLICK…
And then I noticed they were no longer remotely accessing my computer.
So I ate my lunch.
Just a bite!
The small English muffin resting comfortably in my belly fifteen minutes later was life-saving. And eye opening…
Wait! What the FUCK just happened? Did they… Did I allow them… What the fuck, what the fuck, what the fuck…
And suddenly it all sank in. Suddenly I was no longer confused. No longer vulnerable. Now I was panicked. Now I was anxious. And I could feel the glucose levels in my blood going up and down, up and down, up and down, down, down, down…not good. Thankfully, hubby was due home any moment. And when he walked through the gate I immediately collapsed into his arms. Telling him the whole sordid tale through gasps for breath and tears. While he Googled everything he could about what just happened, he called my dad. The go-to for computer woes. It was not good. It happened to my aunt too apparently. Ah shit fuck.
We spent the next four hours calling the banks and the Internet provider, changing passwords, IP addresses and running virus scans.
Thankfully, the anti-EVERYTHING seemed to have worked. They were not able to gleam anything during their remote access. Nor did it appear as though they had left behind any treats.
If only I had eaten my lunch before the phone rang.
Get out, get out, get out…you’re being hijacked!
My day, one of the last with my little guy as a non-school goer, was hijacked. Completely stolen. Ripped away from me with no chance of recovery. Sure, any bad day is salvageable, but not when you have a disease that given the right (or wrong) circumstances can render you finished. Unfortunately, for me, the stress of an event like that combined with a missed low, PMS and my general sense of feeling unwell 95% of the time, it was not a day to salvage. What I really wanted to do was curl up in bed, close my eyes and sleep for eternity.
My feelings of stupidity and confusion dissipated once the situation appeared to be rectified. Though I do not like feeling like I missed something or could have somehow prevented ALL of it. Some of that stupidity lingers. But not because they may have gleamed my banking information (I’m an artist, hubby works retail part-time – we’re hardly the Trumps!), that is all recoverable. And to someone like me, not all that important. My day was stolen from me. Those assholes in California or Guam (when you search the numbers it lists for both locations) stole something from me I cannot get back. They stole time. Sure it was only an afternoon, but those few hours are never to be seen again.
They will not be recovered or made up.
*** *** ***
I know many people may think I am silly for even entertaining the phone call. I (now) know that neither Microsoft nor Windows will phone me personally. But you try managing that call, a screeching (I’m hungry, I’m bored, I want to go outside) 4 year old, a dog running after said screeching child, a lunch in progress and the feeling of death all at once. Because that is what happened. I was skirting death. As I do each and every time my blood glucose dips too low or climbs too high. I put on my party dress and call up Grim. To find out, will it be he or I who leads the dance today.