Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Rudy, computer repaircat

Tuesday morning found Rudy in almost the same spot she’d been in when the Daddy went to bed the night before.  She sat on the floor and stared at the sick computer, the one that was sick because of what she’d done.  Daddy got up and ate breakfast and walked into the office and stared at the computer almost the same way Rudy was staring at it, as though it were a bomb that might explode if they touched the keyboard.  He shook his head and said, “This is a job for tonight or more likely tomorrow.  I got a call for a job way up north and I’ll be gone all day, from the sounds of it. Rudy, don’t let anyone mess up this computer any more than it already is, okay?”  Daddy ruffled her fur and headed out the back door. 

Oh, thought Rudy, his trust is so misplaced.  He’s asking the one who let the foxes into the henhouse to make sure the chickens are safe.  It’s too late for this poor chicken of a computer. 

LT wandered in after a bit.  “Rudy, you’ve been in here all night long, as far as I know.  What gives?”

“I broke the Daddy’s computer, and it’s the new one Mommy gave him for Christmas.  I downloaded some photos that brought in viruses, and programs that downloaded more garbage onto the computer.  And it has four hundred and twelve security risks that need to be fixed.  He doesn’t have the time for all this!  I am a very bad cat.”  Rudy hung her head in shame.

LT didn’t quite get the problem.  “So if you made the mess, clean it up, Rudy.  I know I don’t understand computers, but you seem to.  Can’t you do it?  It’s not like you have anywhere you need to be.  Maybe your nap schedule will be disturbed, but if it’s for Daddy, well, that’s what needs to be.  Your problem, you fix it.”  With that, LT turned and left.

Rudy was left with her mouth wide open about to make an objection.  She didn’t know how – well, the instructions on how were sitting right on the desk.  She didn’t have time – she had a heck more time than Daddy.  She wasn’t a computer specialist – well neither was Daddy, but he was going to do it.  Her conscience knocked down every single excuse she came up with, so she jumped up on the desk and proceeded to read the virus removal instructions. 

Three hours later Rudy had dealt with almost half of the security threats.  She’d started on the first page of instructions and worked through them line by line.  Fortunately, they were written for humans who might not know much about computers, so they were very, very specific.  Open this program, delete these files.  Run this utility, write down file names that come up.  Delete those.  Empty the trash basket on the desktop.  It was time consuming and Rudy was hungry, thirsty and her back and paws were sore from too much keyboard time.  She decided to take a break and get something to eat. 

She met Peep in the kitchen.  “Rudy, where have you been hiding?  I haven’t seen you since yesterday.”  Peep was having a mid-morning snack and taking a break from sunbathing on the back patio. 

“Work to do, little Peep.  I’m trying to fix Daddy’s computer, since I’m the one who messed it up to begin with.”  Rudy didn’t say this proudly, as she might have a few days ago.  She’d learned a good lesson in humility from this debacle. 

“Wow, you can even fix computers.  You could get a real job, Rudy, although I don’t know how you’d provide a Social Security card and photo ID to prove your citizenship.  Do you think they’d take your rabies shot form from Tibet?”

“Don’t be sarcastic, Peep.  I created a very big problem, and I’m just trying to make it right.”  Rudy didn’t realize it, but this was not in character with the cat she’d been when she moved in with LT and Peep.  She had been a vain, selfish cat who didn’t much care for anyone other than herself.  Living closely in a family had made Rudy aware of her responsibilities to others.  She saw what the Mommy and Daddy did for the cats, each other and their friends and family.  She saw what Peep and LT did for her and each other and Mommy and Daddy.  Over the past years she had gradually become sensitive to others’ needs and begun responding to them.  What was second nature to Peep was now maybe third or fourth nature to Rudy, but at least it was on the list. 

Peep swallowed and said, “Good, Rudy.  If we can save Daddy the time or money that would be needed to fix it, that’s a good thing.  And if you fix it yourself, even though you’ll feel bad you broke it, you’ll know you made it right in the end.”  After another little bite and a sip of water, Peep headed back outside.  Rudy had her snack and with a sigh headed back into the office. 

By three o’clock Rudy had worked her way to the last of the instruction pages.  It instructed her to run another virus check to see if everything had been removed or nullified.  She couldn’t cross her fingers, of course, but she actually crossed her front paws before she clicked ‘start’.  She settled back to watch as it did its thing.  After a minute no viruses.  Two minutes, still none.  Five minutes, none.  She sat for almost twenty minutes and the only security risks that it found were tracking cookies, which weren’t true security risks, at least according to most people.  Half an hour into the scan she heard the Daddy’s truck pull up outside.  Oh, no.  She had hoped to be done before he got home, but on the other hand, a screen that showed no security risks would let him know that the computer was fixed, right?

Daddy came in, washed up and threw himself down on the couch.  “What a day, Rudy.  I finished the first job, and the guy came up to me and asked me to look at another truck.  That one was a quickie, and I’m glad I didn’t have to drive all the way up to Secaucus for a second time in one day.  Ohhhh – I think I’ll rest for a few minutes and then see what I can do with that darned computer.”  Rudy purred and looked innocently at him.  “I wish I had your life, Rudy.  Lie around in the sun all day, nothing that has to be done except eat, sleep and wash your fur.”  Within five minutes Daddy was gently snoring on the couch. 

Rudy ran back into the office to see if her virus scan had finished.  It had, and there were no security risks to be addressed.  None, nada, zero.  She heaved a giant sigh of relief and turned off the monitor, leaving the computer on.  She didn’t know how Daddy would handle the computer apparently fixing itself, but at least it was done. 

When Daddy woke up almost an hour later he found Rudy on the coffee table gazing at him.  “Rudy, I must have dozed off for a minute there.  Have you been keeping me company all this time?  You’re a good cat, Rudy.”  (Little did he know, she thought.)

Daddy got a glass of juice and walked into the office.  He noticed the computer was on and turned on the monitor.  “I don’t get it.  Twice now I leave the computer off and come back to find it on.  The first time it’s full of security risks and viruses and now there are none!”  Rudy had jumped up on the desk and was sitting on her haunches, staring at him.  “Do you know anything about this, Rudy?  I double checked to make sure the house was locked up, so that no one could get in to mess with the computer again.  It was still locked when I got home.  The only ones here were you, LT and Peep.  Of the three of you, I think you’re the only one with the smarts to do this.  Ahhh, what I am saying.  Cats don’t use computers, but I have no other explanation.”  He threw up his hands and got up to make dinner. 

Rudy felt that had been a close call.  If Daddy really knew that she could use the computer, he might do something to keep her from using it, especially if he thought she’d messed it up in the first place.  Anyway, problem solved, and now she felt should could go out and have a late afternoon sunbathe with a clear conscience.

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