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I’ve had one of those mornings. You know the kind I’m talking about. Everyone was crabby in the morning. We were all snapping at each other, and I found myself overly annoyed at my husband for putting my Farmer John’s cookbook on the bottom shelf of the cookbook section, not up on the top shelf where it belongs. I mean, it wasn’t really a huge deal, but, I had just spent some time putting all the vegan and vegetarian and otherwise healthy books at the top and closest to the kitchen. The cookie books and pastry books are on the bottom shelf as far from the kitchen as they can get. Is it too much to ask that it go back where it belongs? (Or that the pots all go on the POT shelf and not the FRY-PAN shelf?)

Add in the fact that there was a miscommunication with my daughter and her team leader for the PNWD Youth Conference (requiring me to do something about it), the list of things to put together for my son’s first overnight field trip, a new freeway interchange that surprised me and gave me an unexpected detour, Target moving EVERYTHING again, a decided lack of duffel bags available at Target or Fred Meyer, a stubbed toe, a dead scanner and printer, and I’ve had one of those days that make me long for some time alone in a hot bath surrounded by bubbles. And, yeah, I know, that was a really long sentence with punctuation issues.

I’ve had “buy new scanner/printer” on my list of things to do for a long time, and with the obvious ceasing of communication between printer and computer, I can’t put it off any longer. Essays must be written and delivered to school on time, and the only printer in the house is now refusing to do anything I want it to. The checks and diagnostics all say everything is hunky-dory while I look at blank paper feeding through the printer only to come out…still blank.

My quick research online leads me to a solution that, I hope, will work. I have limited space at my desk, and I’m, frankly, pleased as punch it is black and will match my latest desktop. (Yes, I’m the kind of person who likes my appliances to match, too.)

I click the convenient link that says, “Order cartridges for this printer.” Voila, up pops a little warning that the ink cartridge I’ve just selected won’t work with my current printer. Never mind that it’s the link I just followed for the printer I just purchased, but…Somehow Amazon is, what, talking to my computer about what printer I supposedly have installed and working?

I find this a bit disturbing and outright freaky because I don’t actually remember saying to Amazon, “Hey, take a look at my computer and figure out everything I’ve got hooked up here and let me know what you think.” I probably did do exactly that, somewhere, when I signed up for an account. I tend to check off the little boxes that say “I have read and accept these terms and conditions” without actually reading them in an impatient, “get on with it already” frenzy of signing up or purchasing. (I hereby challenge anyone to tell me they’ve actually read ALL the fine print on their online accounts.)

The notion that my every click on the internet is being recorded somewhere is creeping me out, and add to it that my computer seems complicit doesn’t help. The constant stream of well-targeted FB advertisements has always bugged me, but now, I’m beginning to wonder how long it will be before Amazon or Facebook figure out how to turn on my monitor’s webcam without telling me and taking a really good look around what I think of as my private home. I’m not normally a paranoid kind of person, but I think I’ll cover up that webcam. Just to be safe.

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