My 6-year-old hand-me-down laptop died the day before Thanksgiving. It's not in the budget to buy a new one right now, and anyway, all the post-holiday (or even post-CES) sales are coming up later, so I've been biding my time with our little netbook (which is difficult to type on) and hubby's desktop computer (which has its own obvious time-sharing issues). I was still sniffing around for a replacement (read "hand-me-down") laptop when Google came along with their Chrome OS Pilot Program on December 7th.
For those who don't know, Chrome OS is Google's (until last week) mythical operating system. It basically looks like the Chrome browser, but it's your operating system, like Windows or OSX. Beta testers in the pilot program receive a free laptop, the CR-48, in exchange for "kicking all the tires you can find" and sending feedback to Google. Before the live-streamed announcement was even over, the moment Google revealed the site to apply for their pilot program, I clicked over and filled out the form...and did it wrong.
When I'm over-excited, I don't follow directions well (who does?), plus I took a phone call halfway through. After I clicked send, I IM'd hubby to see if he'd applied and when he mentioned the 140-character limit for the answer to "What would make you a unique Pilot user?" I just about fell over. 140 characters? The length of a tweet? I had completely ignored that bit of the instructions and written a four-sentence paragraph the length of about five tweets! Gah! I quickly went back to the page, re-did my application and hit send once more, but with little hope. In a last-ditch effort, I visited the Google Chrome fan page at Facebook and filled out the survey there which would also enter my name in the running. Feeling I'd done the best damage control I could, I sat back to wait (and drool) and wait.
By Friday, reports that some people had received their Cr-48 via FedEx excited me. I came home, eagerly looking at the front step for a box. THERE WAS A BOX ON THE FRONT STEP! Alas, it was not from Google. Expecting a mostly unexpected package turns out to be extra torture when we're in the only time of year we regularly receive boxes on the front step (we do most of our Christmas shopping online).
The weekend passed. I checked the front step on Saturday, despite being almost certain FedEx doesn't deliver on Saturdays (I did keep myself from actually checking that fact) and despite not hearing the doorbell even though we were home the entire day. No box. The mistake in my application haunted me.
On Monday, I looked when I got home. No box.
Tuesday, no box.
Sometime on Wednesday something happened without my really noticing. I accepted that I would not be getting a Cr-48. I'm not really sure when that came to be, but it was sometime before This Week in Google started at 3pm. As I listened to the show, it hurt a little when the hosts discussed their Cr-48s, but looking for a box on the front step when I got home later didn't even cross my mind.
I had to run an errand on the way home, so hubby picked up LilGirl and was home before me. The latest storm was on the verge of hitting us (in a matter of minutes, it turned out), so I didn't think much of it when hubby texted me to ask where I was. I stopped for the mail on the way up our street (another box, not from Google) and got home just after the storm hit (nasty little ice pellets, not even snow).
When I got inside, hubby was cleaning the stove, which seemed a little weird, since I knew he wouldn't be cooking - we had an entire leftover pizza in the fridge from the night before (now I realize he was just keeping himself distracted). Hubby sat down to go through the mail and asked me to turn on the Christmas tree lights. I did, and came back (in hindsight, I can only imagine now how frustrating this little action must have been for him) and we had the following conversation:
Hubby: I should call [my friend] & see if he's still coming to pick up [his daughter]'s gift.
Me: He doesn't need to come in this weather. Don't worry about it.
Hubby: But it's getting crowded under the tree.
Me: Crowded? There are two presents under there.
Hubby: Didn't you see that there are more now? Go look.
I looked and found a shipping box with a curly ribbon stuck to it, shoved behind the other two presents (I was supposed to see that?). Figuring it was something he'd ordered for my birthday (after all, it wasn't even a Christmas ribbon) I lifted an eyebrow, shrugged and headed back to the kitchen.
Hubby: Aren't you even curious what it is?
Me: I can wait.
Hubby: You need to look more closely at that box.
I went back to the tree, picked up the box, and realized the shipping label had my name on it, not hubby's. Odd. The name on the return address was someone I'd never heard of, in Kentucky, and it came via UPS. Even more odd. I hadn't ordered anything that I could think of.
A bit of hope sparked back to life. The box was the right size...It was about the right weight...
Me: Nooooo [in a long, disbelieving gasp]
I pulled open the box. Inside was another box featuring a design I'd grown painfully familiar with through the many social media posts I'd seen over the last few days (that's the box at the top of this post).
Google, how could I ever have doubted you?