This post NOT brought to you by Apple

So, I got this new computer and it has completely sucked all the life out of me and my poor little repetitively strained forearms. Seriously, sucked the life out of me. Like a Dementor sucking the life out of Dudley Dursley. Sucking. Suck-King.

To be fair, it's not so much the new computer as the voice dictation software that was supposed to make my life easier and my forearms all smiley and my limp little carpally tunnelled wrists spring to life. MacSpeech dictate officially sucks in my books right now. It doesn't work, which means that I can't make the computer work, which means that I am dictating this on a wheezing old PC that's starting to look kind of good right now. At least when it doesn't crash on me, like it did ... just ... now. Reboot. Somewhere in Georgia, two tech people are trying to solve this problem for me. I spent 40 minutes on the phone this morning with some drawling guy named Jason and it felt just a little bit like suicide prevention call. "Jason," I kept saying as the call drew to a close, "Jason, I'm scared to get off the phone with you."

"Yeah," he would answer, "I'm kind of leery about that myself."

Despite his compassion, Jason could not make MacSpeech work for me, though.

And yet, I haven't lost all hope. You get hopeful. You do, when the shiny new technology toy arrives in the box and you imagine just how great things might be. You do, when your four-year-old climbs on the school bus on the first day of school last week and you think, "Huh. That was way easier than last year."

And then, and then, the computer sits on your desk like a big shiny expensive mistake, and the second day of school rolls around and your son pulls his knapsack straps over his shoulders and then turns around for one last hug -- hugging! Damn the hugging! -- and completely melts down. Runs back inside the house. Repeats things like "I'm going to miss you too much! I want you all to come with me! I'm going to miss Isaac! I just want to be here with you!" Is driven, sobbing, by his other mother to class, clutching a blanket, continuing to sob. Setting off other kids in the class who weren't quite sure whether this was a good idea or not.

Rachel and I have been kind of mopey all day.

To take the edge off, I cycled to the bus stop after school where Rowan would meet his babysitter. He climbed down, a bit tired but seemingly no worse for wear. Told me he had homework, that we had not put a granola bar in his lunch (peanut allergies in the classroom) and that it was Katie's birthday on Thursday -- and they would celebrate.

"When it's your birthday, should we bring cupcakes to school?" I asked him.

"Yes," he said.

But I'm not convinced. Not convinced that the promise of cupcakes will get him on the bus easily on Thursday. Not convinced that my Mac will be running by then, either. I give them both three weeks to settle into the new school year. It's a tempered kind of hopeful, and yet, it's still there. Because I'm nothing if not an optimist. Or just terribly, terribly naïve.