For the past month, my email via my MSN account had been behaving weirdly. New messages were not coming through and those that were there, I could not open. I had to go to hotmail and open my email there which was a pain in the butt, because not all my email folders were available or accessible there. So apologies to those I have not responded to lately. This is the reason behind my failure to reply to your notes.
Two or three weeks ago was the first time I called Qwest about the problem. This is the first step in a torturous process that can take hours of on phone time. I'm sure some of you had similar experiences. Usually it was just time that I wasted. Now it was money as well because I had given up my land line in October in a now-seemingly futile gesture to save money. And after waiting on they phone with Qwest, they referred me to an MSN technician. He told me my MSN mail account needed to be resynched and gave me the directions to do so ("CTRL + W" to exit out of MSN mail; "CTRL + shift + F9" to strip out all the MSN folders on their server showing on my computer. Once I restarted the computer, the folders would pop up again, this time in sync. So I followed his directions, waiting for some time for the clearing to take effect before turning the computer back on. It worked--my email box filled up with mail and I could send emails as well.
Last Monday the old problems with my MSN mail account returned. I spent the week accessing my email on hotmail and curtailing my correspondence as a result. Yesterday, I called Qwest, to try to get to MSN to fix it again, Seven phone calls and three hours of my life that I will never get back, the MSN mail account is receiving mail but most of the emails I had saved--correspondence from friends and family, business transactions, tax information, among other things, are gone.
The first call Qwest took about a half hour to put me in touch with MSN. Then it was another 15 minutes for MSN to transfer me to a 'resolution expert.' His name was Venkat. We tried the prior fix and it did not work. Then he asked for permission to access my computer. I agreed and had to go through a number of steps to grant him access. He told me it would take a while, so he would hang up and call me back when he had figured out the problem. I appreciated that and agreed.
MSN mail is stored in two different places, on the MSN server (where all received mail goes) and on your computer's hard drive (where all sent mail is stored). You can create additional subfolders within each folder, which is what I had done. But, because about a year ago, I had lost email on the MSN server when another fetid internet burp occurred, I transferred over half of my created subfolders to my hard drive. These were subfolders titled things like "bank and taxes," "Defiance," "friends," "Macalester." Into those subfolders I had placed emails. A lot of emails. Probably over a thousand.
About a half hour later Venkat called and said that the problem was centered around the fact that I had created email folders on my hard drive and saved emails to them. This had caused the MSN mail to go out of sync. What he could do is create a subfolder on the MSN server and transfer the emails stored on my hard drive to that subfolder. I agreed and watched as he typed and placed the subfolder on my MSN server: "storedemails." He said it would again take some time and he would call when he was finished.
Another half hour went by and Venkat called again. I went online and watched the emails that had been blocked from showing up on my screen came popping up. It was mesmerizing. Venkat asked if there was anything else he could do and I said no, that was great. I disconnected the access and waited for the emails to stop coming in. It was only after that, that I saw that the folder "storedemails" was not showing up on my screen as part of my MSN server collection. After a half hour of searching my computer, I started calling Qwest again. It took 6 phone calls and another 2 hours stretching between 6 pm and 1:30am last night and this morning to finally get through to an MSN resolution expert (all but one of the calls were dropped either by Qwest or MSN after 15-30 minutes of waiting each time). The MSN resolution expert told me that all of my sent emails and all of the emails that I had so carefully saved on my hard drive were lost and not recoverable.
Now this is not a tragedy along the lines of losing something like William Faulkner's correspondence, but it was my correspondence with friends and business records that I saved for tax purposes. Many email addresses of friends that I had not formally saved to my address book were also lost. Writing via email is the main way that I stay in contact with folks these days given that my voice is so tenuous. I am, as a result, feeling a bit bereft today.