OK. so lately I’ve had some weird things happen to me and around me! I wonder what I did to make the stars align so specifically to make me a target of the bazaar side of things……more so than usual, that is!

First, a few weeks ago, Mom and I were on our way to her doctor’s appointment in Medina. She decided to drive her car, so we’re tooling along on our merry way. When we got to the main intersection in Medina, the light turned red, so we stopped. Just then, Mom noticed what looked like steam coming from under her hood – we thought the car was overheating – just what we needed on our way to an appointment! So, she turned the corner and parked along the curb in front of Blissett’s. By the time we pulled over (literally seconds from noticing the “steam”), smoke began to roll out from under the hood, which turned quickly into billowing black smoke, which turned quickly into flames!!! OMG!!! We got out of the car as quickly as we could and stood there in total shock watching her car burn up!!! A village DOT worker stopped his truck and tried to open the hood so he could use his fire extinguisher, but the cable had obviously melted, so it wouldn’t “pop”! He got a crow bar and began trying to pry the hood open — flames getting higher and black smoke billowing taller than the buildings! I was staring at my phone wondering who I should call — she got the car at the dealership in Albion, but there was one just down the street there in Medina — which one should I call? Just then, a kid came by and asked if we wanted him to call 911 for us…….DUH!!! We needed the FIRE DEPARTMENT, NOT A MECHANIC!!!! I always thought I would be the type to be calm and know exactly what to do in the case of an emergency, but there I was in the middle of a critical situation and I was in a state of total confusion and shock!!! I did manage to keep Mom from going back in the car to get something she thought she should get out of there, but that was about it! But, after a couple of minutes, I did get my wits about me and called the doctor to tell them we wouldn’t make our appointment and called to find my brother to come get us! The Medina Fire Department was there in a flash and got the hood open and the fire out and it was towed away — the entire engine compartment looked like a big block of charcoal and the fenders were all charred……what a mess!!! But, it didn’t blow up and the fire didn’t spread to the interior, so we were able to go to the collision shop it was towed to and get all Mom’s stuff out of it. Of course, it was declared a total loss and she got a new vehicle to replace it, but we were lucky we saw it right when it first started and were able to get out……..if we didn’t have to stop for the red light, the smoke might not have been noticeable to us and the flames would have likely traveled under the car with the air flow as we drove……..might have been a very different story! SCARY!!!!

cropped car

As if that wasn’t enough…..late last week I started hearing “VOICES”! I was in the kitchen filling my water glass, in the dark, the house was silent…..suddenly, I heard a man’s voice talking! Scared the you-know-what out of me! At first, I thought the TV came on – you know, like a power surge or something! But, it wasn’t on! The voice wasn’t constant – it would say a word or two and stop and then do it again after a few minutes – so, I was having a hard time figuring out where it was coming from. I finally determined it was coming from the speakers hooked to my computer in the den! The computer was idle – nothing open – not the internet, no programs – nothing – just sitting on the desktop with the screen saver bubbles bouncing around! I thought, there must be something still open in the background from the last time I was on the internet, so I opened up Internet Explorer and reclosed it – still got snippets of recordings! So, I opened AOL and reclosed it – didn’t solve the problem! So, I restarted the computer…….that didn’t work, either! So, I did a hard shut down, let it sit a while and started it back up. That seemed to work………for about an hour or so! Then, again, when I didn’t have anything open and wasn’t even in the same room as the computer, I started hearing the voices! It was very strange — like the computer was pulling random ads from the internet and playing them in short little spurts – a word or two here, a few words there, a full sentence once in a while, a few bars of a jingle thrown in occasionally…….and not constant or even in a pattern or routine timing, but enough to be really irritating!!! I shut down for the night and when I started it up the next morning, the voices started right up with it! I thought, maybe I should force a Norton scan, just to be safe – maybe it was a virus! But, that’s when I started getting really nervous — I tried to open Norton and it opened for just a split second and shut right down and then I couldn’t open it at all………RUT RO……..I know some viruses block virus protection software from working! So, I started a text conversation with my computer genius nephew (great thing to have in a family) – he was at work, so he said he’d do some research and remote in after work and see what he could figure out! In the mean time, I checked my email “sent” files to see if my email accounts were hacked – nothing odd going out to my contacts, so that was OK! I uninstalled and reinstalled Norton, but it still wouldn’t work — I did find out that I could right-click on it in the task bar and forced a scan – it came up with a few minor cookie trackers, but nothing worrisome! I installed and ran Malware Bytes – again, nothing alarming found! I ran SUPER Antispyware – still nothing bazaar found! The voices would play periodically — several snippets in a row and then nothing for an hour or two and then come back! When my nephew logged in remotely, he looked all over everything — nothing in the start-up or registry or whatever else he looked at looked odd – everything looked just fine! He suggested I do a system restore back to a few days before the voices started, which would get rid of anything new that might be causing it AND, it would put Norton back to the way it was before all this, too. That actually seemed to work — no voices for about 3 hours! Then, they came back — this time, there were TWO different ads playing simultaneously and it played the WHOLE ads……..three times in a row!!! UUUGGGHHH!!! And, Norton still wouldn’t open. So, I went on Facebook and described my problem and asked if anyone has experienced it or knew what might be causing it! A friend in Arizona forwarded it to her son and he Googled it and found it to be a known virus and sent me some info on how to clean it, but cautioned that it could cause more damage, if I didn’t do it right – he recommended someone knowledgeable do it, so I forwarded it to my nephew and asked if he would come over and take care of it for me. I did more research on it and found several articles saying it was a VERY NASTY virus and very difficult to get rid of — some discussion threads talked about having to do it multiple times with multiple tools before it would stop coming back! So, I disconnected my modem so I wasn’t hooked to an internet source and got on my laptop and changed all my passwords and checked all my information closely — looked like everything was good — I must have caught it in time to keep it from getting me into trouble! My nephew recommended we just reformat the hard drive and start fresh — only sure way to be absolutely positive we got rid of it completely! So, I took it to him and he did that for me! Now, all is fine…….and, a few other annoying little issues I had are all fixed, too……..and, my speed is back to what it should be! So, a happy ending…….but, I sure had a restless night the day I learned it was a really nasty virus – laid awake and tossed and turned all night with a sick feeling in my stomach! What makes these people who create and distribute viruses tick? If they would take their knowledge and time to do something constructive in the world, maybe we could have programs that would find the cure for cancer or generate world peace or something wonderful……..instead of trying to infect my little PC and make my life miserable for a few days!!!!

There have been other little, less disruptive things happening, but not worthy of capturing on here……..but, I do want to mention the bazaar feeling I have in general! For a month or so, now, I have had an off and on feeling that something is wrong or something is going to happen…….like I did something that is going to somehow come back to bite me! You know, that feeling you have in the pit of your stomach that tells you to watch out!!! After all that has happened, you’d think that feeling would go away – I’ve had enough to satisfy it……..but, it is still there! Not all the time……but, sometimes in the evening when I’m getting ready for bed or just sitting and thinking……….maybe now that I’ve gotten it all off my mind and written down, I can relax!

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