Private eye required

Some information is evidently top secret and highly classified.  No one (including “help” pages) will share it with you.  You are expected, on your own, to figure it out.  The only way to get that information is to unearth it yourself, and to do that, you have to dig, dig, dig.  Tammy dug.

I have a Kindle.  A couple years ago a college student we know mailed it to us with a note saying that it had been given to her, but that she thought we would use it more than she.  I thanked her and put it on a shelf.  It wasn’t that I didn’t want to use it, but I didn’t know how, and I really didn’t have the time and emotional margin to learn a new piece of technology just then.

A few months later, Andrew again noticed it on the shelf and confiscated it.  He said he should be able to use it.  He said it should be his, because it was addressed to “Team Roberts,” and he’s part of the team.  Well, he is, but so am I.  I retrieved it and re-shelved it.  There it sat for over a year, until my folks asked me what I wanted for my birthday.

They ask because they love me and want to bless me.  I know that, and I truly appreciate it.  However, giving and receiving gifts is not my “love language,” and because we are already extremely well-provided for, and because I generally don’t keep a running list (mental or written) of things I want or need – probably because there really aren’t very many buy-able things I want or need(!) – I always have to stop and give their inquiry serious thought.

This time, I found myself wandering through the house, looking at places and stuff and trying to figure out what I might like to have for my birthday.  In the office, although I hadn’t thought of it for months, I remembered the Kindle, which I was pretty sure had eventually been stashed up in the closet in the “Extra Electronics” box.  I pulled down the box and combed through it.  No Kindle, and I didn’t know where else it could be.  I went into Andrew’s room and looked at his shelves.  No Kindle.  I asked Scott if he had seen it lately.  “No.  Didn’t we give that away?  I thought we gave it to someone.”

Well, I couldn’t put my hands on it, but surely it was around somewhere.  My dad had gotten a Kindle a year or so ago, and he raved on it.  The more I thought about mine (ours), I remembered that it was just a naked piece of technology.  It wasn’t in any kind of a case, so even if I found it and figured out how to use it, if I took it anywhere, it was liable to get scratched or beat up.  I knew my dad would enjoy my potential interest in a Kindlke.  Hmmm. . . maybe they’d like to give me a case for it.  If I had a case for it, I’d almost HAVE to learn to use it.  I sent them a short list of gift ideas, including “case for Kindle.”  It hadn’t occurred to me that there were various styles of Kindles, but there are.  (FYI, I now know that I have a Kindle 3, a.k.a. a Kindle Keyboard.)

To slightly shorten the story, Mom and Dad did give me a Kindle cover, and I did find the item (it was on the same shelf it had been on for a good long while).  I read the quick start guide, got the Kindle turned on, “bought” a couple free books from amazon, and even figured out how to read them on it.  Success!

A week or so later, Dad sent me an email letting me know that not only could I buy books for my Kindle, I could borrow books for it from our Springfield library.  Now, that was a neat idea!  So I went to the library website and read all their blurb about how to borrow e-books using OverDrive.  Then I “checked out” a book and followed the directions, expecting in a few seconds to have the book show up on my Kindle.

It did not.

I then read and carefully followed the instructions at the library’s website and at amazon’s website.  No matter what I did, although the library said I had borrowed the book and I could see it on my “bookshelf” of check-out items, when I clicked “read,” my only option was to read it on my cloud reader, which is not what I wanted to do.  I wanted to read it on my Kindle!  Why was this so hard?!?

My dad is very smart on such things, and, as I mentioned, he has a Kindle and it was, after all, his idea to read books borrowed from the library on the Kindle, so. . . I called my dad.  He suggested several things I had already tried, told me what worked on his Kindle (but was clearly not working in mine), and told me he’d dig around and see what he could figure out.  I thanked him and told him I’d call the library and see if perhaps I could speak with a human who could talk me through what to do.

So I called the library at 8:00 on a Friday evening.  I briefly explained my request to talk through a Kindle issue with a live human, and I was transferred to Tammy in the reference section.  Now, we have one Research Consultant in our own family, and I know from personal experience how skillful and creative such people can be, but Tammy raised the bar incredibly high.

She listened patiently to me.  She was kind and respectful, and even though I’m sure it was obvious to her that I didn’t know my head from a hole in the ground where a Kindle was concerned – shoot!  I couldn’t even tell her what kind of Kindle I had!!! – she never made me feel stupid.

She ran through all the library’s and Overdrive’s stuff.  She delved deep into the help pages and help forums at amazon.  I can’t tell you how many things we tried.  I can tell you that each time she had me click “read” on a borrowed book, the only option that appeared was “cloud reader.”  The much-desired, yet elusive “Patricia’s Kindle” never appeared.

And through it all, Tammy never got flustered or expressed any frustration.  She was like a dog hunting who just moved on to bark up the next tree.  I had needed to go to the bathroom when I called the library, but didn’t bother, assuming the call would be less than five minutes, and anybody can do anything for five minutes, right?  Well, at more than 30 minutes, let’s just say that the discomfort was getting intense, but with Tammy working so long and hard on my problem, and realizing that there were probably other people standing in line at the reference desk, I just didn’t have the nerve to say, “Hey, would you mind to keep trying to solve this while I run to the bathroom?”

So I held it all together and kept trying things, but at one point Tammy had me to an amazon screen and she said, “now enter your email and password.”  But there was no place on my screen asking me to enter my email and password!  And I told her that.

“Isn’t it asking you to log in to your amazon account?”

“Ummm. . . no.  It just has a dropdown box containing one option:  Read in Kindle Cloud reader.”

And then Tammy said the magic words.  She asked me what my amazon account email address was.  I told her, and she said that maybe my library account email address was different.  I began racking my brain to remember what on earth my library account email address was.  I should have known it, and even if I didn’t, I should have had it saved in my list of usernames and passwords, but I didn’t.  In my defense, I set up my library account some, oh, maybe ten years ago, and since I only need my name and library card number to log on, I never have to enter my email address.  I actually had no idea what that email address was, although I had a couple ideas.

Tammy suggested that perhaps the problem was that my library account password was different from my amazon account password.  (This was surely true, because with amazon I use an extra email – not my normal one(s) – that I set up maybe three years ago.  That extra email address didn’t even exist when I set up the library account.)  Maybe the two accounts refused to play nicely together because of that.

THAT was the key to it all!  I changed my library account email to match my amazon account email, and voilà,my borrowed book appeared on my Kindle!  I was so happy!!  Tammy had been on the phone with me for 45 minutes, without a word of complaint. . . and she solved my problem.  I was so impressed that I sent her boss a letter of commendation and included a thank you note to Tammy.

All was well that ended well, until. . .

(to be continued)


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