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Lessons Learned When My Cat Spilled Water Into My Mac

I am really careful with my laptop. I never have coffee, water or any other liquid anywhere near it. Usually, I put drinks on an entirely separate table just to make sure they don't end up spilling into my beautiful 17" MacBook Pro.

The phone rang. I took a call, left the room and talked for five or ten minutes. I came back and assumed the computer was in sleep mode. It wasn't.

My six-month-old kitten had knocked a bottle of water over, from the table it was on, to an adjacent table where my laptop was; thereby flooding it. My Mac, it turns out, is no boat. It does not float. It lay marinating in the no-longer-bottled water.

I did all the things you are supposed to do. Immediately removed power. Sopped up the excess fluid. Let the computer sit for 24 hours in a box lined with rice (this makes any remaining water evaporate more quickly). Finally, I plugged the cord back into my Mac back. No light. No chime. No Mac.

I began to accept my Mac's untimely death. I visited the local Apple store. I elected not to buy a replacement from stock, opting instead to purchase a new MacBook on-line, with a much larger hard drive option. I paid for the one-to-three days shipping because I needed to get work done! I also bought the One-to-One service, which moves the contents of the drive, if it isn't fried, from the old computer to the new one.

Meanwhile, I borrowed a blow dryer. I took my dead Mac apart (voiding the warranty that was voided by the water damage anyway, according to the Apple Genius bar child-worker whom I had earlier visited, to whom I felt like saying, but didn't, "Don't look at me like that! My first Mac ran PageMaker 1.0 when you couldn't even chew an apple, let alone fix one!"

I carefully blow-dried on low heat the various components, nooks and crannies for a solid hour. I put it back together. No light when I plugged it in. I pushed the power button anyway. IT CHIMED! IT STARTED UP.

My dead Mac came back to life, at least somewhat. With the power plugged in, it worked, albeit with a very noisy fan that didn't sound right at all. No damage to the hard drive. No work was lost.

The last-ditch blow drying had worked, at least for now. I scrambled to get work out. I hoped it would last at least three days, when I expected my new Mac.

Turns out the shipping upgrade just applied to shipping. They still needed to process the order, which took eight days, not three. Beyond that, once received, Apple's local store needs 24 hours to move the data.

The old Mac lasted nine days, finally dying for good just after the new one arrived. I brought the dead Mac and the new Mac in. Picked up the new Mac with the cloned drive intact.

In retrospect, here's what I would have done differently:

  • Kept the water bottle capped and on the floor
  • Ordered from existing stock rather than on-line
  • Skipped the One-to-One Service
  • Made sure the device and type of accident was covered by the appropriate insurance, whether business, homeowner's/renter's or whatever (it wasn't)
  • Opted for a pet hamster

           


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