As it turns out, my mini-vacation was perfectly in sync with the DELL engineer visiting my place to look at Andromeda, for the 4th time.
Scheduled to arrive at 2, he was 15 mins late. Then began the painful saga of Andromeda being ripped apart again, all permutations and combinations being tried, all mantras being chanted, all prayers being offered and all of my patience being surpassed. The hard disk was replaced and so was the motherboard (2nd time!). En route, a problem that had arisen on the 2nd visit (during reinstallation of the OS) was eliminated. So agog was the engineer that he was certain the original problem was solved too. I protested but he would have none of it. He offered all explainations to justify his prowess reigning supreme over the nagging and elusive problem that had almost got me enlisted into a mental asylum. Before he could declare decisive victory, however, the original problem surfaced...and that was potent enough to mute him, possibly for life!
I felt as powerful as a ventriloquist. The dummy was won over and would speak my language of despondency now! A call was placed immediately to DELL Support, which after forwading and reforwarding and rereforwarding finally got me connected to a senior engineer named Srikanth. After consulting with the visiting engineer, he proposed getting Andromeda to their lab the next day to solve the problem. I let loose a volley of self-pity as I acquiescend in complying with his suggestion. Hobson's Choice at play. The visiting engineer was left off the hook after spending a marathon 4 hours. Poor chap.
The constant unscrewing and screwing of Andromeda by strangers for the past one month has severely stunted my loyalty towards her. I later discovered a screw stuck in a clamp socket. Obviously, the engineer was sloppy and careless. And with Andromeda being costantly stripped to her bones, it's no wonder that she wouldn't mind a little more screwing.
The screw slid inside the compartment as I reoriented Andromeda. I was helpless.