I’ve had a very good Christmas this year, far better than I deserve. Good times were spent with my parents, I gave useful gifts, and I got unexpected surprises.
One of the best gifts of all was being able to fix my dad’s electronic/music issues.
You see, when I go home my parents often use me as “tech support”. And while I am fairly adept, I’m not a computer whiz. Which generally means hours of frustration while I try to sort out software updates and/or Windows operating system issues.
This year it was fixing my dad’s iTunes library and getting it to play with the new Sonos speaker he got.
Ever since a freak lightning strike fried his tuner and some other electronics, he hasn’t had any music upstairs in his house. And he absolutely lives for having music available.
After much research, a Sonos wireless speaker seems to offer the best solution. He’d be able to play his iTunes library as well as Pandora and other music services and control them all easily from his iPad. So it became incumbent upon me to get the speaker up and running.
It mostly went well. Mostly.
Initial setup was an absolute breeze. I got him set up with Pandora and it was smooth sailing. But everything came to a screeching halt when I tried to connect his iTunes library. No matter what I tried, his music folder simply would NOT share with the Sonos.
Error. After error. After error message.
I went down the troubleshooting rabbit hole for 5 hours or so, trying renaming computers, shifting folder locations, examining computer permissions and sharing. All on a Windows 7 OS married with iTunes.
It was not pretty.
By the end of yesterday, I was pretty defeated. My father had given up and wanted to take the system back to Best Buy. And he was absolutely distraught because he had no music upstairs.
And for a guy going through Chemo again with falling spirits, this wasn’t good. I simply had to fix this for him but time was running out as I needed to head home on Sunday.
I stayed up late scouring Google for any and all troubleshooting tips. I went to sleep with a couple leads, a couple bookmarked pages and woke up in the morning determined to try again.
Dad was pretty down and defeated, and scoffed a bit as I said I was heading down to his computer to try “one more thing”…
And fuck if I didn’t solve it.
The fix turned out to be non-intuitive yet fairly easy, but unfortunately was buried in a home sharing/firewall setting. It was also by no means part of an “easy step by step troubleshooting guide”.
It was my last hope– and it worked.
Once the music library was shared, Dad and I fired up the Sonos app on his iPad. We honestly held our breath as he made a music selection– until stains of Aaron Copland wafted out of the speaker.
His eyes were shiny with gratitude and I hugged him with a hearty “Merry Christmas!”
Only it was really a Christmas gift to me. I knew how much getting his music to work meant to him. I was desperate to give him this gift, and such a weight was lifted from my shoulders when those first notes sounded. It was by far my best gift this year.
I then excused myself to go to the bathroom, where I broke down and cried with relief.
Sometimes Christmas miracles do happen.