I love it when a good idea turns out to be… a good idea.
Since the beginning of the year my 9 year old son and I have been talking about building a gaming pc. My son is into all things computer and I thought it would be a really good experience to learn more about the hardware side of things. I told him we could build one over summer vacation. I said this despite having no idea how to build a computer. NOT A CLUE.
I spent a few days earlier in the year researching parts and found a great website where you pick your price range and you are provided a list of parts. Easy-peasy. No doubts about things being compatible or missing cables or fitting inside the tower. I bookmarked the website and moved on with my life.
My son kept talking this and that about different requirements and I smiled and nodded and life was good. And then the end of school neared. Luckily we were going on vacation the day after school let out. I assured my son we would order the parts after we returned home and had a few days to get sorted out.
And the day came when I could no longer put off “The Epic Computer Build”. I showed my son the website and heard the shriek of “that is not building your own computer!” Really? Don’t we have to actually assemble all these pieces? Isn’t that building your own computer? Apparently not.
So he made me a list of parts and I made a list from the website and we went through it item by item. And we made choices from both lists. We looked at cost and capabilities and looks. We discussed pros and cons and tried to figure out if things were compatible the best we could. We worked together. And we placed our order.
And then somehow I managed to not think about the computer assembling process AT ALL. And before I knew it I had a big box of computer parts and one very excited child. The parts came on a Saturday afternoon and my son was going to a baseball game with his father bringing me another day’s reprieve.
And darned if I didn’t climb into bed that night and realize I still had no idea how to even begin assembling a computer! So I climbed out of bed and looked at a few websites and watched a couple of YouTube videos and came up with a plan.
Honestly I expected “The Epic Computer Build” to take at least a week. The start of Day 2 had us putting in the final component (the Optical Drive) and checking the cabling one last time. We plugged it in…and nothing. And we were not surprised. Two people who have no clue as to what they are doing do not expect success on the first try. There was no clear directions about connecting everything together so I had let my son do most of it. Now what?
So we unplugged and opened the tower and thought about it. One of the videos I watched talked about the cables for the power switch and LED lights and how it was easy to screw them up. So I unplugged them and started over. I examined the diagram in the motherboard manual closely and re-connected. And it seemed different than the first time.
Once again we plugged it in…and the sweet joy of success! Until we realized we had no wifi. What? I thought all motherboards had built in wifi but apparently most don’t. So day 3 we went to the computer store and bought a PCI-E wifi card and installed it with nary a cuss word. And while we were in there we also figured out why we didn’t have any sound and fixed that too.
Yup, less than 3 days to build a computer from the ground up. My son and I keep looking at each other with big we did it grins. We have really bonded over this achievement and I think we have each developed a bit more respect for the other’s capabilities. And I have been reminded that I can do anything I really want to do, especially if I want to do it with someone I love.
So today the computer usage limits have been suspended and we are having ice cream to celebrate.
P.S. Want to know the hardest thing about assembling a computer? Teeny tiny screws in teeny tiny places. Seriously.