A Close Encounter of the PHP Kind


It was a typical Monday. Morning exercises done. Breakfast finished. Photo walk completed. I was showered and hair styled. I began uploading the day’s photos; opened my email client and a browser session. Started the login process to my blog so that I could respond to several comments. In other words, I began my normal online routine.

But seconds later, everything came to a grinding halt. My heart was in my throat. My hands shook on the keyboard. While attempting to logon to my blog, I received the following message from my web hosting service:

Your web hosting account has been deactivated
 due to a Terms of Service violation associated with your account  

I frantically dialed the phone number listed and was connected to the “Terms of Service” technical support staff. I gave them my domain name and the last four characters of my Account Manager password. It took several attempts before I was able to repeat them in the proper order; for some reason, my tongue refused to work.

When I inquired as to what I had done to cause such dramatic consequences, I heard something about “writing to the default php ini file…temporary…blah, blah, blah….filled up…causing server problems”. Even with an IT background, none of this made any sense to me. As far as I knew, I hadn’t touched the “php.ini file” with a ten-foot pole.

After I explained about the ten-foot-pole scenario, the nice young gentleman on the other end put me on hold so that he could look into the situation. Several minutes went by, accompanied by bad Muzak, while I wondered what type of apology was required for interfering with the proper use of a “php.ini” file. And what I could do to stop such interference when I had no idea that I was interfering in the first place.

Honestly, I never meant to “engage in any activity that disrupts, interferes with, or is harmful to our business, operations, reputation, goodwill, subscribers and/or subscriber relations“. I was harming their reputation?

Well, it turns out that the whole situation was caused by an error in the way WordPress is installed on their server. The kind young man changed a file path setting and, just like that, I was back in business. He apologized for the inconvenience. At that point, I would have kissed him (in a motherly way) if he had been standing in front of me.

You see, what I have come to realize is that this blog has become my work. Now that I am an official retiree from corporate life, blogging is my job. I have schedules to adhere to – production of a new post every Tuesday and Friday – and I have structure to my days. This platform serves as a creative outlet that keeps me connected with the world. It challenges me – to keep learning (WordPress, anyone?); to keep creating; to keep sharing. It is a very big feather in this nest that I am building – one post, one photograph at a time.

The thought of losing it? My heart has just now settled back into its normal rhythm.

Warning: if a php.ini file crosses your path, back away very, very slowly and, at all costs, do NOT touch it. Trust me on this.



Posted on August 12, 2011, in Blogging, Retirement and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. 6 Comments.

  1. Having noticed in the past few days how much I missed blogging, I can completely relate. Also, I am totally jealous of your Monday morning routine.

    • Corinna – I do have to say that the retirement routine that has become my new normal is pretty sweet. I try to remember each day how grateful I am for the opportunity to work at this new job of mine. And for the technology that makes it happen. And for nice young men who fix things when it doesn’t.

  2. Yikes! So glad you got it straightened out!!

    • Lisa – I cannot even begin to explain the feelings that went through me when I saw that ominous message. I felt like I was in third grade being called to the principal’s offce. (Not that ever actually happened to me as I was one of those annoyingly “perfect” rule-following children.)

      But the good that came out of this was the realization of how important the practice of blogging has become in my life. How much I would miss it if it was gone. And therefore, I am grateful for the opportunity to learn that lesson.

  3. I can just feel that heartstopping moment. It’s aggravating when something like that happens and you didn’t even do anything. I’m not an IT person so I probably would have also went into a deep, deep hotflash.

    • Laurie,
      Heart-stopping is a perfect description of the terror of those initial moments. Since everything worked out in the end, I choose to view it as a positive experience – it taught me how important blogging has become in my life. And that I need to continue to protect and nourish it. I appreciate your empathic comment – and completely understand about the hot flashes.

I greatly appreciate your comments!

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