Be Careful What uConfess
None of this would have happened if my wife Rita wasn't one of the most paranoid and suspicious people on the entire face of this planet! Everything with her was a state secret on a need to know basis. Being merely her husband most definitely did not qualify me for need to know. I loved her dearly but it took a forty-mule team to drag out and divulge even the most trivial secret from her sealed lips. She made even a grocery store shopping list sound like a CIA list of top-secret contacts, and she protected it accordingly.
Sometimes this trait of hers was amusing, but often it just dug under my skin and festered there. We were normal middle-class folks living in the big city and trying quietly to find peace and happiness together in life, and her frequent fits of security related drama sometimes just drove me absolutely nuts.
Once, about fifteen years ago shortly before we were married, she had been 'victimized' in a minor stolen identity theft. Someone obtained her credit card number and sold it to some hillbilly in Tennessee who bought a motorcycle and a couple of cases of whisky before the card was cancelled. As identify theft cases go, this one was pretty minor and straight forward. They even caught the guy using the stolen card and sent him off to jail for a while. No dings on her credit history, just one of life's minor little speed bumps, right?
Not to Rita. This was an action call to go to DefCom-4, and soon the steel walls started to come down and lock up tight. Years later those barriers were still shut and bolted down. Our house (in a decent neighborhood) was the only one on our block with burglar bars all the way around it. Not to mention a security system, an extra monitored alarm system, and placed on our local county constable 'Special Watch List' for good measure. This was just the physical security.
The way Rita guarded her personal laptop computer made it only slightly less protected than the Crown Jewels of England.
Normally I try to humor my slightly overly suspicious wife, but sometimes I have to lay down the law and hold firm to my guns, even while she is screaming something insanely paranoid me and throwing household objects at me. Sometimes, once in a very great while, I even win. The make-up sex is usually particularly good too — nothing beats a crazy woman for hot make-up sex!
One of the few battles I ever won concerned the need to perform needed system maintenance and backups of her data every six month. So on the Fourth of July and New Years I get 'supervised' access to her personal computer. She used to have a desktop PC but I bought her a nice laptop for Christmas last year. She guards that baby just like the White House General with the suitcase with all of the atomic weapon launch codes. Like her purse, it never leaves her sight. I swear, I've even seen her take them both into the bathroom with her!
Once, long ago she had a computer crash and lost her bookmarked web favorites, old emails and some data. It happens to everyone, and you plan accordingly... cough backups cough. But to Rita this was a crisis on a par with a natural disaster that somehow all became my fault, and for which she still has yet to forgive me. I'd apologize, but it would only serve to enable her ... plus I have absolutely no clue even years later exactly what I did to make it all my fault in the first place. She never let me even touch that computer, let alone allowed me to do backups on it!
So, with extreme reluctance, on these rare occasions only, I am permitted access to her most 'Holy-of-Holies' - her laptop PC. The security on this computer is excessive to say the least, I know ... I installed most of it. If she could find a retina scanner or other biometric security system to block off the other 99.999999% of the human race from even seeing her Windows boot up screen, she'd make me install it. As if her current BIOS post password, and two separate O/S login screens (all with different passwords) weren't adequate enough protection already. Everything on her hard drive was compressed and encrypted with 256-bit security. Then, for added extra good measure, access to her Firefox web browser, Outlook email and MS Office apps were all additionally password protected.
Naturally, all of her data files, mostly MS Word documents, had yet another layer of encryption. Forget home shopping entirely, none of her credit cards ever got listed on any store web site — ever. As she put it, "There isn't enough tea in China, or enough web security anywhere to make web shopping safe!" She's almost right about that one.
Still, this level of security was wildly and insanely excessive. Rita is just a mid-level editor for the local City Style glossy magazine that is given away free as in insert in our local Sunday newspaper. They rave about art galleries, museum exhibits, trendy new clubs and who offers the best margarita or martini in town. Sometimes they'll get daring and cover hip overpriced restaurants, top notch plastic surgeons who specialized in boob jobs, and previews of what women might expect from Macy's fall designer collections. No surprise that these businesses all receiving these rave reviews were all paid advertisers! Ooooo ... dangerous stuff!
There wasn't one thing work related on her computer that anyone anywhere cared the slightest bit about ... but try convincing her of that!
As for myself, I'm an IT Manager for a small but prosperous commercial real estate company and protect some confidential data for the owner and his Chief Accounting Officer, but with nothing remotely close to this level of government spy level security. Boys and girls, it's all about 'proportion'. My darling Rita had absolutely no sense of it whatsoever! This was the cause of the tragic and unnecessary end of our relationship.
July 4th came around and once again it was time for the semi-annual madness of dealing with Rita's insane overprotection of her laptop data, and I was prepared. Rita truculently brought her laptop into my home office/computer room and we got down to business.
After she (secretly) typed in her boot up OR boot-up BIOS password we stuttered our way though her other various login security screens. Finally, I was unenthusiastically entrusted with her greatest treasure and given the usual dire warnings about what unspeakable punishments would occur to me if the slightest file was screwed up. Castration with blunt rusty implements was just the warm-up. The real fun would start later, she assured me.
In fifteen years of marriage she's somehow never gotten it into her head that I 'do this for a living'! I think it is this complete lack of trust that she has about everything that drives me nuts. Trust is really the first cornerstone of any relationship, let alone a good marriage. If your spouse doesn't trust anyone or anything, then things can get fairly shaky fast.
For the first step #1, I made a Ghost backup image of the entire hard drive onto my big backup server. This would give me a snapshot of her hard drive and its heavily encrypted contents in the event anything went wrong later. In a worst-case scenario, everything could be put back exactly as it was before we started both quickly and easily.
Once that was done, I archived off her email into a backup.pst file, and then make other backups of her bookmarks and her Favorites folders into her backup folder on D: drive. I quickly checked that My Documents was empty, and it was. Good girl! Anyone who stores data there on their C: operating system drive is just asking for trouble and deserves to get their data lost. Once all of the minor backups were done, I then burned a data DVD of all of her D: Data drive, which was hers to keep.
The 'work' done, now it was time for system maintenance. She had most automatic updates turned off on her laptop, as she considered any and all remote access to her computer by any software vendor (including Microsoft) to be a security violation. So, with the machine in my capable hands, I began to manually install operating system, security, anti-virus, anti-spyware, MS Office and firewall updates ... one at a time.
It usually took hours to do this and Rita, at her best and most suspicious, invariably tried to stay present and watch me like a hawk for the entire time. Fortunately, within an hour or two, since she often had the attention span of a toddler she would get bored watching the endlessly slow 'updating' task bars and start to find excuses to leave the room for just a minute or two, eventually giving me some breathing space without her staring at me like I was a paroled felon.
By the time I was nearly done with just the O/S and application updates over two hours later, she was quite distracted with a phone call from a girlfriend and left me in peace and quiet for a full fifteen minute. This was all I needed to install a 'new and improved' comprehensive security package for her that replaced her existing anti-virus, anti-spyware and Internet firewall.
SecRitSqrrl is a fun little program suite that indeed replaces every other security and malware protection on your computer and does a pretty good job of it. Much better in my opinion than Norton Internet Security, which is nearly guaranteed to screw up any computer it is installed upon. I hope Peter Norton got a lot of money for selling off his company so he can sleep soundly at night; the good old days at his old company are very definitely long gone.
The best feature of this program however, is that it contains a goodly amount of primo spyware integrated right into it. It's not the number one hacker tool downloaded at Pirate Bay for nothing. I liked the program enough that I even bought a legal extended feature version of it complete with some extra bells and whistles. With this program I'd be able to learn the dozens of passwords she used, and gain access to her email account in real time, invisible to her. I could even see the screens she was looking at remotely and take print screens.
It was just curiosity really. She'd locked up her laptop like it was Fort Knox and the urge to see what was hidden on it was scratching me like an itch that wouldn't go away. I was sure I wouldn't find a single damn thing of interest, but I desperately wanted to be able to give her a smug superior look knowing that the biggest state secrets she was protecting was an upcoming review of the 'El Sleazo Café' and an editorial that this winter's trendy fashion color was likely to be royal blue.
I wish now I hadn't done it. I can only offer for an excuse that her bizarro world infatuation with ever increasing levels of security around every part of her life was pissing me off to the extent that the 'D' word, "Divorce", was starting to enter my thoughts late at night when I couldn't sleep. Frankly I was expecting her to break out the aluminum foil any day now to make anti-mind probe shields for herself and the dog. Darn those pesky government mind control beams! I suggested over breakfast one morning that I could wire up the entire house to be a giant Faraday Cage, but she didn't get the joke ... probably just as well.
More than anything, I just wanted to prove to myself that the woman I had married was now quite batshit crazy and, if the marriage was to be saved at all, it was time for a really big knockdown drag-out fight. To even have a prayer of winning, I needed to have some cards to lay down on the table.
You would be depressed to learn how rarely cool calm 'logic' ever wins an argument against 'crazy'.
We were both just forty-two and young enough to start over again if necessary for a (hopefully) happier future. Worst case the house could be sold and the savings accounts split. We had no children and our State didn't allow for alimony, so the split shouldn't be all that painful, if necessary. I was at the crossroads looking in both directions and it was time to decide which way to go.
Using my best geek-speak, I told Rita when she returned that I'd updated everything and that it was all good to go. She just about snatched the laptop out of my unclean and unworthy hands and raced to lock it back up into her ever present leather attaché case. Naturally receiving a word or two of thanks was quite out of the question, let alone the prospect of receiving a proper 'thank you' blowjob now or later. Men don't usually ask for a lot in life, and sometimes it's the simplest rewards that make us happiest. We do like to feel appreciated. Sure, blowjobs are very nice, but sometimes just a hug and a 'thank you' will do.
My work done, I enjoyed the rest of the holiday grilling (burning) meat and drinking too much beer. I couldn't wait to start cracking her impregnable data fortress once she got to work on Monday morning!
Being the boss of a one man department, I can work my own schedule and often come in late if I know I need to work on the computer network after hours, when no users are on, but I was in bright and early that Monday. Most of my 'help!' requests always seem to occur on Mondays for some reason. The cleaners unplug cables and power cords accidentally and the gremlins have had a weekend to do their random mischief. Today's drama consisted of a major problem with our MS Exchange email server that tied up most of my day. Our ISP had changed one of their DNS settings for some random reason and never bothered to notify its users. This caused all of our email to sit unsent all weekend long. Morons!
By the time I got everything fixed and every user happy, it was nearly time to go home, so I decided to let my fun wait another day. Besides, every twenty-four hours I'd receive an event log by email of everything she did on her laptop, and that was really the best place to start my investigation.
The fun at work continued again on Tuesday (they'd changed the DNS back to the old one again so I had to once again reset all our email server settings!) and it was late afternoon before I could load up my own Master copy of SecRitSqrrl and start to play. The rest of the week was dead quiet when I had absolutely nothing to do, so I used the free time to very thoroughly spy on my wife's on-line activities. That's the way it goes at my office, it's either deadly dull or mass panic, with rarely anything inbetween.
At first glance, everything I looked at on her laptop met my expectations. No secret emails to shadowy government agencies or malicious foreign powers. No secret calendar entries setting up secret assignations with either spymasters or lovers. No signs of an affair or plans to abscond with City Style's entire bank accounts and skip off to Latin America with Juan The Swarthy Poolboy™ or even the latest ultra-feminist potboiler from the Oprah book club.
I now had a complete listing of all of her secret passwords and I had read 98% of her encrypted data files until extreme boredom set in. No, royal blue was not going to be the trendy color this winter ... it was navy blue instead. Still I gave myself points for a close guess. Boots (mid calf, not ankle) were the hot footwear, and the Ming Palace upscale Chinese restaurant chain had paid for a full page ad for the next six months and wanted a top-notch review.
Be still my beating heart! I wasn't sure if I could stand the strain of protecting these dire secrets!
I should have quit right then, but I was bored at work and got curious to find out what dodgy websites she surfed when she felt the need to get her freak on. I needn't have bothered. The closest site to 4chan that she visited was called uConfess, a very heavy estrogen laden place for bored housewives and the soap opera crowd to 'confess' their deepest and darkest innermost secrets. Yawn! Tentacle or Yuri porn might actually have been a distinct improvement.
I almost called it quits again right there ... and I should have. Instead I was so bored that Friday that I reviewed all of her logs for the last week and noted that she visited uConfess a lot. Every single day in fact she usually surfed there during her lunch hour. This site was very definitely her single most favorite website to visit.
Since I have a rather voyeuristic nature, which I freely admit, and I knew her username and password, I decided to give the site a very thorough read through. I especially wanted to read Rita's posts and find out what deep dark hidden secrets she wanted to confess. Did she want a lesbian lover? Better yet did she want a threesome? Or did she just want to tie up Hugh Jackman and cover his helpless quivering nude body with chocolate syrup and whipped cream and lick it all off, slowly?
Enquiring minds (namely mine) were now dying to find out!
Using the MoreRokoMole feature of SecRitSqrrl, I remotely connected to her laptop and used it to covertly connect to the uConfess website. Even if Rita was using her laptop right now, she wouldn't be able to detect that I was surfing the web via her computer. This let me connect to the site using her native network card (MAC) and IP address. Any tracing program would point directly at her laptop and not my computer miles away.
This is your 223rd visit to uConfess
You have no new private messages and 4 users have added you as a Favorite Confessor since your last login
Once I was logged in to the website, it was easy to find her registered Confessor account management page and view all of her previous postings. Now I would learn all about the deep dark secrets she felt the burning need to confess!
The truth was a bit more mundane, and shocked me to the core. In her dozens of postings this year she detailed the account of a growing love affair. Not with her husband ... or alas, not even with a bisexual woman.
Here are a few selected examples of her postings from screen shots that I took.
"I have a new literary agent for some articles I want to write for some of the big New York fashion and style magazines, or even a romance novel I'd like to write. He's very tall and handsome and he makes me tingle a bit when I look at him. I'm married, but restless..."
(This first posting was pretty much collectively ignored. No drama or even trolling.)
"Another monthly meeting with my hunky agent. I know he's interested in me too and we spend a lot of time looking into each other's eyes. He's single (divorced) and I'm oh so very restless ... I've never had an affair before but I want him ... bad!"
"You go! Girl!"
"Go for it! Tell us all of the nasty details"
(Etcetera... 93 other women all thought that "Restless" should cheat on her husband, only six thought it was a bad idea ... but only then because she 'might get caught'. This set the tone for the rest of the messages.)
"He rejected me! I all but threw himself into his arms and offered myself to him and he rejected me! He won't have an affair with a married woman, he says! He was quick to point out that if I were to divorce, that would be an entirely different matter. So he loves me too, but has 'principles'.
"L sad face"
"Drug him, kidnap him and tie him down and rape him. Once he's done the dirty you've got him. Claim rape if he won't toe the line"
(WTF? No extreme is too crazy to rope and brand the lover of your dreams these days it seems for some women. Already I could tell that this board was just teeming with 'crazy'. No wonder Rita liked this site! She wasn't going to get any marriage saving advice here.)
"My husband won't give me a divorce! I've found the man I really and truly love and the rat bastard won't set me free to find happiness! He controls the money and if I leave him I'd never get a cent of our savings, or see our two young children again. He'd ruin me in the divorce! There has to be a way to escape!"
":< angry face"
"Do what ever it takes. Fight the bastard for everything, take everything he's got."
"Give yourself some fake injuries and blame your husband. Get a steady stream of 'domestic assault' police calls to your house and get photos. You'll screw him for every dime he has in court!"
(And so on. It just got worse and scarier. The idea of making fraudulent battered spouse claims didn't scare or deter anyone. Some of the readers even posted specific helpful advice, allegedly from experience ... on how to make their claims of abuse more believable in court. Holy shit! Who were these crazy women and why was my wife now raving insanely about me blocking a divorce we had never discussed? What children? This was a whole metric crapload of insanity and it was growing worse with each post!)
"I've got to find a way to break free. He's watching me like a hawk, checking over everything that I do. He's even got my boss at work checking up constantly on me for him. I can't get the chance to show what an abusive manipulator he really is. Getting the police to 'catch him' is going to be hard. It might be easier to try a different plan. Things would be so much easier if I were a widow! My dear Roger would most certainly be there to comfort me!"
"Evil face + Smile"
"Kill that abusive bastard!"
"Honey, you DESERVE to be happy and don't let anyone stand in your way!"
(Holy fucking crap! Did these crazy women actually advocate murdering someone's husband in order to upgrade to a better boyfriend? There weren't quite as many comments here, but there was precious little sanity. The overwhelming conclusion was very definitely that the ends justify the means.)
(The next half dozen postings are skipped due to insane psychodrama overload. The crazy bitches accepted it as gospel that I was a psychotic pedophile tyrant who abused and daily beat my family within an inch of their lives. Or in other words, a typical male as depicted on the Lifetime Cable TV channel. Various methods of murdering me and getting away with it were discussed until one black widow poster, again quoting from significant personal experience, suggested an overseas source for buying certain nearly untraceable poisons such as pancuronium bromide, a favorite substance of government spies and black widows everywhere.
Finally, here was her last published comment posted the previous week.)
"I did it! I bought a $100 dollar gift credit card with cash and ordered a little bottle of my 'problem solver' over their website. It should ship from India this week and I might hopefully have it in my hands by July 4th, my very own Independence Day! I'll put it in his coffee where the sugar will cover the slight bitterness and the slight citrus tang. Hurray! Soon, my lovely Roger, soon we will be together forever! He's pushing me to hurry up and do the deed so that he can comfort this poor widow - I've already got a hot little dress in black that will do perfectly for our next meeting together!"
"You Go Girl!"
(More homicidal craziness, Etc, ad nausium.)
Ok, even a dullard would get the idea by now that my loving wife was going to poison me and then run into the comforting arms of her lover.
Still, as shocking as this whole thing was, it was just too crazy. I was certainly not an abusive spouse, nor did I molest our non-existent children. The minute she asked me for a divorce - it was hers ... no argument. The whole situation just made no sense.
I was still alive, so obviously her 'wonder drug' had not yet arrived. Just in case, I decided to skip drinking any coffee at home this weekend.
The entire series of confessions just seemed too strange and bizarre to be true, but just in case I print screened the lot of them and put the printouts into a folder and locked in my desk with a note "To be opened in the event of my death". I had nothing to take to the police or even worth a phone call to one of my friends.
I stewed about the situation for a good hour after I should have already left work but in the end I trotted on home like a good lamb to await my execution. Somehow, I thought, I'd either find some proof to back up this wild ass story or else it would all turn out to be massive psycho craziness.
By Monday, I'd either be poisoned and dead or ready to pack up my shit and move to somewhere else less packed chock-full of crazy.