Thursday, August 25, 2011

Memory Loss

After living for seven years in the shadow of the San Andreas Fault, I admit I was relieved to leave earthquake territory for Washington DC, where the only thing you have to worry about is Al Qaeda.

Image my surprise then, when on Tuesday afternoon our house suddenly felt like a Christmas present being rattled by a curious child. I had just enough time to gather my wits and my children under a doorway. Then fortunately, just as I was beginning to wonder what kind seismic standards existed in the 1950s when our house was built, the shaking stopped.

Thankfully, I was able to get a hold of Jack before the phone lines were jammed. The only suffering we incurred was that it took him a record-breaking two hours to Metro home. He normally grills for us on Tuesdays so we were left starving, and dinner was so late that we missed the opening obstacle course on Wipeout. Natural disasters are rough.

Unfortunately, that was the extent of our damage. I say unfortunately, because I’m aware that no one likes an earthquake story that doesn’t contain a little damage.

So, as a consolation, here is another damage story. This is one happened last week, when the earth was still -

It was Tuesday night. I was walking from the kitchen to my desk to retrieve a to-do list, when I took a misstep, and heard a $1,600 crunch.

It certainly didn’t sound like a $1,600 crunch. More like a tiny little snap. Au contraire.

I had stepped on our external hard drive. It was a short step, and I am not an elephant, but as luck would have it I may as well have thrown the thing from a moving truck. What initially looked like a harmless crack in the exterior, turned out to be a fatal sever between data and memory reader thingy. Seagate, the drive’s manufacturer, provided me a friendly quote of $1,000-$1,600 to recover our contents.

Contents: Every picture we’ve taken over the last 5 years. Every picture of Jolie since she was two. Every picture of Leah since she was a newborn. Every picture of Cal, ever. This is not to mention all of Jack’s dissertation data, our entire collection of music, ebooks, templates, sacrament meeting talks, etc.

Ironically, the drive had just safely returned from accompanying us on a 5-week summer vacation. Jack had not been thrilled with the idea of traveling with something so valuable, but I had insisted. I wanted to be able to keep up with photos, so I raised my right hand and swore to take better care of our hard drive than I would our children. And I did. It journeyed from Baltimore to San Diego and back, with stops in Utah, Denver and Chicago between, without collecting so much as a single fleck of dust. When it made it home unharmed, I made a big deal of patting myself on the back and ceremoniously accusing Jack of worrying for nothing. Then I put it under the desk. And then I stepped on it.

As I whine, I realize there are far worse things in life. Earthquakes and Al Qaeda, for instance. So I allowed myself one good cry, a couple of swear words, and then I decided I had to get over it. Hard drives break. Pictures get lost. Life moves on. Someday we’ll probably shell out the $1,600 to try to retrieve the memories, and we can all have a good laugh about it.

In the meantime, I’m starting fresh. After three months of morning sickness I had been hoping to do some catch up on blogging. With that no longer an option, I’ve turned my attention instead to conducting search and rescue efforts for pictures that have survived outside the hard drive.

I've never been so thankful for cell phones. I’ve had my simple little texting phone for over three years now, and had no idea how many memories have been captured by its camera. It has cheered me up quite a bit to download the images and design them into pages for the kids albums. Pages that won’t disappear if I accidentally step on them.

Aside from texting some of these pictures to Jack, I've never done anything to preserve them and am certain I never would have if I hadn't killed the hard drive. Most likely they would have eventually been tossed out with my phone when a new phone came along. I likewise would not have uploaded them here, had I not been prompted by Tuesday's quake.

Opportunities arrive in strange disguises. A comforting realization as we anticipate a weekend visit from Hurricane Irene.


Lorie said...

Oh Katie! I think we need to take up a fund and give you a hard drive repair for Christmas!!

PS - don't you own the domain for your bow website and this one? I have one that I use as a back up to my back up of photos. I figure if ALL of my backups go then God didn't want me to have pictures! :P

Krista said...

That stinks Katie! Sounds like Jack needs to get a part time job at Seagate just long enough to get an employee discount.

Memzy said...

You complete me.

Jodi said...

hopefully you've printed some of those pictures in some form? HOPEFULLY?? Glad you all survived the quake at least.

Jo said...

If you would like to chat I can talk to you about all the ways to have things backed up properly. One external drive is not enough. I lost a computer back in April, Long sad story that turned out ok. As a consultant for Creative Memories I have had a lot of training on this. Call, email, FB etc and I will tell you all the recommendations to keep this from happening in the future. Good Luck Jo

Jane said...

So sad :( You are my inspiration and motivation for more things in my life than you know and organizing photos is one of them. I will be making lots of discs for you, at least cabin trips, utah trips and Redlands trips should have some pictures on my hard drive.

Daneille said...

I keep trying to do picture interventions on myself saying, "Daneille. You don't have to take hundreds of pictures of the grandkids every time you see them. They have parents of their own and that's their parents' job." I'll look at my files and see if I can help out some as well; I don't remember how successful my interventions have been. I do know that from now on, I'm not going to tell myself, "Daneille. You don't have to worry about backing up pictures of your grandkids..."

Kristin said...

BUMMER. Oh, Katie I want to cry for you. What's a little quaking compared to a lost hard drive disaster?! Shoot. Your cell phone pics are pretty dang precious. Also, really smart of you to have a youtube account with lots of home videos! Sorry Todd's a throat cancer SURVIVOR. Otherwise I'm sure Leah would've recovered the hard drive lest her helmet pictures get forgotten about forever.

Jenny B said...

What a tragedy to lose so many cute pictures of such adorably cute children!! I can pitch in $20 towards your $1,600 loss... who's with me?!
P.S. I don't care how small that earthquake was... I WOULD BE SCARED OUT OF MY WITS.

Leslie said...

I was feeling sorry for myself after my 2 year old busted the LCD screen on my brand new laptop, but you have given me perspective. I'm so sorry. Seriously. At least you've got some cute cell phone pictures.

Also, congratulation on baby number 4! (And on making it through months of morning sickness. Boo.)

Susan said...

Katie, never fear, when I sell my "tiny totes" franchise, you'll have your $1600 and then some!

thejerry said...

I'm not sure if you're searching for solutions or if you just want us all to curse along with you so I'll do both.

There, now I've said a few swear words too on your behalf.

Second, while I'm not sure that I could do it myself I imagine that if Seagate can get it fixed then there are enough nerds around that could do it too. Let us all know if you think we could be of any help.

Flem said...

Maybe if you blogged more you would have another record of those alleged great pictures.

I too am willing to donate to said fund, why don't you post a paypay button on your blog?

Jeannie said...

There are two things that make me feel better about this tragic story. One, that you were able to find pictures/memories elsewhere and create some darling scrapbook pages. And, two, that I'm not the only one who thinks a swear word now and then.

Sorry, friend. I hope you're able to retrieve your pictures soon. And I'd also contribute to the Save The Pictures fund!

senategirl said...

Jim got paranoid after reading this post and we bought a second back up drive for our computer/pictures.

That was his only emergency preparedness for Hurricane Irene.

I propose we do a bake sale or yard sale to raise funds for you hard drive to be repaired.

Emily said...

After cleaning pen ink from my beautiful leather couch (the one we couldn't afford yet in SB), I knew I could find words of confidence on your blog! Thanks! I feel much better.

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