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"Life doesn't have to be perfect to be wonderful."
- Unknown

"That which does not kill you, makes you stronger."
- Handed down through the ages.

"Life's tough. It's even tougher when you're stupid."
- John Wayne

Where Have We Been?! - Part II

So, after a stay overnight in snowy Eau Claire last Sunday night, it was off to Duluth bright and early Monday morning. Tom had a plane to catch! Yes, it was time at his new job for the first business trip: a gaming convention in Vegas. So, while he was off breathing stuffy recycled air, losing (and winning) a couple of bucks, pounding his feet sore walking the convention hall each day and, ah-hem, watching The Pussycat Dolls "perform", I was dealing with disasters, it seemed, here at home.

I must admit to feeling a bit (much to my surprise) . . . "heavy" . . . as I drove home through the fresh snow at 10:00 PM Monday night. Sure, I was happy to be back at Swamp River Ridge, but it was the first time here in the new house with Tom gone (something I was well used to at the old place but not here), and I had SO much to do to catch up ahead of me. In many ways, I was not looking forward to "real life" again. If I only knew . . . .

A smile was instantly put on my face when I drove down into the yard. The masonry crew had built me a snowman! (Okay, so he had a lot of furry, dead grass stuck to his coat of snow, and I later found out that a visiting mason's little son had built it over the weekend and then cut its head off because he was bored . . . but, at that time, I thought it was expressly for me, and I still choose to believe that!) So (are you counting?), Good Thing #1.

Then, I went into the house and made my way into the kitchen to turn on a light. Joy! Our electrician had been in while we'd been gone (I'd hoped he would be) and installed all the outlets in the kitchen! We'd gone from 1 to 23 functioning outlets - just like that! Check: Good Thing #2.

"Odd, though . . . " I thought, "The refrig is still pulled out from the wall." No biggie - I pushed it back in. As I did, though, my eyes drifted to the floor behind my feet. And then I started filling up with dread when I saw the dark-colored puddle. "No no no no no no no no no!!!!" The electrician had FORGOTTEN TO PLUG THE FREEZER BACK IN! It was 50 degrees inside it. EVERYTHING was lost. I instantly went sick. My stomach was in knots. Everything I had worked so hard to save during the move - everything I had farmed out to the freezers of friends and family while I waited - forever, it seemed like - for the errant new freezer to show up. All that organic food. Expensive food. All the home-grown rhubarb and veggies I'd put up. The Honeybaked Hams Tom loves. Organic steaks for him and chicken breasts for me. Everything . . . wet, soft, gloppy, and gone. Horrible Thing #1.

Now remember, this is at the end of a long weekend and very long (and getting longer) day.

So, I collect myself, make a couple of late night phone calls (to my mother and husband - who, incidentally, was enjoying cocktails and sushi at a private welcoming party at the Treasure Island Casino) and then start unloading the car. On a trip through the diningroom my flashlight glances off something long, shiny, and black by the window (think good - not icky, slithery creature). There, assembled and pointing out over the valley with a card attached, was an astronomer's telescope that had certainly not been there when we'd left! "Happy New Home" or some such nonsense, the card read. Flyboy, you are in TROUBLE! (We're going to have to start locking our doors! Wait, let me amend that: we're going to have to find the keys to the house!) Anyway, Tom and I can't wait until the first full moon to take a peek at the heavens! So, Good Thing #3.

Then, the car unloaded and it being quite late and me having to get up early to go to work nannying . . . but still VERY jazzed and edgy due to the freezer debacle, I decide to try to relax by going through some e-mails and deskwork. So, I sit down at my desk, and turn on the computer. Nothing. Well, I take that back - there were loads of horrible error messages. It had been working perfectly Thursday morning when I printed off the last set of directions (obviously not through Illinois as previously discussed) and turned it off right before we left. "Well, again, no biggie," I thought. "This has happened before. I'll just drop it off at the computer guru's in town tomorrow and then have it back by the end of the day. A very minor inconvenience." Umm, yeah. Not quite.

Now, almost a week later, I have yet to see my computer. The hard drive is fried. Apparently, changes in electrical currents (i.e. blowing circuits, in our case) are particularly nasty to delicate hard drives. And, there's a good chance that many files (possibly even all) cannot even be retrieved to be transferred onto a new hard drive. Now, for those of you who know me well, it needs not be said how much information is on my computer. For the rest of you, imagine taking every single file folder in your home, every piece of confidential and/or personal paperwork stored in a safety deposit box at the bank, every to-do list you've ever made, every research project you've ever done, every article you've ever written, every financial transaction you've ever made, every bank statement you've ever balanced, every e-mail you've ever sent or received, every address and phone number you've ever saved, every photograph you've ever taken, every Christmas letter you've ever written . . . and burn it. That's the situation we'll be in if the data cannot be retrieved. If the local techno-weenie can't do it, he'll send it to a company that has super techno-weenies who might be able to have more luck . . . for the pricetag of $2,500. Horrible Thing #2.

It's just a disaster. Sure, I run regular backups - once a month. But, since the move I haven't yet - I didn't know where my zip drives were (I know, I know - stupid!). And, since I back up at the end of each month . . . and assuming I actually did it during the busyness at the end of August . . . at the worst, I have lost the data from the beginning of September on. In no way shape or form is it the kind of crisis faced by someone who goes through a horror such as a house fire, but it sure does bring home how dependent I am on my computer. But, how do I prevent a problem like this in the future? Run a backup at the end of each day? Impractical, sure, but necessary? I don't know . . . .

So, for those of you who haven't heard from me, it's because I don't have your e-mail addresses. When Tom got home yesterday I was able to get online via his laptop . . . which is why you find me here. (And so, if you send me an e-mail, I can respond to it and thereby have your address.) And, we still don't have a phone in the house, so that mode of communication is still a game of phone tag.

Okay, I realize I've written a book here. Sorry 'bout that. I probably got to venting a bit, I have a feeling! ;)

Off to bed. It's "a school day" for both of us tomorrow, so there are clothes to be ironed and lunches to be made . . . .

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