Home-o-normativity: A New Year-ish Post

I was about to write that January is for burrowing in, hunkering down, and laying low, but then I checked and realized those were the exact words I used last January, which either suggests that I am right about January or that my powers of description are painfully limited. Or perhaps it means that university professors really do have the least stressful jobs on earth. No, wait, that idea has been thoroughly debunked. Torn to shreds. Subjected to the Onion comparison.

Still: January. I didn’t go to the MLA again. The Woman Formerly Known as Goose did, and she had a wonderful time, as she always does because she revels in the hobnobbing and the glad-handing and all the other compound words used to describe high levels of social interaction tied to the advancement of professional goals and interests. (See also back-slapping, party-hopping, and name-dropping.) I enjoy those activities, too. In smaller doses.

And so I stayed home to do my burrowing and my futzing and my rearranging of this and that. Last January I focused on denuding the front of the refrigerator, which had gotten covered by an impressive assortment of photos, magnets, bumper stickers, ticket stubs, and masterpieces of kid art. This year I tackled the pantry, which in our household serves to store a little bit of food and prodigious amounts of stuff that should probably be tossed or stored elsewhere. It took me a couple of days, but I successfully cleared the top of the little wine fridge (which is in the pantry), our favorite place for piling crap when company is coming and we don’t know what the hell else to do with it.

Another project I took on ended up consuming a lot more time than I had anticipated and in a couple of moments had this Madwoman on the brink of smashing her shiny new Laptop in a fit of frustration. As the household photographer and archivist, I had long wanted to go back to my very first Mac laptop, the comically large (17″) PowerBook G4, and retrieve hundreds of photos that had never been migrated to subsequent machines. I figured this would be a simple operation, especially when I cranked up the old aluminum mare alongside my sleek new MacBook Pro and noticed that the photos on the old machine showed up in the Source list under “Shared” in iPhoto on my new computer. I had more than a thousand images on the old computer, but about half of them had already been migrated. (When? How? Why? And why were the others left behind? Heck if I know!) I thought, well, I’ll just select the 500 or so I want to take, drag them into the new photo library, and run upstairs and tell WFKG what a fricking techno-wizard I am. Unfortunately, the maneuver was only half successful. The images migrated, but the order got messed up, as the date/time data on some of the images got scrambled in the transition. Suddenly, pictures from WFKG’s epic fiftieth birthday party were interspersed with photos of the Thanksgiving Festival of Terrapins, Texans, and Norwegians that we hosted in 2004, and that was just wrong, wrong, wrong. I undid the maneuver and tried it again, firmly believing that if at first you don’t succeed at something you should repeat the same flawed procedure until you are ready to slam your head up against the nearest brick wall.

apple supportNot surprisingly, my efforts failed. I might not have mentioned this, but WFKG and I do in fact live in a brick house, so the head-banging option was available. After a prolonged series of Interweb searches and several smug well-intentioned pronouncements from Facebook friends, most of which involved the word “Dropbox,” I finally did what I probably should have done in the first place: picked up the phone and called Apple support. I felt better about my tech-wizardry when I had to be passed up the line to a supervisor, who spent more than an hour working with me, including doing that creepy/amazing thing where you give some unseen dude access to your computer, before declaring that there was no way to unscramble the data, because the operating systems and the versions of iPhoto on the two computers were simply incompatible. All I could do was manually change the date/time information on the migrated images to get them back in the right order. Which I did. Because my German brain really does require that kind of thing.

Why am I telling you this? Because I worry that you, too, have a growing pile of old computers in your home and that they hold images, documents, and data that will be compromised or lost if you don’t tend to the tedious tasks of migrating, merging, and updating. I say this as a super-slacker when it comes to updates, but I am resolved, in a New Year-ish kind of way, to try to do better. Check back with me in a month to see if I’ve tackled the equally complex problem of how to consolidate iTunes libraries scattered across half a dozen computers and other devices. Hello, Eric? Me again. Could you help me figure out where I put the Brandenburg concertos and, um, that song I impulsively bought on iTunes after I heard it on Glee? What? No, I don’t remember the name of the group. Or the song. Or which episode it was. Eric? Are you there? Eric? Is this Apple support?

Don’t let your past get locked up in a machine that is no longer functional or accessible. That’s all I’m saying, darlings.

In other January news from the homefront, we had to have a tree brought down this week, an old maple in a remote corner of the ridiculously large back yard. Roxie loved that tree, which had a sort of saddle close enough to the ground that she could climb up into it and look out over the property as if to say, “I am lord and master of this joint. Back off, little squirrels.” And they did. The tree had been leaning precariously over a neighbor’s yard for quite some time and finally began to uproot itself after the devastations of the derecho and hurricane Sandy. It was sad to see it pulled down, piece by piece. I will miss its presence in our sky, but it left some lovely remnants, several of which the neighbor plans to keep in her yard. We made a table and chairs out of pieces of an oak we had to bring down not long after we moved into this house. We called it “Log-Henge” and enjoyed it for years, until eventually it crumbled into the soil, a perfect mulch for another corner of the garden. I told the neighbor that story on Tuesday. She smiled.

Cycle of life, dear readers, cycle of life. Indoors. Out of doors. This is our home. It deserves our loving attention. Peace out, and happy new year.

Photo Credit: The Madwoman, 1/8/13

Photo Credit: The Madwoman, 1/8/13

Comments

  1. How is the back up system for your home network?

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  2. And so the moral is, try as you might, not everything can be kept. Nor should it be. Let stuff go, be it piles in the pantry, a carapace of memories on the ‘fridge, photos on the old hard drive or a dear old tree. Everything, but everything, comes from dark, beautiful mulch. And to mulch it shall return. Amen.

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  3. So true, so true — and yet I could not let go of the photos. I spent days trying to figure out how to recover them just as they were, and the truth is I still feel that I cheated somehow in going back in and manipulating that data. We should ask a historian about this feeling. Know any? 😉

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