Monday, April 25, 2016

The Great Computer Crash of 2016

Well, it happened. The computer crashed. And I mean literally.

About a month ago I was on the computer in our office (working on backing up files to the internet, ironically) when Zelda came in and climbed on the computer tower. It tipped over from her weight and smashed on the floor. Zelda was okay, but the computer was not. The screen was frozen and filled with lines, and when I restarted the computer an incredibly ominous clicking sound came from the hard drive.

If any of you have ever had a hard drive suffer physical damage before, you know that that clicking sound is the worst sound your computer could be making. It is the sound of hard drive death.

Jason took the hard drive out of the tower, and I found the best computer guy in our area and took it to him. He told me there was about a 20% chance that he'd be able to recover the data - if he couldn't, to recover the data would require sending the hard drive to a clean room (which would cost $1500 - way, way out of our budget). A couple days later we got a call from him - he couldn't get the data. We picked up the hard drive from him, and it's now sitting (wrapped in tin foil) in a box in our office closet.

The day after our computer crashed, it truly seemed like most of our data was lost forever. *Except* for the very most important stuff - almost all of our pictures and home videos were safe, because I had had a feeling earlier this year to upload them to the internet. It took me like two months of constant uploading, but almost all of our pictures were uploaded to Amazon cloud storage (they have unlimited photo storage if you have Amazon Prime, and we mooch off of Jason's mom's Amazon Prime - thanks Diana!) and almost all of our home videos were uploaded to our family Youtube account (the videos are unlisted, so they don't show up in searches or anything. We can see them, and if we share the link with people we can see them. We can also download them back to our computer).

So, most of the most important stuff - our pictures and our videos - was safe.

Then it occurred to us that we probably still had a lot of the other stuff, too. Last year we bought a new computer (this one) because our all-in-one computer(a computer where the screen is combined with the hard drive/rest of the stuff - there's no tower)'s screen broke. But the old hard drive was okay, and Jason had pulled it out and saved it to use as a back up hard drive. It's just been sitting in our closet for a year.

We bought a hard drive enclosure off of Amazon (it's a thing that you put an internal hard drive in that basically makes it an external hard drive), put the old hard drive in it, and connected it to Jason's laptop. And there was a ton of our old data! Obviously, it didn't have any of the stuff from the last year, but it did have a lot of important stuff that hadn't been backed up anywhere else.

So, after we recovered data off of that hard drive and Amazon Prime, the bulk of what we we lost from this crash is:

  • Almost all of the pictures from January, February, and March of this year. If the pictures aren't in this blog post, they're gone. I'm sad because I hadn't posted a March blog post yet, so all of the pictures of the girls that month have been lost. And I was going to do a post called "A Day in the Life of Ellie," because she's been taking a ton of pictures with my phone lately, and all the ones she took on the day we went to our local voting place so I could vote in the state's primary were really cool. Now they're gone. And also Jason and I have been wanting (basically since we moved here) to take pictures of all the awesome abandoned, falling-down buildings around us, and last month we finally did it. And we got some really cool pictures! And now they're gone too, and the buildings themselves are mostly hidden now since the spring leaves have filled in on all the trees.
  • All of the videos from January, February, and March of this year, and two from last year. 
  • The pictures from the second half of 2010 (which didn't upload to the Amazon cloud storage, for some reason).
  • The pictures Ellie took of herself with the computer last year.
  • A lot of Ellie's art scans from last year. Some we still have - we kept the originals of our very favorites - but a lot of her art we scanned and then threw the originals away.
  • A bunch of old letters from friends I recently scanned and then threw the originals away.
  • The transcription of my grandparents' interviews I did with them. This one really pains me. I still have the audio (and I am so grateful that I do!) from when I interviewed them a couple times a while ago, but I transcribed their audio recordings (about 2 1/2 hours of interviews) at the end of last year. It's a time-consuming process, and it took me months to get it done. And I was so happy when I finally had the full transcript. And now all that work - gone. I can recreate it, because I still have the audio, and I will - but the work. It's so much work. And it will take me months to do it again.
We lost some other things too, various documents and some more pictures and things. I am so glad, though, that most of our pictures and videos were uploaded to the internet (I'm sure that was a prompting), and that we had the hard drive from last year that had the majority of the rest of our stuff.

Anyway, that's the main reason I haven't posted anything this month or last month. Most of our pictures from March are gone, and I've been spending a lot of time recovering and sorting through the rest of our data. Now that you know what happened, I'll get back to the regularly scheduled programming soon. :)

Monday, March 21, 2016


Last week I was working on a sewing project in my room (with my door closed because it involved feather pillows and I didn't want the girls to get into it and make a mess - ha) when Ellie yelled that Zelda was making a mess in the kitchen. I told her I would come in a moment, and kept working.

During the next five minutes I could hear lots of giggling and running up and down the hallway. When I finally opened my door, I knew it was going to be a bad one - there were white footprints everywhere. In the hallway, in the other bedrooms, in the family room - everywhere. I followed the main trail of white footprints to the kitchen.

When I turned the corner I saw Zelda there, standing in a pile of cornstarch, completely covered from head to toes. Her normally dark hair was white. She proudly showed me how she had dumped out three boxes of cornstarch, and how every surface in the surrounding rooms was covered in a fine layer of white dust.

It took us the whole rest of the day to clean up. (Ellie helped me. Zelda took a bath and a nap.)

Friday, March 11, 2016

January and February

Okay, so catching up with what's been going on with us for the last two months:
  • Jason did a rotation in family practice last month and today is the last day of his rotation in surgery. He got sprayed in the face with blood last week.
  • Zelda painted:

 Zelda wanted me to take a picture of the paint on her fingers:

Another time:

  • We had an ice storm in January. It blew in on a Friday and took several days to melt. Luckily, Jason's work was canceled that Friday (the whole state pretty much shut down) and church was canceled on Sunday, so we didn't have to venture on the icy roads. I know people from the west think it's funny the whole state shuts down over "a little snow," but it's not the snow that's the problem - it's the ice. Imagine every road in your whole state was covered in black ice. Then imagine trying to drive anywhere. Yeah. The girls loved it, obviously. They said that "Elsa had come."
Frost the day before: 

Ellie going out to harvest ice from the deck:

One blade of grass:

  • We got a dog! Her name is Maggie (although Ellie will still occasionally insist that it's "Vanilla" - the name Ellie wanted to use). We got her from Love Mutts Rescue in Raleigh. They'll be a post on her tomorrow.
  • My mom came to visit at the end of January. She stayed for a weekend and the girls had such a fun time playing with her. 

Ellie showing that the tower was taller than her:

Ellie wanted to show the sticker on the bottom of this block:

  • We had a tornado warning two weeks ago. There was a big storm system that came up from the south and right across our area. We had a tornado watch for most of last Wednesday, and a tornado warning for several hours in the afternoon. We knew we were going to have a big storm that day, and I told the girls in the morning. Ellie wanted to watch the Daniel Tiger storm episode to prepare, so we did, and then she wanted to make a storm plan just like him. She was satisfied once we had collected a couple water bottles, a box of bandaids, and some flashlights and put them all together. Then she felt ready and pretty much forgot about the storm. We had wind and some moments of intense rain, but luckily we missed most of the bad part of the storm. I was staring out the windows all afternoon watching for signs of tornadoes, though. I was really relieved when all the storm clouds finally passed us by (at about 7 that night.)
  • I read "The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up" by Marie Kondo, and it was awesome. In a nutshell, she says to only keep the things that "spark joy" in you. It was different from a lot of other decluttering books I read, because it focused on feelings rather than function. And the techniques talked about in the book really help you feel gratitude for what you have. So, I've been going through our whole house for the last month and getting rid of tons. (Another thing the book emphasizes is decluttering by category, rather than by room. For example, do all clothes first, then books, then office/craft supplies, etc.) It's been awesome. Sooo many big bags full of stuff have left our house - either donated, or to friends, or trashed. Some things we've sold on Amazon, and I have a couple more I need to list there and on Craigslist. Everything left in our house really does bring me more joy than before. I highly recommend the book to anyone interested.
  •  It rained:
  • And these pictures don't fit into any particular category:

 Going camping:

 Playing in their "rocketship":


 Making faces:

 Watching a show:


 Being fabulous: