In the wee hours of Friday morning I found myself ransacking the house like a mad woman. I was throwing open closet doors, heaving out boxes of stuff, rifling through filing cabinets in search of the only thing that might have a chance at saving my dying hard drive: the OS disk.
I was frantic. My laptop sat there looking forlorn, a gray screen with a flickering question mark on a lonely file folder.
Each blink of the question mark fired a new worry into my head. Why didn’t I make a recent back up? Would I find the disk in time to save my hard drive? If I found the disk would it even work? Where could that disk be??? Aha! There it was next to my video camera at the bottom of a box of miscellaneous computer stuff on the floor of the office closet. I’d been looking for that video camera for years, but I didn’t have time for it now. I grabbed the video camera and the disk and shoved the disk into my sick MacBook. I followed the steps I’d watched so carefully in a YouTube video made by some angel of a man who somehow knew I’d find myself in a rescue mission at 1am.
Sadly, no matter how many times I tried, and believe me I tried scads of times, my hard drive was too sick to even respond to the disk. My fingers flew through Google looking for another answer.
Aha! Take the hard drive out and let it cool off. Hmmm, now if I only knew where the hard drive was… A quick trip over to YouTube had some other angelic man showing me how to remove my hard drive.
I hurried out to the garage to get the teensy tiny screwdriver set my husband keeps in his car. Where was it? I felt the tears coming in a big lump bobbing in my throat. By this time my rescue attempt had gone on for hours and I was losing hope. Where was that darn screwdriver set? I searched the car top to bottom. Nothing. I could just picture my all my saved photos and documents bursting into flames. I’m pretty sure they don’t really do that, but at 1:30 am, things start to get a little uncivilized in my brain.
I called Terry, who was working out of town, and between tears I explained my situation and that I needed that little screwdriver immediately or the world was going to implode! Calmly, he directed me to the screwdriver set located in a drawer in the workbench in our garage. Silly man, putting tools away where they actually belong.
Screwdriver in hand, I removed my hard drive to let it cool overnight. I posted a desperate message on FaceBook looking for any last-ditch genius solutions or any suggestions of places to take my hard drive for an autopsy. Then I staggered into bed where I dreamed that all the people in my photos on my computer were dismantling the novel I’d written one word at a time, carry off the words until all the people and all 50,000 odd words were gone and the only thing left was a giant question mark folder.
The next morning I put the hard drive back in only to have that question mark folder stare back at me. My FaceBook friends had come through with the names of 2 computer places known for resurrecting hard drives from the dead. I took my sad computer to both places and I only cried a little bit when they couldn’t revive it long enough to retrieve anything. I cried a little more as I explained to them that I’d only backed up some of the photos from my trip with my grandmother and that those were what I wanted most. And it would also be nice to get back the novel I’d foolishly not backed up. Both computer places were so kind to me, not even charging me labor for the hours they spent trying with no success to recover my things. I left the second place with a new hard drive humming away in my MacBook.
Back at home I started the tedious process of reinstalling software. This involved hitting the enter key lots of times and then waiting and then waiting some more. While I waited for this new hard drive to make magic happen inside of my old computer, I picked up the video camera I’d stumbled across while ransacking my house earlier that morning. I plugged the camera into the wall setting it on the carpet near the outlet. I crossed my fingers that the camera somehow still had the footage I’d recorded a couple of years ago.
I pushed play and the living room filled up with my Grandmother’s voice as she recounted stories of her life. I laid down on the carpet my face inches from her face on the tiny screen and I cried. It was so good to hear her voice, to hear her laugh again, to see her when she was healthy. I watched every second of the footage, even the bloopers I promised her I’d edit out later. Suddenly losing some photos of our trip didn’t seem so bad now.
My computer started to make happy beeping noises as it came to life again. I jumped online to check my email and then remembered that last November when I was frantically hammering out my novel, I’d emailed myself a copy just in case. In a couple of clicks I was staring at it in all it’s horrible rough draft splendor. I let out a little yelp of glee!
So yesterday and today I’m celebrating that sometimes, not always but sometimes, what is lost can be found again. And sometimes in looking for what it lost, something even greater is discovered.