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Thursday, February 11, 2016

So Happy to Feel Like an Idiot!

I experienced one of the most heart-stopping, frightening moments of my life this week. It wasn't fun, and it still isn't funny, although I'm sure it will be when I look back on it from a greater distance.

I was having trouble with my wireless mouse. Hubby messed with the thing forever, and finally decided the switch was bad. We threw it away and he bought me another one. Knowing it was going the route of the circular file, I removed the little drive from my laptop in preparation for throwing it out. For some reason, I didn't immediately toss it.

Sometime later, I went to pull up my current work-in-progress -- a manuscript in which I'd already written close to 20,000 words. Nothing. It was gone. Could not be found anywhere.

I was dumbfounded. I've never had any problem out of that drive, and I've been using it for close to five years. That's incredible quality. So I went through the process of making sure it was safe to remove the device from my system and pulled it out...only to have the thing literally fall apart in my hands. I was left with nothing but itsy bitsy pieces.

Needless to say, I nearly had a heart attack. Not only was my current, unfinished manuscript on that device, but also all my other manuscripts; all of my design projects, including bookmarks, book covers, postcards - all the things I design for other people; all my photos. Everything was gone. Everything. As a general rule, I don't save anything to my laptop, and boy was I wishing I had in that moment.

I was devastated, and absolutely certain I was up a creek without a paddle. WHY hadn't I backed up that drive? I know better than to have all of that stuff solely in one location. I'd been telling myself to back it up, but kept putting it off. (I'm the world's most skilled procrastinator.) This is where that dubious talent for putting things off had gotten me.

I searched online and discovered that sometimes the data from a thumb drive can be recovered...but it was likely to cost about $200 - which I didn't have. So I started looking locally, and finally found a tech guy who said many times he could recover the data from a broken thumb drive. I'm not sure an hour way is really considered local, but I was willing to make the drive and give it a try. Half of my life was wrapped up in those little broken pieces of technology. I could barely take my eyes off of them, dumbfounded to find all my work destroyed along with them.

So hubby and I went to Longview and found LiamTek. Liam greeted us as we walked in, and then stood across the counter while I unwrapped the paper towel in which I'd wrapped all those pieces for the trip. I'd also brought along the now-defunct wireless drive, thinking he might be able to use some of the parts from it to help him put the other one together long enough to perform a miracle.

Liam took one quick glance at the guts of my broken thumb drive and said, "First of all, this isn't a thumb drive."

Huh?  I'd been using that thing for nigh onto five years. It was  a thumb drive. "What is it then?"

He grinned. "It's a wireless."

That's my thumb drive on the left,
and my NEW mouse drive on the
right, just to provide a similar
visual to what I had on my hands.
OK, so they're not really identical.
But I didn't exactly take them out
every day and play with them...they
stayed in my USB ports all the time. And,
in my defense, my eyes are NOT getting
any sharper with age.  The two devices
looked pretty much the same to me!
I still didn't get it. "What do you mean, a wireless?"

"Like maybe for a wireless mouse. See..." He pointed at a tiny sliver on the miniature board. "That's an antenna."

I was dumbfounded...for about half a second. Then the light shone in my dead brain, and hope swelled like an incoming ocean wave.

I picked up the other drive - the one I'd been going to throw away because it drove the mouse that no longer worked. "Then this..."

He nodded. "Yeah. That's a thumb drive."

At my request, he inserted the drive into his computer, and sure enough...all my files popped right up.

"Oh, my gosh - I feel so stupid!" I could barely stand up. Relief had drained my legs of strength.

Liam grinned. "It's a good way to feel stupid."

He was right. I'd prayed every time I awakened during the night, and all the way to Longview. I'm sure God was wiping tears of laughter.

As I turned to go, the young man gave me some good advice. "Get that thing backed up. They're here one minute and gone the next."

I did - the moment I got home.

I will not forget LiamTek next time I have a computer problem.

And I don't think I have ever been, or ever will be again, so utterly HAPPY to feel like an idiot!

1 comment:

  1. Loved this story. I've had similar experiences, but you had better results. I pay Carbonite now to back up my files, and I also try to remember to back up with the USB little gadget. We get busy and forget. I haven't had to use Carbonite to restore my files, but I feel it a worthwhile investment. So happy it turned out well.