Monday, December 22, 2008

ALWAYS Back Up Your Pictures - PLEASE!

Ok, Public Service Reminder - BACK UP YOUR DIGITAL PICTURES! And videos, if you have them.

Sure, music and movies and games suck to lose. But let me tell you - this hurts so very very bad.

We just lost nearly 5 years of photos. My second son's first smile. His first tooth. My first son's first day of school. First Christmases, new home, Easters, graduations from karate, Kindergarten, you name it - gone in an instant. It's as if we've had a fire, and all of our photos are gone. This is just so horrifically painful. And there's a few people we can blame.

First and foremost, I blame myself. I am always admonishing people to back up files. And I normally do burn pictures to CDs. Except that for the past 2 years, we've backed up photos onto 2 other computers, instead of CDs. Well, we thought we had. But, oops, no - the files we thought were there - AREN'T! And the CDs I had to meticulously burned prior to that, labeled and filed - missing. Can't find a singled one. We don't know if they got thrown out, or they're just lost. I had them last year, I used them, in fact. But they're not there now. Not when I need them to ease some of the pain.

I also blame my husband. He is a computer whiz. He builds them, fixes them, heals them. He's even found lost, thought long gone, files for OTHER families! Other moms who thought those precious firsts were never to be found again - crying - have thanked him profusely. But he can't do that for me, somehow. And he built the new server for us, a supposedly fail-safe place to store all our files. It was supposed to back itself up. It was supposed to never, ever fail. But it did. Brand new, supposedly fully functional, and suddenly, the new drives are no longer working. We finally got them to talk to the motherboard again, and yet, they won't allow the files to be retrieved. It's heartbreaking, knowing the files are there, and yet, beyond reach.

And finally, I blame Seagate. They made these drives. They made this supposed fail-safe system. This self-back-up system. They claimed to have a warranty. And then they have the complete audacity to want to charge $10,000 to get these files off these drives. That is the price of a CAR. They're insane. It is THEIR fault. We followed their instructions, their rules of installation and operation, and THEIR drives were faulty. And their backup system FAILED. This was 100% the fault of their drives. And yet, we're to pay this insane amount to get all these precious memories back? Insanity.

We're hoping to run photo recovery programs and system scans to recover files off my laptop, as well as the hard drives on which we used to have the photos stored. I'm sure we won't find everything. There is no way to even know, as I'm sure my memory of every picture we've taken since buying our first digital camera in March of 2004 is faulty. I'll be thankful for every single one we find, that's for sure. And I'm thankful for the family web site I have, where I haven't deleted any of the uploaded photos. I'll also be tearing apart the house to find those lost CDs, to at least have the pictures up to 2006.

I will also be investing in an external drive for backing up pictures in the future, because I am not trusting any company's claims ever again. There is no such thing as fail safe. So I'll say to everyone - back up your pictures NOW, because losing everything is horrible. You can replace the movies, you can replace the music. But the pictures - they can never be replaced. Sure, I can get pictures of my kids at every age, even every holiday, from my mother. But they won't be the same as those precious favorites I've taken. They won't be the silly family shots we all have of the sweet time we all spend alone. It will not be the same. And for that, I am so very, very angry and hurt. Please don't let it happen to you!

Friday, December 12, 2008

Wish I Didn't Know Tasted Like Heaven....

Yup, I have another food item to add to the list of "Things I Wish I'd Never Tasted." We all have that list. The one where people tell you, Oh, you MUST try such-and-such. And you just know it would be dangerous to try it, because if it's as good as they say, you know you're going to want one every week. Or day. Or hour. Or, heck, you're going to find yourself face down in a pile of said food, stuffed to the gills, thoroughly embarrassed but still in hog heaven.

I have quite of few items on my list. Chocolate covered potato chips. Rolo pretzel goodies another (a treat I only make at Christmas). I added yet another one this week. Starbucks' Salted Caramel Signature Hot Chocolate. Oh. My. GAWD. Yeah, it's that good. The guy who told my husband about it said in the email subject line, simply, "Oh mama!" Yeah, he's right.

Seriously, I'm not a huge Starbucks coffee fan, but I like their specialty drinks. Blend it, put whipped cream on it, sure, I'll drink it. But nothing, and I mean nothing touches THIS drink.

When I first heard of it, I though, eh, salted? I mean, really? Aren't we taking the sweet-and-salty thing a tad too far? NO, sweet holy chocolate gods, we are NOT. Imagine creamy chocolate and silky caramel on the bestest whipped cream ever. And then top it with salty peanuts. Yeah - there. YUMMY. It was like drinking an ice cream sundae. Or drinking a really, really good Turtle candy.

So yeah - I suggest that if you're trying to lose weight, you steer clear. But if you're working on adding a few pounds, hey - have at it. Or if you like to live on the dangerous side. But whatever you do, do NOT, I repeat - DO NOT, look up the caloric content. You might faint.

I might try to duplicate this one at home....mmmm.....drooooool.....

Monday, December 8, 2008

We Aren't the Only Sentimental Ones

Over the weekend, I learned that I'm not the only sentimental one in the house. I'm the only female in the house. I'm the only one who wears pink, I'm the only one who likes Barbies, and I'm the only one who likes pedicures, but I'm not the only one who gets emotional over holiday memories!

Friday night was hubby's office holiday party, at the Double Tree Hotel Oak Brook, so we were spending the night at the hotel. The boys were getting a nice treat - sleepover at Grandma's house! All was ready, bags packed, dress in the car, etc, and I was dropping off my second grade son at school when it happened. He stopped dead and looked up at me.


Uh oh, now what??? He all of the sudden realized that he wasn't going to be home tonight. Which was bad for two reasons. First, and most important, was the advent calendar I put together. I found an amazing little wreath of round boxes that I filled with good candy (instead of the pre-filled ones that have the crap-tastic chocolate - why waste the calories, am I right?) and we open it for dessert every night. I told him either we would just get to have double the chocolate on Saturday, or maybe Grandma would take him by the house on the way home from school to get it, and yes he and his brother could double up and have all 4 pieces. The other problem was the Elf on the Shelf. How would he know to leave and come back if no one is home? Again, easily explained - magic.

But these weren't even the kickers for the weekend. We were at breakfast the next morning, feeling better after our night of, ahem, indulgence - with a little help from some strong coffee, and of course, bacon, when hubby's cell rings. It's Mom - um, did we remember today is St. Nicholas Day?


TRIPLE DOH!! mother always put something in our stockings on December 6th in honor of St. Nicholas Day. So I continued the tradition. And with no help from ANYONE, our 7 and a half year old remembered out of the blue all about it, and asked if Grandma could take him home to see if there was something in his stocking!!!!!!


Thankfully, Mom is nothing if not a good liar....she proceeded to tell him that St. Nicholas didn't know that the kids were with her, and had thought they were with us at the hotel so he left the gifts with us - so WE had the presents....good cover, Ma!!!

So scramble though we had to, we went and got those little gifts, because it was just so dang adorable that he remembered it. He remembered that this was something we did each year.

At least someone in our family does!

It warms my heart that the little things I do each day during the holiday season make such a difference to my boys. They're such little loves, but sometimes they're such guys. It's nice to be reminded that they do remember and care about the things we do as a family, and that the traditions we do year to year are treasured by them, and might become traditions they do with their own kids.

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