First, let me start off with a Public Service Announcement for all my LJ friends--especially my LJ writer friends. If you have important documents and photos on your computer, back them up immediately. AND make sure that your backup method did not fail. Learn from my mistake.
I have been experiencing a two-week-long streak of very bad luck. It started when I got back from a road trip to Illinois, and immediately was confronted with a complete power outage. Okay, that happens. I didn't think much about it, as I tried to unpack in the dark, with sweat running down my face due to no air-conditioning. I'd do my post-trip laundry the next day, when the power came back on.
I got back late on a Friday night. On Saturday night, I got a (slightly garbled) message on my cell phone's answering machine from my mom, who lives two States away from me, saying that she had serious cellulitis with a high fever, and was being admitted to the hospital. I even thought I caught the word "amputation." I tried calling her back immediately, but there was no answer. She hadn't said what hospital was admitting her, or given any other specifics. I played her message back over and over, trying to catch exactly what she was saying. I looked up "cellulitis" via Google, and saw that it could be life-threatening. I was now in fight-or-flight mode. Should I try to catch a flight to Houston? What if I couldn't figure out what hospital she was in, once I got there?
Finally, after some sleuthing, I determined which hospital she was in, and called. She was asleep, but her nurse tried to reassure me, saying that she was on an IV of antibiotics.
The next day, my mom left a message on my cell phone, telling me not to call the hospital again, as it bothered the staff, and answering the phone was hard on them.
Well, by then, I had other problems. Torrential rainstorms that hit our city caused not only our basement, but also our kitchen
, to flood! The basement flooded through the foundation, and one other area. Water poured from the kitchen ceiling. I happen to be desperately allergic to mold, so clean-up was horrible. I lost several precious mementos, and a lot of documents.
Next, it was my car's turn to give me grief. I not only managed to break the key that unlocks the car doors (it fell out of my hand while I was slamming the car's trunk, and got totally warped), but the "Service Engine Soon" light came on, and the car began chugging and gasping as if it could barely make it while trying to go up hills. By the time it would get to the top of each hill, the poor car (and I
!) would be practically crying.
Well, they say that bad things happen in threes, and I'd already hit Bad Luck #4, so I thought the bad stuff was all behind me. But the worst thing ever happened that Thursday, when one of my best friends ever died suddenly and unexpectedly (in the prime of life) of liver cancer, just three weeks after being diagnosed.
I was consumed with grief, barely able to get through the day without crying, when I turned my computer (MacBook) on that Saturday, to start working on two assignments that were due by Monday. And I got the gray screen with the flashing Question Mark--the grim, gray screen of Death. My hard drive had died, taking all my documents and photos with it.
Had I backed up three years of (writing) work and photos? I thought I had. But apparently every night at 6 p.m. when my scheduled MobileMe BackUp took place, nothing was actually being backed up. I hadn't set the settings correctly, I guess.
Losing all that work should have been the last straw. But there were other things--an ant invasion that made my kitchen cabinets look like a scene from a sci-fi movie (I even had to throw away my chocolate
!), and a broken air-conditioner.
Financially, things are very tight, so a lot of these problems have not been resolved. But things have gotten better. My MacBook was still under warranty (and, apparently, the hard drive dying suddenly is a known issue), so a local repair shop exchanged my dead 80GB HD for a brand-new 160 GB HD for free. But they weren't able to retrieve my data.
My mom is out of the hospital, and doing better, and I can once again communicate with her by phone.
My friend's Celebration of Life party after his funeral was particularly moving, and helped me a lot to realize that he's in a better place.
My neighbors loaned me a couple of wooden clothes racks, so I've been putting things that I think might be salvageable (from the basement and kitchen floods) out in the sun to dry.
And the local repair shop sent my dead HD to DriveSavers to see if they could get back any of my data. A rep called me a few days ago and quoted an astronomical figure for getting the data back, IF any of it turns out to be recoverable. Not too many writers like me would have that kind of money. So I'm probably looking at a Total Loss.
So now I'm asking YOU, my LJ friends, to please back up! Don't wait. My daughter's HD died just a few days before mine, and she, too, lost all her data. I had planned to back my stuff up that very day that my HD failed.
I did get some work done before the HD crashed: Parts One
, and Three
of the 150th Anniversary of the Pony Express in St. Joseph, Missouri; Snoopy's Hot Summer Lights
at Worlds of Fun; and the review of Eating Raoul The Musical.
I did a review of Cups
after the HD crashed. One of my friends took me out to the play and to have a glass of wine and some fish and chips at an Irish pub. It was so nice of her to try to cheer me up, but (after hearing my recent history of bad luck) she kept asking me, "Are you sure I should be riding in the same car with you? Is it safe? What if a meteor hits my car?" ::sigh::
So, what are your best methods for backing up your stuff? I want to make sure I never make such a horrible mistake again. And, here's hoping the coming days of summer are lucky for everybody!