Nothing is Certain but (Computer) Death and (Overdue) Taxes
I’m blogging to you from the arse end of a crappy computer, and the exhausted end of “nervous prostration.”
It was magnificent in its day: 285GB on the hard drive; a recovery drive with another 12. It was fully loaded with Acrobat Writer and the full version of Photoshop as well as all the latest Microsoft Office suite items.
And photos. I have 67 gb in photos alone, not to mention video and tons of scanned documents from all my research.
But its day is done.
I was finally on the homestretch today to print and mail our 2011 taxes.
Yes, ‘11, as in I have struggled for the last year to find all our receipts and records from different states and our two student info and actually put together something coherent to send to our tax preparer to put together in official form.
And yes, ‘11 as in we are up crap creek because the extension only lasted until last October.
This is the consequence of a cluttered mind and cluttered house.
But the nervous breakdown I mentioned above (the “prostration” in reference to the campy “female troubles” article I referenced yesterday) had to do with losing the entire workbook of 2011 taxes that I spent the last year putting together. It contained scanned receipts and documents, all the bank statements and card statements and everything I referenced to create the workbook.
As I was trying to print it all out, the computer informed me there was not enough memory to perform the print functions. I had a minor conniption, whacked my keyboard, and POOF!…my 2011 taxes folder was empty of all files, documents, worksheets.
And I hadn’t backed them up!
Because backing up itself has become a painful task. My computer is so full that it is struggling to retain space to just perform basic functions. If molasses had an even slower cousin (tar, maybe?) my computer is that slow.
After a long panicked time of searching deleted folders and everything on the “C” drive, with nothing showing up, I had a cursing fit that would have sent Andrew Dice Clay running to his mother and pooping his tighty whiteys, I just curled in fetal position next to my computer, mirroring its obvious shutdown. The screen blinked at me. “No documents” displayed in my 2011 Taxes folder, which had minutes ago been brimmed with all those documents and workbooks. No backups. Nothing.
“No documents” the folder scolded me, and I imagined it ending with “and whose fault is it really, you non-backing-up, clutter-minded, dumbass?”
Then, at the bottom of my self-beratement, I looked up to see one file appear in the folder. It no longer showed empty. It was followed shortly by another, then another, and slowly the entire folder filled with all its original contents.
Apparently molasses and tar have an even slower, more stubborn cousin hidden somewhere inside my laptop.
I hurried and emailed myself the most critical files in case of another episode, then printed them out, having to close out and re-open from time to time, running my CCleaner in between to keep space open. Kurt offered to run them to the post office, making it as the last customer before they locked the doors.
My computer is a nightmare.
I can’t upload photos to Snapfish because I have no memory to view the photos. I have to continually shuffle things from my harddrive to an external drive to free up a tiny amount of space to do a week’s worth of blogs, then do it all again.
And of course it’s my fault. It’s not the computer’s fault that I’ve inundated it with multiple tasks and clogged its memory by never uploading and printing the high resolution photos or scanned documents from research.
It’s the clutter in my mind and house that led to clogging my computer and not having my 2011 taxes mailed until today, and it’s my usual prioritization. I overload myself with things I think will make other people happy, or things I think are the “right” things to do, never allowing myself time to stop after a trip and organize receipts, or put everything back in its proper place, because I feel an obligation to get started on a new task, to always be doing and never allowing that time at the back end of anything to do the cleanup, the sorting, the uploading, the printing or the gathering of receipts, or memories, or paperwork or gift-giving, so that literally every nook and cranny of the house, of the computer, of my mind, are filled with things needing given away, properly organized or simply “closed out.”
This actually should be a bit of “Manuscript Monday” since the insight is relevant to what I’m working on.
It is time for a new laptop, but I think it’s also time for a new approach to time management. I am trying to focus on the reward of printed photos in an album, and allowing myself to think of a day or two after each trip being an obligation to my own household, not a luxury or busywork.
I’m curious, readers…how do you manage the deluge of photos and documents and digital everything these days? Do you print as often as you would like? Or as often as you should? Do you have these issues of clogging up your hard drive and backup drives and never putting things on paper anymore?
I wonder what they will find of us, a few generations from now. As file types change and technology is outdated several times in a single generation, will descendants be able to find these digital footprints we leave behind as easily as we can find paper trails of our own ancestors?
Okay, enough rumination and time for me to get back to preparing for this Boston Conference and canceling obligations for the first couple days after I return. 😉
P.S. In case you missed it, I’m giving a way a SIGNED, HARDCOVER of The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot. It’s easy to enter, and so far there aren’t many entries! Click this link to enter. Deadline is Tuesday!