Coming full circle

It’s early Saturday morning, which means my vacation is rapidly coming to a close.  By this time tomorrow I will be tucked into my bed, snuggled under the covers and anticipating (or dreading) going back to work.  I’ve purposefully stayed away from my place of employment so as not to interrupt the flow of work (hopefully) happening in my absence.  I expect things haven’t been going completely hunky-dory.  Certainly they didn’t the last time I went on vacation, and despite my best efforts to be sure my relief had all the tools he needed to get the work done, I expect it’s going to be a wreck when I go back on Sunday.

Needless to say, I haven’t missed being at work all that much.  I do get four weeks of vacation per year and as I’ve said many (many!) times, I’d be content taking two weeks of vacation and just getting paid for the other two weeks.  But my employer prefers that their employees take all of their alloted vacation.  Basically ‘Use it or lose it‘.  So I use it.

This week has not been so much sitting on my ponderous butt, watching TV.  It just so happened that my wife and I had scheduled four medical appointments, and we were on the go for most of the days that I was off.  Monday and Wednesday were the only exceptions, but Wednesday was gobbled up by an emergency dental appointment due to the fact that my wife slightly broke one of her teeth.  So that needed to be attended to.  And was.

Even though I spent some time helping a friend furnish her new apartment, I didn’t necessarily neglect my own domicile.  I ordered 4 large plastic storage boxes from Amazon (actually probably larger than I needed) and have been sorting through some things that I haven’t had use of in several years, that need to be secreted away before something nefarious happens to them.  I have to say I’d be pretty devastated if something did happen to them, and certainly I wouldn’t forgive myself easily.  If at all.  Once I have that attended to, I think I’ll breathe a sigh of relief.  That’s been a long time in coming to get accomplished.  At least when I have need of them again, I’ll know where they are.  I hope.

Anyway, it’s back to work tomorrow.  Only one more week of vacation to take for this fiscal year, then I’ll get another four weeks to agonize over on April 11.  Never ends, does it?

Not really missing my email

The desktop computer is for the most part my gateway to the Internet.  It has all the programs I’m used to using on a daily basis, connects to the router, the printer and so on, and it has a fairly large storage drive (6TB) as well as a smaller 2 TB drive for the operating system and other files that don’t need to be on the larger drive.  Too, it contains my email program (Thunderbird) which interconnects with my list of email addresses (I have a few) and stores them without any muss or fuss.

Although with the recent inability to get it to run reliably, I’ve been forced to use my old Thinkpad instead.  It’s a workhorse, but has limited abilities compared to the desktop.  One thing I never bothered to install on it was an email program.  I prefer to keep my emails in one place, other than willy-nilly all over and not somewhat organized.  If the problems with the desktop are really problematic, I may have to adjust that plan, since I can’t be without email for too much longer.  I can access most of my email from the web of course, but that’s a plodding way to get to my mail.  I much rather prefer having one program that can access them all, store and separate them into specific folders, like Thunderbird can do and has done since I first installed it.

Over the last week that the desktop has been down, I’ve been noticing that I’m not spending as much time on the computer, or the couch.  I’ve been doing other things when I get home from work, spending time outside with my wife in the backyard, tinkering in the garage with the roto-tiller (it’s coming together, should be done in a day or so barring any sort of further disaster) and looking around for other things to do.  So all in all, the breakdown of the computer hasn’t been a horrible thing, it’s actually forced me to do things outside of my routine, and I’ve been ok with it.  Booting up the Thinkpad takes time, it doesn’t have a very speedy processor, so from the time I push the power button to the time I can actively do anything is probably 5-6 minutes.  Sometimes more.  I have another laptop that’s a bit speedier, but that one is awaiting a hard drive upgrade.

When I first decided to upgrade the drive on that one, I went with a 2TB drive, (it originally came with a small 100 GB drive) but I didn’t take into account that the larger size drive with manual platters was going to make it as slow as molasses.  If I’d bothered to go with a SSD (Solid State Drive), without any moving parts, it would have been better.  But SSD drives are like big flash drives, and they cost a bit more. So I went the cheap-o route and paid the price.  Soon after I purchased a 1 TB SSD for it and it’s now awaiting me to open the case and install it.  More computer work to do.

This afternoon after finishing work I thought about trying to use Outlook for a stopgap measure in getting my email.  Except, Outlook doesn’t play nice with POP3 servers.  Or IMAP ones for that matter.  It has a pre-set method for getting to the servers, and it presumes the domain that you give is the same one that contains the email servers.  Which in my case isn’t the way it works.  Consequently, Outlook isn’t going to be sufficient.  I’ll probably have to go with a stripped down version of Thunderbird, and leave the emails on the server instead of downloading them to the laptop and taking up valuable space.  I do have an auxiliary ‘thumbdrive’ USB dongle attached to the laptop, that contains a lot of files and folders I use on the desktop; it’s easily transportable and works well in a pinch.  But even its 120 gigs is getting filled up.

Just one more conundrum in a month filled with them.

Lost and Found

When you have a good amount of ‘stuff’, it’s easy to lose things.  Then months (or years) later they’re ‘found’ again when either you or your spouse/partner/SO decides it’s time to do some sorting/cleaning and stumbles upon them.

Sunday afternoon as I returned home from work, there was a shoebox on the table of the ‘addition’, the room of the house where coincidentally we seem to spend the majority of our time.  It’s the room that’s off the kitchen, where we eat our meals, watch television (the only tv in the house that’s connected to the cable box) and both of our main computers are.  Sometime in the history of the house (probably the 1950s or early 60s based on both the construction and design choices near as we can tell) this portion was ‘tacked on’ but coincidentally it wasn’t added to the heating system of the house.  It’s the only portion of the house that has insulation in the walls, though it also quirkily has a door to the outside, a stairway to the basement, and another door to the garage.  Probably the main reason we use the room so much is that it has two sizeable bay windows that point to the north and west, and it’s comfortable.  How it ended up not being a place that has a couch, an easy chair and some other function I’m not entirely sure, but it’s been this way for the past 20 years for us.

But of course, that’s not the point of this post, even though I tend to go off on tangents.

The shoebox that was on the dining table, that’s supposed to be the focus of all this, so let’s get back to it, shall we?  After going car shopping Sunday afternoon upon my return from work, I happened to notice it, and being curious, opened it to see what was inside.  Lo and behold, a treasure trove!  Pawing through the contents, I found a bundled CAT5 cable that had been put away some time ago, probably having been shipped with some doodad that required access to either my wife’s computer, or mine.  We have several of these laying about the house, they’re probably 3 ft long, and they don’t have homes.  In another part of the house somewhere there’s a box that has a 200 foot CAT5 cable, when I had a plan to relocate the computers to another elsewhere, so that we could make better use of the portions of the house that are heated in the wintertime, and save money by not using this room so much.  At least that was the plan.  Since the computers are still here, you can tell I didn’t actually DO it yet.  But I’m at least thinking about it.  So, points?

Another item that I discovered was an enclosure that has SONY emblazoned on it.  What could it be?  Why it’s a camera!  Not just any camera mind you, but a SONY Cyber-Shot that I don’t even remember buying, let alone getting an enclosure for.  I looked it up on the ‘Net and it’s about 11 years old.  Unfortunately I can’t turn it on, as it uses a Li-on block battery instead of AA or AAA batts.  It does have 2 memory cards with it, but they’re not the current ‘style’, they’re larger than SD cards.  But they do have adaptors, which I just discovered don’t work with my computer’s multi-memory card reader.  Huh.  Looks like a little more research is going to be in order to get to figure this one out.  Before going to bed, I remembered to look up a picture to see what sort of charger it used, and I remember vaguely the type, so I know what to look for when sorting through my cables and charger boxes upstairs.  I know I’ve seen the type before, just have to relocate it again.  So it will live again!  Muahahaha!  Ahem.

The last two items were ones that I remember having, but for whatever reason were set aside in that box for safe keeping.  One is an ergonomic Logitech computer mouse, the other is a OneTouch™ meter for checking blood sugar.  It has a vial of test strips, that expired in 2012.  So that gives me a time frame for when the box was set aside.  Either late 2011 or early 2012.  7 or 8 years ago.  Which makes sense when you consider how we put things aside around here.  Probably someone was coming to visit, we had things on one table or another and piled them in the box, intending to bring them back out when the visit was over and (as is the case around here a lot of the time) didn’t.  It got lost to the history of this place, and then found when someone got ambitious.

Believe me when I say there are many more boxes of this type hanging around the house.  As I get older, I’m more inclined to seek them out and see what’s inside.  I’ve been thinking more about it lately, in that we have a great deal of stuff, and generally don’t make use of it.  Matter of fact, both my wife and I have storage bins that we pay monthly fees for that are chock full of items from each of our respective parents’ houses, and haven’t made use of, or gone through in 20-30 years now.  We just keep them for sentimental reasons.  So long as we continue to pay the monthly fees, they’re safe.  Once we don’t, well people make tv shows about the adventures of people who buy abandoned storage units.  I don’t think I want my items exposed on television.  So perhaps it’s best that I continue to pay the fee.  Though it might be a good idea one day to go through my items and pare things down a bit.  So someone else doesn’t have to.  Someday.