Friday, October 9, 2015

Keeping those names and numbers safe and handy

I'm a little terrified of my computer. 

my computer

It isn't the actual box on my desk that worries me as much as the information that is stored in its memory. Oh, I have the usual backup, but I can't help but wonder if that is enough. 

Last month, my husband John attempted to download the new Windows 10 operating system on his computer. He had a bugger of a time with it, having to spend hours on the phone with tech support. After days of back and forth and long conversations punctuated by longer waiting periods, he finally got his computer up and running. He loved Windows 10 and was thrilled to finally have the headaches behind him. 

It worked flawlessly until one morning when he turned it on. It refused to boot.
my address book 1
He and I tried everything we could think of, including a clean Windows 7 installation, reformatting the hard drive, etc. Nothing worked. Windows tech people told him they could fix it for $99. He hung up on them. 

His computer was strictly personal, which means he lost all his email, photographs, favorite places and bookmarks, software, games, some which he actually paid for, all his passwords, and most of his sanity. He backed up the system, but it didn't work. How many times have we all backed up our computer, with the question in the back of our minds, is this going to fail when I need it the most? Well, he asked that question and sadly, got the answer. Yes, it failed. So, at a time, when we really couldn't afford it, he got a new computer. 

Since then, I've been in better-be-safe-than-sorry mode. With so much information being stored on home computers, how often do we consider the what-ifs? 

I always think of the what-ifs. That is why this week I bought a new address book into which I can write all of the addresses and phone numbers that are stored on my home computer.

my address book 2This back story about John's computer failure isn't the only or even the most important reason I wanted a new address book. Truth is, I just wanted one. I have for some time. John's computer failure was the catalyst that pushed me into acting on it. 

As I set out to buy an address book, I realized how that wasn't as easy these days as it once was. They are not readily available, and they are certainly not cheap. I looked around a bit and finally settled on a book from E-Bay for $10. 
I remember having such a book with all those names and numbers of people and business I knew, close at hand, but I'll be darned if I know whatever happened to it. I haven't seen it in years and I really missed the thing. 

my address book 3I readily admit that I have always enjoyed writing in a new book. I pondered whether I should use a .05 mechanical pencil or my favorite fountain pen. Oh, such difficult decisions! Many years ago John gave me a Cross fountain pen for Christmas. I use it only for special occasions, like Christmas cards or whenever I decide to write in my journal. I had just purchased refills for it and decided that would be my tool of choice. If someone moved or died, I could use white-out or simply cross out the entry. I hated having errors on the pages, so those things used to bother me, but I have grown to like shabby-chic. That is what I think of when I see something look worn, well-used. I expect this book to be just that.

When I was a kid, my favorite time of year was just before the new school year began. There was a kind of exhilaration, first about picking out, and later using clean, blank pages in brand new notebooks, an armful of rainbow color-coded folders, and of course all those brand new pencils and packages of pens. I was especially fond of black ink--don't know why. 

I guess the years haven't changed me much. The trend has carried on into adulthood in the form of stationery and address books. If I had to choose whether to shop for new clothes or new office supplies, the latter would win hands down. The first time I walked into a Staples store, I felt like that was heaven. 

I've spent the better part of today, a gray and rainy day, writing in my new address book while listening to John Lennon songs on Spotify. Today would have been his 75th birthday. Such an interesting connection--the music I listened to as a kid and a brand new address book to write in--the more things change, the more they stay the same.