Friday, August 26, 2016

Grateful to the Wizard

It has taken two weeks, but life is looking a little rosier for me, thanks to a little help from my friends.  

Now, really, life hasn't been THAT bad, but losing more than 300 photos taken during a once-in-a-lifetime family-oriented experience can be painful. 

I was surprisingly calm that night in the hotel after an extended Irish wake, which included an afternoon on Lake Michigan with a yachtful of cousins and their families and a lovely dinner afterward. 

What could I do?

Scream.  Cuss.  Jump out the seventh-story window directly across from the rather tall John Hancock building with my camera and laptop.

Chicago had enough sirens screaming through its downtown streets throughout our stay.  I didn't need to cause any more to go off in the night. 

So, I just sat there dazed, quietly contemplating how awful this really was. Then, I managed to say quietly (for me) to Bill, "I just lost 350 photos . . . they are gone." 

Low, low moment, as I may have mentioned a time or two. 

The next morning after confessing to the cousins what I'd done, another cousin told me she had lost her camera.  I think she may have eventually found it.  Earlier this week, yet another reported that she had just deleted EVERY SINGLE PICTURE and VIDEO on her cell phone.  

Her dad asked later if she had looked in the "cloud."  I'm not sure if she found them, but I do know she hasn't jumped out of any windows where she works in downtown Chicago.  I know this because she is still posting on Facebook. 

Okay, what to do.  What to do. I reported in an earlier post that my first tactic was to contact my friend and former student and photographer extraordinaire Chris Pietsch from Oregon who follows the Ducks wherever they go with his cameras and video equipment. 

As an aside, I must mention that Chris took his daughter to Georgia this week where she'll be doing her sophomore year of college.  She's no longer an Oregon/Idaho Pietsch.  Now, she's a Georgia PEACH.  

I thought that was clever, so if you don't chuckle, that's okay.

Anyway, Chris got me started on the road to emotional and mental AND physical photographic recovery.

He told me about a program to download.  After purchasing it, as reported before, I reCOVERED 25 photos from that very special day. 

That tiny victory gave me the strength to march on.  

If I can get 25 photos of those 350 back, surely there's a brilliant geek aka wizard somewhere who can provide me an added bonus.

Well, folks, turns out my first inclination was on the mark.  

In past postings, I've called Joel Whitaker, owner of Laser Image, Inc. in Sandpoint, a wizard before because he works on my computer equipment AND he built the computer I'm using to write this post. 

Not that it enhanced Joel's brilliance with all things puzzling and geeky, but he also grew up in the outskirts of Chicago. 

Well, Joel kept at it for the past several days while I keep reminding St. Anthony that he could come around and maybe come around again several times. 

Joel worked his magic, sending me a note the day before yesterday with bad news first---he needed a bigger thumb drive for my photos cuz they went over a big and then the good news, "I've got hundreds of photos for you."

I decided to remain calm and a bit cautious before jumping seven stories into the air into a hotel room.  After all, we don't have any buildings here seven stories high, but we do have Schweitzer.

Maybe I could jump that high with absolute glee when I saw those images first hand.

Well, I have, and after a few little bumps along the way (my photo program does not work for them and a few dozen were "corrupted aka ruined," but I have photos.

And, I've been posting them to the Aspell family group page, and people are happy and I'm beyond ecstatic. 

The jumping for joy as high as Schweitzer will have to wait, but for now, my mental and emotional health near full recovery----just like those photos.

So, I posted a few today, just cuz I can.  Thank God.  The day spent with my own family along with our extended family in a beautiful setting for a beautiful reason will now have a few more visual reminders of all those very special moments. 

And, for anyone local, if you see Joel, patronize Laser Image, Inc., and tell him a very grateful Marianne sent you.  

He's something else.  

Happy Friday. 

Bill Short is one of just two of my mother's first cousins still living.  At 91, he's still a phenomenal storyteller and a wonderful man. 

Cousin Rich, on the left, is the first of the second cousins I met back in the early '90s when Mother reconnected with her long lost family from Chicago.  He's visiting with Dave, a brother-in-law to another cousin and an avid polo player from Chicago. 

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