…it was a few days after Christmas 2011 when I prepared our holiday trip to Tamborine Mountain in QLD. The car was already packed; the camper trailer was hooked up – everything nearly ready to go. The last thing I did was that I stored our “valuables” in our safe – no money or jewelry, but documents like passports, folders with contracts and an external backup hard disk for our computers. It is not the strongest safe, but good enough to give some piece of mind. The last thought I remember about this preparations was “what should I do with the safe key now”?…till today, I’m quite sure that I hid the key somewhere in our study room…
We spent a fantastic holiday, visiting SeaWorld with the kids, camping with real camp fire and marshmallows, and the kids had a ball. When home again, no one thought about the safe key, and the weeks after we came back I didn’t work much with the computer so there was no need for the hard disk from the safe for a backup.
Weeks, months passed by… I think it was March when I came home from work when disaster stroke!
I went into the study room to drop the backpack with my office laptop and recognized that my wife has cleaned the study room! Not only this, she relocated furniture, removed piles of magazines, emptied bins and boxes, removed some cabinets out from the study into the garage, everything looked so nice and tidy … in a nutshell: a total disaster! Of course she was very proud of what she did.
First I was only shocked, and then I started to panic. Suddenly I recognized why in ancient times women on ships meant bad luck and why men feared their power, the power to demolish the structure of men’s universe!
Imagine Christopher Columbus embarking on his voyage to discover America – o.k., his goal was to find the sea route to India, but let’s not get fussy here! …so he was on his way to America, equipped with pathetic maps, no GPS, on a trip no one did before, only relying on men’s immemorial and natural ability – an ability they share since ancient times with birds and other animals – to navigate by the stars, the sun and the moon. Imagine one day the gods would have decided to play a prank on him, and they would have relocated all the stars and would have moved the sun and the moon. The next morning the sun would have risen from the west instead from the east seeing a puzzled Christopher Columbus; of course he would have given order immediately to change course…only to recognize in the evening that the sky was a total mess …
I believe it is justified to assume that he never would have discovered America if this would have happened to him. I leave it to the reader to follow up on this concluding whether this would have been good or bad…but back to our study room: by relocating and removing the magazine piles, boxes and the furniture, my cosmos, my universe with all the satellites in this study room, was irretrievably destroyed. My Southern Cross, my Ursa Major – all gone. It wasn’t her fault. How should she know that my brain need this cosmos with all the satellites to find all the things stored in this room? …this cosmos was burnt into my brain…like a hard disk full of data, and she wiped out the file allocation table…and somewhere was the code for the location of the safe key, now irretrievably lost. It was like trying to use a GPS in an underground mine and the only message my brain received was “connection to satellite lost“.
Time passed by, I made some brief attempts to find the key, but of course without success. Over the months a backup of our computer data became more and more urgent, but still I was reluctant to use the mighty grinder and brutal force to open the safe. I intensified the search, knowing that if I would use the grinder Murphy’s Law would strike, and that it would only take a few days after I would have demolished the safe that I would find the key – a functioning key for a now demolished safe.
Weeks and months passed by, I spent hours looking for this key, I wasn’t sure anymore whether I really left it in the study room, hence I started looking elsewhere, in the adjacent garage and later in the whole house, in the camper trailer, in the car… overall I guess I spent at least 40 hours just searching this key, and with every hour spent, hope was deteriorating.
Well, we survived a whole year without a backup. After Christmas 2012 we embarked again on a holiday trip and when we came back, regenerated and full of energy, I felt that I had overcome this trauma. It took me another few weeks, but then – after over a year! – one Saturday when my wife and kids were shopping leaving me with an empty garage, I hauled the safe into the garage, grabbed the grinder and started to cut a hole into the safe. I had to be careful not to harm the valuable content, and it took some time and some cutting wheels, but finally: I made it!!!…the garage looked a little bit like a battle ground with all the dust from the grinding, cut metal and worn out cutting wheels…
I emptied the safe, respectively what was left from it, took out the hard disk and did a backup – the disk was still working fine. Against all odds, gods and Murphy’s Law I felt I won. I had a beer or two, I deserved it, I remember – it’s burned into my brain – that I watched the LED lights of the hard disk housing flashing when running the backups; these are the small things in life that can make a man happy.
When my wife came home from shopping, she wasn’t much impressed by my achievement…I remember she only asked “when do you clean up the mess you made in the garage?”
Seriously, after all the time, after all the hours I wasted hunting this key, plus a whole Saturday spent in the garage resulting in a demolished safe, and all because she messed up - unintentionally - my universe, how can such a little bit of dust in the garage be important?