Thursday, December 24, 2009

Ten years ago

I've been wandering down Nostalgia Lane this week, going through a stack of old 3.5 inch floppies ("legacy technology") and transferring the contents to CDs or DVDs.  My personal computer no longer includes that size drive, and it occurred to me that it wouldn't be long before I wouldn't have access to one though work either.  I had files going back to my grad school days on those floppies, so I decided to go through them and see if there was anything worth saving.

Turned out there was, and I just don't mean the 17 or so "back up" copies of the dissertation. I found copies of letters I wrote back in the '90s (and I'd like to thank my younger self for reminding me so vividly of why I don't miss teaching snot-nosed undergraduates all that much), personal photos taken in the early days of digital cameras, and other gems. 

The above photo (which the S.O. is going to be annoyed that I used before he could) was taken almost exactly ten years ago, in early winter of 1999.  I must have used the digital camera I had the use of during my brief tenure as the editor of a limited circulation monthly newspaper (a contract job that lasted, if memory serves me right, for four issues).  The camera was huge, not a whole lot different than trying to tote an oversized brick around, and used actual floppies, the 3.5 inch ones.  At its highest quality setting, a person was doing good to take more than 2 photos before running out of memory.  But it was great for desktop publishing -- straight from the camera to the computer with minimal hassle. 

We were living up on the tundra that year, trying to stay warm in our aging shoebox of a mobile home, while we both lurched from temporary job to temporary job.  The editing gig came along right about the time my unemployment checks were running out, so it was good timing even if it didn't last long.  It meant being able to avoid driving up to Houghton to re-register with the temporary employment pool at Michigan Tech (not that I ever minded any of the various temporary jobs I've held at Tech -- being the football coaches' temporary secretary for approximately six months was more fun than any office job should ever be) while keeping my fingers crossed I managed to find something more permanent.  Being unemployed in upper Michigan is one of those things that qualifies as a mixed blessing:  it sucks being broke, but it also means not having to be outside busting through snowdrifts before dawn.  Our road never got plowed before either I or the S.O. had to leave for work -- it's been the last one cleared for many, many years. 

Which is, of course, one of the reasons we owned a snowplow ourselves.  We pay Baraga County for driveway plowing every year (including this one, even though they got told they don't have to plow because no one's at the farm this winter) so we can stay on the list (once you're off the list, you can never get back on), but even with the county keeping the driveway open, when you live in an area that gets, on average, over 300 inches of snow per winter, it is good to have a personal plow, even if it is mounted on a piece of junk like that Jeepster.  The plow itself was not a particularly good one, if memory serves me right.  The S.O. didn't notice the missing roof much.  He kept himself warm with curses, either at the plow or the plow vehicle.

A year from now he'll be back at it, out there in the cold shoving snow around with a vehicle that looks like it should have gone to the crusher a couple years ago.  The major difference will be we'll be retired, no ties to the U.P. that would keep us there all winter.  I wonder how many plowing days it will take before he decides being a snowbird isn't such a bad idea after all?

1 comment:

  1. I'm so glad you're rescuing those pix, freeing them from the floppy disk jail!

    The snow makes me cold to the bone. I miss it in a way, but not enough to really really want to go north again.


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