Hiding Them Skeletons

The hard drive from our former computer
The hard drive from our former computer

A couple of months ago a bolt of lightning hit the roof of our condo. It immediately created a powerful electrical surge that fried a computer, the HDMI port of our flat screen television, and the thermal fuse in our clothes dryer. The surge to the dryer sparked a small fire which in turn set off a smoke alarm. In my mad rush to figure out the source of the smoke, Gorgeous called 911 and within minutes three trucks arrived.

We had drama, we had noise, we had excitement!

We also had firemen peeking in our closets.

Firemen in Home

The dryer’s thermal fuse did what it is designed to do and the fire quickly extinguished on its own. It only took the firemen about 10-15 minutes to figure out what happened. The dryer was quickly unplugged, removed for safety, and later repaired.

Thermal Fuse

And for the second time in our marriage, Gorgeous happily interacted with firemen.

About three years ago when we lived in Fresno, CA, a similar kind of power surge occurred with the phone and cable wiring under our street. It sparked an underground fire that resulted in an area-wide power outage. Once it became apparent that no one was actually in any danger, a carnival-like atmosphere spontaneously took place between Fresno’s finest, the residents on our block, and my lovely bride.   

While some husbands might exhibit a jealous streak about something like this, I am predisposed to self-justify that there is no way I can compete with a burly man in a uniform.

Of course, it goes without saying that she married me for my superior intelligence, debonair bearing, and classically chiseled features.

But not my brawn.

Moreover, my sister-in-law actually married a fireman in the last year (Hi, A). So one can only guess on the psychological and genetic predispositions taking place for the women in that family. I therefore have chosen to be amused by any and all attraction to firemen. A little humility goes a long way.

Machismo and modesty aside, we nonetheless had some damaged appliances on our hands from this most recent weather calamity.

The TV no longer connects to the cable box via the HDMI cable, but fortunately we found that a high-grade component connection using venerable RCA plugs still offers a digital picture that is clear and sharp. It’s a slightly old-fashioned fix, but that’s how I like to roll with electronics anyway. I choose to see it as a “classic” viewing experience. Sorry, Best Buy; we’ll see you further down the road a bit.

The computer, however, is toast. It was six years old and had been limping along in spite of my occasional efforts to maintain it by defragging the hard drive, emptying the browser cache, and deleting all those tiny Internet files. It symbolically became that device a cheap member of your family owns, convinced that he can still get a few more years of use out of it.

To add insult to injury, this is the computer that I “gave” to Gorgeous after she bestowed upon me a brand new Mac laptop as a wedding present. I got a Mac Air, she got my old Hewlett-Packard. Can you spell p-i-k-e-r? Apparently I can.

The computer contained a treasure trove of information, though not necessarily the kind I was interested in sharing with the world. Or a new wife for that matter.

I bought it just after my first marriage ended, and I suppose you could say that it was both witness and active participant to much of my personal peccadilloes of that time. The browser cache contained a good deal of some of my tomcat movements, which Gorgeous later discovered quite easily. The same level of cluelessness in which I carried myself during that period also extended to my online pilgrimages. Online dating sites filled the browsing history to such a degree that it conspicuously showed off the one-dimensional level of my interests and thinking.

Art? Music? Literature? Nah. But I did have a robust matrix on the desktop of every watering hole within walking distance of my bachelor pad. Like Hitler invading Poland, testosterone formed a beachhead that expertly cut off all supply lines running north of my neck and shoulders.

Gorgeous enjoyed to no end giving me grief about all the things she came across while using that computer. On seeing a dating site profile where I described myself as “kind and mellow,” she remarked that “nervous and neurotic” might have been more apt.

A handsome nervous and neurotic, I’m sure she meant.

I later spent a fair amount of time wiping data from that hard drive. I can now appreciate how others feel who might be in a similar position, although I suspect I am a tad more candid about my experiences than they are.

Source: imgflip.com
Source: imgflip.com

Even though computer experts constantly advise us to back-up important data, I will admit that I’ve never been too vigilant about doing so. Most of the critical documents that sit on my personal laptop are backed-up to a simple flash drive. There was one very important letter on the fried computer that Gorgeous has been composing for months which thankfully we did take precautions ahead of time to save. But fortunately, just about everything else that was lost isn’t very important.

Neither of us are particularly religious people, yet I still can’t help but consider that from an insurance adjuster’s standpoint, what happened to our appliances was the dictionary definition of an Act of God. For me personally this means that henceforth I will indeed put all faith and trust into a higher power. By that I mean that we’ll make sure to get the best uninterrupted power supply (UPS) apparatus we can possibly afford for our next computer. Piety is subjective.

In God, I do indeed trust. It’s just my fellow-man that makes me nervous. As a result, prior to taking the toasted computer to the recycle center, I was very careful to remove the hard drive for later destruction. I’ll happily share the skeletons of my closet to the faithful readers of this blog, but I’ll be damned if I leave traces of my nervous and neurotic self for just any ‘ol schmuck out there to find on his own. Start your own blog, brother.

Until next time…

27 thoughts on “Hiding Them Skeletons

  1. The worst is over. Appliances can be replaced. Fear slowly ebbs away. I chose to live in Sarasota (on Florida west coast) because I feared the hurricanes and tropical storms that harass East Coast Florida routinely.

    Little did I know that I was moving into the Thunder Storm capital of the world. I had a surge protector in place for my Samsung TV and my PC – and even though we suffered loss of electricity a few times, and once or twice I felt the lightning was just outside… I never did have an issue about losing a TV or PC.

    But I didn’t trust just the hammer as the hard drive killer. I applied the hammer force as you did in the video, and then me and the hard drive left the apartment to go for a drive. Now Sarasota has the Gulf of Mexico and there are many bays and inlets and canals. With lots of bridges.

    The hard drive now rests below the waters that divide Long Boat Key and Anna Maria Island. Submerged hopefully forever.

    Thanks for the good read Marty

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Ah. Sleeping with the fishes, eh? Of course a movie reviewer like yourself would come up with such a solution. While you won’t win any awards from the environmentalists, I do give you a Tony Soprano nod of achievement — that’s where Big Pussy still lies! 😉

      I’m with you on the east coast dangers… we’re starting to talk about that more as we ponder our forever home location.

      Thanks for reading, Mike!


  2. Well, you know how I feel about firefighters. I have four of them in my family (well, I used to,)
    Did you think about a surge-protector? I have one for the computer and the television but I have no idea what it really does..if anything….and I had no idea that you should smash your hard drive if you get rid of a computer. Maybe mine doesn’t have one. I have given computers away and didn’t think anything about it. Maybe they didn’t have a hard drive either. (Hope) I know they have a “mother lode” or something like that.
    Oh, well.
    I just went back and looked at the hammer picture. Are you talking about a cell phone? That’s what it looks like.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. We had a surge protector on it, but those things really don’t protect you for something as major as lightning. A decent UPS is a better way to go… or maybe just unplugging during a storm, which we did have the chance to do but got lazy!

      Nope, not a cell phone– that’s the actual hard drive from the PC. It’s now unrecognizable, as I really hammered it out of commission after we shot that short video. I suppose the FBI and some smart techie might still be able to recover something from it, but I doubt what they’d find would be worth the effort!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Maybe do what Mr. Robot did…fry it in the microwave? LOL
        That is so scary…..somebody being able to recover stuff from your computer. I’m glad there’s nothing on mine….except my blog…and it’s not exactly secret! LOL

        Liked by 1 person

  3. We have a room for hard drives of the past. Both of us are neurotic enough to think that the files (unimportant as they may be) can be reconstructed by some genius CSI person (not that anyone would be interested). Clearly I watch too many detective shows. There is something about men in a uniform. Even our garbage collectors have been sporting a sort of uniform lately.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. In the past I always used this fancy software that supposedly wiped the disk clean — but who knows if it actually worked or not. However, we stopped using it anyway in favor of just abusing the hard drive with a hammer instead. Good to get your aggressions out! A garbage collector uniform, huh? I’ll let you know if that has any response. 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I recall thinking in 2013 that there was not a darn thing wrong with any of those firemen (and #5 has a lot going for him). How come all we get is a helmet on this outing?

    I am glad your losses (physical, karmic and egotistic) were minimal during this misadventure. You have once more reminded me where I have been lagging. Next week: more firemen in my home!


    1. I’m glad you’ve asked this question! In my attempt to keep the post brief, I left out several fun facts about the recent firemen visit. Prior to the wise (and older) crew chief determining that it was the dryer responsible for the smoke, a few of his younger brethren actually broke the door down in the upstairs unit in their own attempt to discover the cause. This in turn created drama when the property manager arrived to take issue with their “over zealous” actions (her words, not mine). So tensions were a bit high, and somehow we didn’t think it wise to try to do a repeat of the earlier pose. On the other hand, I did actually get to see firemen use an axe to break down a door just like on TV. I’m sure our upstairs neighbor — a snowbird who lives up north — was not amused when he got that call later in the day.

      Re: more firemen in your home. Yes, I do recall a certain calendar Gorgeous once bought for your home that had a few on it… 😉


  5. Hilarious! Hey, how about choosing Santa Cruz CA as your “forever home”? No thunderstorms, beautiful ocean, very few earthquakes, and best of all, Toni and me for three weeks every summer! Just think: You and Gorgeous sitting on our “Judging Porch”. drinking wine and looking at the ocean and watching people on the way to the beach and, well, judging them. Way more fun than enduring summertime thunderstorms over there and losing appliances. The only downside is Goegeous wouldn’t get her occasional “fireman fix.”

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oooh, you do make for a convincing and enticing location for the forever home. The good news is that we *do* have California (and its central coast) on our list. The bad news is that we have to win the lotto jackpot in order to achieve that! Florida not having a state income tax is just too good a deal, so we’re starting to look in other places around the state here. But I am buying lottery every week to bust a move back to the Golden State!


  6. So glad the fire didn’t progress. An exciting read for me but at the time for you two….😳. One way to kill best forgotten evidence of the past though 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  7. We don’t get a lot of thunderstorms around here but, when we do, we unplug everything we can. But, I hadn’t considered visits from firemen as a possible result of a few fried wires… perhaps I’ll leave one or two things plugged in next time. There’s just something about burly men in uniform who can cook.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I’ve read about this possibility but this is the first time I’ve ever actually seen it happen! I kept reading about lightning strikes and power surges and how you should keep and UNPLUGGED back-up (which I do). Fascinating. Science!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I know, right? I’ve always assumed this happened to those proverbial OTHER people. Nope. We’re using a friend’s loaner desktop (circa 2003, but hey it connects to the Internet), and will need to buy a replacement soon. Fingers crossed!


  9. Hello my friend…has it ever occurred to you that these multiple lightening events from above represent more than just a coincidence and perhaps someone is trying to get your attention? Those of us on the “radical religious right” are waiting for you with open arms… 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  10. I love how you speak in riddles, and by golly, you’re absolutely right. I think you’re onto something here. Like most cautious investors, I have placed far too much FAITH in stock indices such as the Dow and S&P 500 in my retirement portfolio. The message from above is to focus more on market sectors such as utilities and energy stocks! Buck the trend and stop following the crowd is about as radical I can think of. Praise the Lord and thanks for the inspiration, old friend!

    Liked by 1 person

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