A painful lesson

Sep 25

For months, months, I have been ranting about my lack of understanding about technology.  In 2008, I lost my hard-drive on my computer in a insta-crash.  With it, I lost most of my videos of baby Maren.  Since then I’ve been fierce about backing up my computer, and rooted in the truth that I need to be on top of this stuff.

I wave my hand above the head about “The Cloud”, how I “have” The Cloud, I pay a storage fee for The Cloud, but I find it to be elusive and frustrating and hard to manage.  But it felt better to have back up capacity than to be vulnerable.  I’ve started-stopped-started-stopped trying to catalogue our digital files because I try to stop at the point where my frustration boils to tears.  It’s so slow, I can’t tell how many copies of the same thing I have, I don’t know what file name extensions mean, and I-used-to-feel-like-an-intelligent-human-what-just-happened.  Unfortunately, this means I make little progress.

I also know that neither my genetics nor my age are helpful in this equation. (Ha!)

With the same mindset, I’ve been trying to be vigilant with my phone, but have been knocked-down-dragged-out frustrated with my lack of ability to understand the communication between my devices.  I truly thought that, while my content wasn’t organized content, it was all there somewhere.  And, it was all backed up somewhere.

This morning when I woke up at five in the morning and couldn’t use the light on my phone to find my water glass, I had a bad feeling.  (Note: no water came in contact with my phone.)

My time spent with the tech support people with regard to my black-screen-no-matter-what-do-iPhone is telling me this: despite thinking I’ve had my phone backed up for the past fourteen months, it has not been backed up.

So, fourteen months of photos and videos of our memories are gone.  Which is sort of “not a real problem”, but as a mama heavily invested in memory-making moments, it feels like a real problem right now.

My phone is not working (at all), which is a “pwoblem” because, while expensive, at least there is a solution.

I’m having a hard time stomaching the loss of the many moments where I’ve handed someone my phone and said, “Take a picture so we can remember this.”  It’s the failsafe for my non-reliable memory, and the tender-aged memories of my daughters.  Greta’s first dive into the pool, Maren’s karaoke, my visual collection of mama-notes: a compilation of Jen-isms to save and remember.  Also: me cheering for her dive, me laughing at her karaoke.

So, I need someone who understands computers and technology to come over this week and help me start over.  I have to get all of my devices synced and communicating and backed up and safe.  I’m shaking with anger at myself that I didn’t do this earlier and that I let my techno-inferiority complex rule my action (or inaction, as it seems to be.)

I’m so mad at myself.  I am going to the Apple store today and praying for the Genius who will be assisting me.  Brad took the kids to church; I didn’t go because I was not feeling very, um, holy this morning.  Minutes after he left, Chief Sister walked in.  She’s doing my dishes and sistering/mothering/aunting me.  I’m hammering my self-dialogue and refusing to wallow.  I know it’s the life-well-lived memory mash-up legacy that counts in the end.  It’s just the record of the life, not the life itself, that I’ve lost.  My perspectacles are right again.

If you have photos or videos that I’ve sent you or that include us, I want them.  I just don’t know where to tell you to put them because, well, that’s the whole problem, isn’t it!?

Meanwhile, go back up your device.


  1. Lori6NV /

    Oh honey, tech issues are the worst! I wish I could ship my semi-tech savvy hubby there to help. But bless you for reminding me that I, too, need to figure out the stink in’ cloud. Do you ever share or store photos on Facebook? Those should still be there? (And I’d love to friend you if you wanted to pm me with your fb info – I’m all private and hard to find). Hoping those geniuses live up to their names!!

  2. ARGGGGHHHHH! (I am yelling with you) Praying for a technology miracle Jesus!

  3. Oh Jen, I’m feel your pain. I back my photos and videos up to 3 different locations, and yet I still managed to lose the first 6 months of Cailtyn’s precious life. I will be praying that you get it all back!

  4. This spring, I cried in the Apple Store (big, heaving tears) when I realized I had lost 8 months of photos, my calendar, any numbers for contacts I had made in the past 16 months. I understand. It’s brutal in a this-isn’t-be-a-real-problem-but-hurts-so-bad kind of way. Check your text messages, you can re-save things you sent there, too. But I know it’s all of the photos that are just fleeting moments that aren’t “worth” emailing out that are sometimes so meaningful. This won’t feel as awful in a few weeks or months, I promise.

  5. Marlayne /

    Hugs ?????

  6. I’m so sorry for the pain of the content you lost. Especially bc you work so hard to catalogue and capture the moments and these have been very special years for all of you together. So many firsts. But I am 100% certain you will have many new delights as you build back your memory collections via photos from others. It will be so much sweeter the second time putting it all together. Also, who really knows whether they are “backed up effectively” or not??? Plenty of tech savvy people lose files too. Technology is a fickle beast. But Memory making is not. You are a true champion in enabling quality time and memory making for your family and those values will never be lost.

  7. Lisa Smith /

    First, I love you and wish I could hug you so tight you would feel better. Second, GROOVEBOOK. A photo album every month for $3.23 INCLUDING SHIPPING. 100 iPhone photos every month in a cute book. Each picture is DATED!!

    • Jen with two boys and a girl (and one more coming soon) /

      I second Groovebook, it’s an awesome app and whether or not you actually LOOK at the books they send you on a regular basis, you are getting the pictures off of your phone to a “real” place that’s not in cyberspace. And it’s cheap! And you can send gift subscriptions to others too, which is a fun option.

      I also use OneDrive, which used to give you much more free storage space than it does now (pretty sure there is going to be a monthly fee associated with it for me soon), but functionally it’s great. It really does automatically back up my huge camera roll for me to the OneDrive cloud, and then I can access those pictures from my phone, computer, or by logging in to my account online. I don’t even bother with iTunes anymore since I also had a problem with *thinking* it was backing things up that weren’t actually backing up.

      Hang in there, stranger friend!

  8. Michelle /

    Hugs hugs hugs. I know this hurts so bad. I had said to Dave for months and months after my mom passed that I wanted to figure out a way to get her voice messages off my voicemail (they were more like full blown conversations complete with her having side conversations with my dad or sister or whoever was in the room). When I lost my phone I was devastated. We were on vacation and it at least ruined one full day. The only reason I was able to enjoy any of it was people incorrectly informed me that as long as they were saved, when I got a new phone they would still be there! I literally said to one of the Apple geniuses if I were being charged with murder I’m sure there would be a way to recover those messages. Luckily they did not call the police and she then told me all about her custody battle and how she lost her phone with messages during that ordeal!. I was sobbing in the store. If one store can’t help you I would at least try to get a second opinion. My brothers friend used to work for Apple and I’ll ask if he has any tips. Xoxoxo

  9. I’m hoping for a miracle at the Apple Store!

  10. I’ve lost a significant chunk of photos and more when my hard drive stopped driving, so I do understand the frustration and yes, agony. Honestly, it’s okay to cry about this. I do hope that those with whom you have shared will be able to give you back some of what you’ve lost.
    In the meantime, I saved my old hard drive, just in case technology ever gets to a point of being able to open it up and start it moving again. (I refuse to give up all hope.)
    Hang in there! And do give yourself some grace about understanding technology. Your brain is working hard in many other areas, handling a family with young children AND the myriad of health care terms that boggle my 50-year-old mind.

  11. Jen, I save all my photos on my Gmail account. That way, I can pull them up on my cell phone, tablet and computer. It is set up for auto sync. If one device goes kerplunck the pictures or videos can still be seen on another of my devices with my Gmail account.