When I first married my husband, he was a collector.
Old movies. Random soft-as-butter sweatshirts. And computer parts. All of the computer parts.
As a teen, he learned how to build computers. Turns out, he was quite good at it.
And so, he began to collect parts.
People would get rid of them, and he would take them. He’d find them curbside next to trashcans, and he’d bring them home. He skulked around parts sites for professionals and garage sales and bought old pieces. None of the parts worked. But he saw potential in all of them.
And when I married him, I inherited this collection.
At one point, under every bedside stand, desk, coffee table, and raised surface in our house was an old computer tower, a broken monitor, or some other such piece of computer gear that I could not identify.
He saw potential. He just had no time to fulfill it.
And then he joined the Navy.
So as his downtime fell into the negative, and as we eventually faced our second move, I threw the parts away, with his disgruntled blessing.
However, his love of technology didn’t die.
Which is why we still have tablets, desktops, and laptops in this house. All at least refurbished by him.
We are a 21st century house.
I write on all of them. He does … whatever he does on them. And he has specific pieces of regulation technology that he brings on board the submarine, on which he mostly watches movies and reads books during his few hours of downtime.
However, with all the devices that sometimes inhabit our home, and a notoriously unreliable iCloud, I often find myself relying on the good old USB stick to get my work from one machine to the next.
Fun fact about USB sticks, though.
Toddlers find them fascinating. And by fascinating, I mean they will attempt to chew on them if they find them.
So I was constantly absconding them away. Keeping them on the top shelf of the pantry or in a locked desk drawer.
My favorite hiding spot for them happens to be the jar of batteries I keep high on a shelf that even my monkey-like children can’t climb.
I always tucked one there.
And then yesterday, I went to find it.
And the entire jar of batteries was gone. Vanished into thin air.
I retraced my steps. Wondered what I had done wrong. Where I had put the jar.
And then I remembered my husband saying something about packing batteries for the deployment.
The deployment he had left on days ago.
And I froze.
The USB stick loaded down with tax documents for the non-profit I work for; the stick with all my notes from stories I had worked and was working on; the stick that had mock-ups of all graphics and designs I had done for my job for the last five months.
That USB stick was on a submarine 20,000 leagues under the sea.
A place no post-master could reach.
Granted, it was safe. But it was totally useless to me. In fact, all it did was create a heck of a lot of back-tracking as I e-mailed and searched computer archives to find what I needed to keep my job for the next several months.
It’s still a long way off, but I think this homecoming may be the most exciting one of our military career.
I can’t wait to be re-united with my USB stick.