So we’ve had a bit of a mess here.

Last Monday night, I went to the bathroom, flushed the toilet and went to bed. Figure this was about 10:20pm or so. At this point, you’re probably thinking “oh great, this is another of those blog posts where over-share occurs and now I know intimate details about their bathroom habits that I could otherwise have spared myself”. No, actually, it isn’t. I only mention that to give you a timing of events. Fast forward 8.5 hours to my wife walking downstairs to get my daughter a set of clothes from the freshly done laundry. She makes it to the bottom step, and is suddenly ankle deep in very cold water. After a bit of frantic running around, shutting off of all the power in the house (for fear of there being a live circuit and standing in water carrying a current), we find that that same toilet mentioned above is behaving more like a fountain than a toilet, and most likely has been for all of the afore-mentioned 8.5 hours.

I’m going to skip some details of the next several days. Suffice to say that there was alot of work involved, and we’re about to have the insurance assessor come out (Tuesday morning) and tell us what they’re willing to help us recover/pay for/replace/etc. That should be interesting.

But what struck me most about the past days of going through stuff, trying to inventory what has been damaged or not, is some of the stuff we’ve found… historical parts of our lives, that had been living in the crawlspace and are being “unearthed” (dug up? what is the word for recovering from the depths of water?) for the first time in many years.

We got to the back of the crawlspace under the stairs tonight, and pulled out the only box that was still there. The rest had been pulled out the day of the initial discovery and cleanup. I don’t know why that one was left there. Maybe it was too heavy. I don’t know. Anyway…

It was a box labelled “Desk Stuff”, and it was unopened in AT LEAST 12 years, and more likely 15. It contained a whole mess of stuff that really should have just been thrown out years ago. Bills and filing cabinet records from, literally, 1986-1992 or so. Phone bills, paystubs, bank statements, etc. All well past the “7 years” that could theoretically be called on in the case of an IRS audit. In addition, though, were some real gems. The first stock grant I’ve ever had. 3000 shares of Pre-IPO shares from Citrix Systems, and $0.185 per share. Phew. Of course, most of the written parts of it, like signatures and stuff were hopeless smudges of blue ink, but the printed out stuff was completely legible. It disintegrated in my hands as I was looking at it and turning pages.

In there as well was a notebook of … well, I’ll call it a journal. Not like a diary, per se, but more like notes I took about my life at the time. From 1989 and ’90. A love letter to “Cindy”, who I … well, it took me literally minutes to dig into my memory to pull up all the memories of. That may sound kind of bad, but it just wasn’t in “easy reach” of my brain’s search engine anymore. once I thought a bit, a few triggers of memories, and it all came flooding back. Nothing terribly notable or formative, but … there it was. And so now I look at the first 50 pages of that book, all the words hopelessly lost to the ink smudge’d mess that they’ve turned into… and I wonder…

What part of my historical record have I now lost and will maybe never recall again?

More than a bit disturbing. I think perhaps once all that stuff dries out that I’m going to go through it a bit more thoroughly, and maybe commit some of that to the blog. It isn’t more “permanent” by any stretch. Any media, no matter how far abstracted from a physical object… is still tenuous. But maybe a bit better protected than the waterlogged box in my crawlspace.