Monday, July 7, 2008

Revisiting the Past

Well, the last couple of days have been a bit of reflection into stored history for me. It all started with a gopher. But, more about that later.

About four years ago, when the major move from Minnesota to Montana took place, a rush packing event also occurred. This was the result of another longer story that might be covered in more detail some other time. The short version is that while on a vacation trip to Montana in March of 2004 I found out that I needed to be in Spokane for the beginning of training for my "maybe", new job on Saturday. The day I found out about this was the Tuesday evening before the Saturday, and my wife and I had just returned from a driving trip to Idaho, after first having driven a u-haul load of stuff to the ranch from Minnesota during the previous couple of days. In any case, this meant that after a plane flight back to Minneapolis on Wednesday evening I would need to turn-it-around and drive back to Montana in order to be able to fly to Spokane on Saturday. So, I had to pack what I could into the van on Wednesday evening (and also vacate the office cube in my at my then "current" job and handle some logistics to tell management I "might not" be back) and begin the drive back to Montana early on Thursday morning. In order to further shorten the story at this point: I did do a 1300+ mile drive in 22 clock hours; make the flight to Seattle; pass the training; get the new job; and therefore not return to Minnesota until about six weeks later. By that time, my wife had done all of the work to put the Minnesota house on the market, sell it, arrange for movers to arrive, and all I had to do was drive back to Minnesota over a long weekend, help pack stuff up, attend the closing activities for the house, and return to the Montana ranch just ahead of the moving truck. So, the second packing event (the stuff that didn't get into the van when I drove out to Montana six weeks earlier) got packed up during a hectic day or so when I went back to Minnesota. This huge paragraph was generated on purpose, just to show how bunched together things seemed to get during that time.

After the moving van was unloaded (a huge truck setup),
the essentials were placed throughout the house as expected, and about 80 boxes of "collectibles", (old books, computers, computer parts, parts of parts of stuff, and whatever someone can collect up during about 35 to 40 years of time and happened to escape the trash hopper during packing for the move -- way more escaped than my wife would have liked to see) ended up being placed into the workshop office area in one of the out buildings here at the ranch. Over the last four years, a box or two has been opened and those things exposed were once again integrated into day to day use. The collectibles remained nicely packed during most of this time. Until the last couple of days. That's when I wasn't able to find what I needed to deal with the gopher.

The ranch has a good quantity of various and assorted creatures, you know about the dogs, cats, horses and other animals that have peacefully existed here. We also have the passing deer, moose, skunk, etc. that can come and go as they please. The most troublesome inhabitant has become the gopher. They have full reign on a section in one of the pastures. And, across the blacktop, quite of number of the little critters stand up tall and chirp out all the time. A couple, and it seems their kids, or maybe some replacement gophers, have started crossing over the blacktop and set up residence in a system of burrows just up above the house. These guys have been thinned out with a shot or two from the .22. But, I think they've gotten faster through the evolution process and lately have been able to dodge the single bullet by detecting the muzzle flash and dipping back into their holes before the bullet gets to them. In order to solve this dodging of the single bullet problem, I decided the larger artillery was needed and got out the 12 gage shotgun. I watched closely the other day, and sure enough, one of the critters popped up, and I was able to snap off a shot at him. He was used to the single bullet thing and didn't expect the extra pellets. Gone! But there, just in a hole below him was another of the critters. (Please, for those who dislike random violence against critters, pardon my insensitivity for a minute and understand that I need to do this because otherwise these critters make holes that can break the legs of the horses. Doing a quick cost analysis: gopher critter value = -$.$$ vs horse value = +$$,$$$.$$ this comes out to be fair trade-off. I could, I suppose try gas, poison, etc. and I have to some degree, but then I worry about the cats, dogs, or other +$$$ animals that might get caught up in dead critter consumption problems). In any case, I knew I'd need another shell to deal with the remaining gopher(s). That's where the revisiting the past comes in to the picture.

I knew, somewhere, back in time, I had a few boxes of shells for the shotgun. So, I decided I'd just have to go in the house and get a shell from one of them. But, after doing a quick search in the logical places (out of reach of children, not in the kitchen cupboards, etc.) I was not able to locate the shells. This lead me to the boxes that had been packed and stored into the workshop arena building (some as long ago as 12 years ago, when we originally moved to Eden Prairie from New Brighton, Minnesota). Unfortunately, not all of the boxes were marked with their exact contents. In fact, it might be safe to say that very few were marked accurately. Maybe none! So, over the last couple of days, I have been opening this fine collection of boxes. There is a lot of history stored in them. Sometimes, I paged through stuff. Sometimes, I marveled at the treasures I had saved. I opened, sorted through things, and in many cases, repacked the boxes and taped them shut again. These treasures would need to be dealt with at a later time. I just didn't have time to place them somewhere, because, after all, I was on a specific mission.

Well, today, I finished going through the last of the boxes. As I mentioned, it was kind of like revisiting the past. I found slides, pictures, film cameras, lenses, cards and letters, travel mementos and souvenirs, lots of race numbers, finisher medallions, radios, clocks, tons of computer parts (now totally obsolete, but still in working condition, so I can't really throw this stuff away), and books, magazines, and reference guides for almost everything I've every purchased in my life. It was an amazing review of my history. So I saved it back into the boxes again.

Oh, and I only found one shot-gun shell.

I think I'll go out and see if there is a gopher around.

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