I wrote this a couple of months ago.
This is a time when I describe my productivity as a ticking time bomb, waiting to explode into oblivion. Mr. Legs said he thinks I’m working too hard on my projects. Indeed. I agree. I feel driven. I have no idea how many more days I’ll be able to type, even hunt and peck, which is what I’m reduced to most of the time now, missing the days when cooperative fingers flew across the keyboard tapping up to 90 words per minute. I want to accomplish certain things in the time I have left, leaving things of value for someone, to enjoy at some time.
My latest project is the mysterious old home movies rediscovered in the basement. They were taken by my husband’s stepfather. In the short years between him purchasing a video camera/toy and dying, he took good recordings of everyday life – priceless memories of people since departed and events that can never be recreated. So I’m recording them on the computer, editing them the best I can, all with a time limit.
The movies are on the old Beta video format and we have had no working player. I looked on our local classifies a couple of months ago and actually found one for sale. Negotiated the price down to $40 (the machines are selling for $200 on ebay!) but let the seller unload the over 100 tapes along with the machine. Mr. Legs met the interestingly clad woman and came home with the “goods” that were bad – tapes were dirty from years of unuse (or use, I’m not sure which), player was dusty and remote was taped together. When the tape fell off the remote, the player no longer worked. So, we put it downstairs and put a hold on the project. The box of home movies was still here near the desk though, so still on my radar. I put a want ad on the local classifieds and someone called. He wanted $200 for his machine that had been sitting in a closet for years and wasn’t guaranteed to be in working order. Surprisingly, he agreed to rent me the machine for significantly less. I asked husband to make that transaction, plugged in the ancient machine and it works! So I have one week to go through these tapes and transfer what I can.
My limited time floats in a plane of reality.
Update: Although the player worked, it didn’t want to completely release the tapes when they were ejected, snagging them on the way out. The player was such an old model that it ejected on the top instead of the front, so I was able to carefully unhook them without permanent damage (although I can’t see them ever being used again). I felt like the nice man and I both profited from the exchange. I let him know that extracting the tapes from the machine was a delicate procedure, but that it served my purpose and I appreciated being able to use it. Some of the tapes were just too old to tame the tracking issue, but I salvaged everything I could. The tapes were worth the time I spent transferring them. They included a grandfather moving from his house to a retirement home, weddings (one of the couples is even still married), a family reunion, my in-laws house as it was 25 years ago, among other things. I enjoyed watching them and am glad to have them preserved. They added 36.4 GB onto our computer.