Attacking the hellhole


I know that many won’t agree with me, or at least fess up to it, but I’d like to think that most houses have an area where no outsider is allowed. A place where dustballs and old papers and things that you don’t know what to do with migrate. A basement in many homes. Mine just happens to be on the main floor. It used to be called the “office”. Mostly unused for a while now, it’s been renamed “The Hellhole”. It is the place that you don’t want to go unless you have to.

Today I decided to clean it up. I walked by the room at least five times and just stared. I couldn’t think of anything else that I needed to do instead, so I finally dove in for an initial 15 minute spree. I figured if I could last that long, I might be able to find enough energy — and courage — for another 15 minutes, and another, and another. I have two weeks to clean up this room and move the contents of my bedroom — furniture and closets — before a construction project begins. I had a sinking feeling this afternoon that I may be finishing up as the contractors pull up the driveway and begin unloading their equipment.

I spent a few hours on the project but to an untrained eye that might not seem possible. Progress, though not apparent, has been made. My husband and I are technofarts as well as packrats. That is a deadly combination that is sure to create an elephants’ graveyard of arcane electronic bones; a room full of relictronics and enough dust to equal all of the pollen allergens usually floating around the air on an August day in Indiana. Just take a look:

Serial? Parallel? XP? 28.8 Anyone?

A partial inventory of items found in one small area:

    • Install disk for Outlook 2002
    • Installation keys for Windows XP (I may not have excavated far enough to find the Windows ME disks)
    • A 28.8 modem
    • A SecureID card
    • A Serial mouse
    • A copy of Oracle Magazine with blurbs about the release Oracle 8
    • A PALM Pilot CD
    • A book for the Dell AXIOM   – When new, I thought that was the coolest thing ever. I think I used it for less than a year and it cost more than my iPad purchased several years later. It read email and had a calendar. Woo hoo!
    • Several stylus (stylii?) for handhelds.   – Thank you Steve Jobs for insisting that we already had the tools to write built into our bodies, and for salvaging that idea from the Newton.  The Newton was, btw, way cooler than an AXIOM and a PALM PILOT rolled into one. And it looked like a Star Trek Tricorder.
    • An assortment of PC games for preschoolers: Learn Math, Coloring, and Legos LOCO.  – I don’t think these were for my son, but for my husband’s grandson. Still, that child is now old enough to have a driver’s license.
    • Parts to a YAHOO! camera
    • Family Tree Maker disks, pre-2000 version.  – I think there must have been about 20 disks for that install package!

I don’t think I will reveal how many pieces and parts of 386’s we have in that room. Or printers for which we can no longer buy cartridges for less money than a new printer. Hope there is a tech disposal day nearby sometime soon!

There were a few memories worth keeping, like finding a CD of my son’s choir, circa 2003, singing Mozart’s Great Mass in C Minor. Back to the salt mines Relictronic Room to find more items to toss out for trash pickup tomorrow!

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11 responses to “Attacking the hellhole

  1. Pingback: Weekly Photo Challenge: Today | Four Deer Oak

  2. I suspect everyone has a space like this. I have several drawers devoted to oddments, despite the fact that my motto is ‘If in doubt, chuck it out’ – a dangerous idea as I’ve found on numerous occasions when I’ve had to buy a new whatever to replace the one I could have filed with the oddments. But it’s easier to buy replacements than change a basic ‘live by’ idea.

    • If I only had “several drawers”…. 🙂 Suppose I can think of the drawers spilling over into the room. Most of my closets, though, are pretty organized and junk-free!

  3. The “relictronic room” priceless. Great story.

  4. LOL! I have a graveyard box – I recently got rid of old floppy disks with WordStar, Lotus 1-2-3, Q&A, and some old kids’ games. Also have Family Tree Maker back quite a bit – some of my original discs were the Social Security Death Index and other database files from back when internet searches were very slow! Glaad to hear I’m not the only one!

  5. Wow, parts of 386’s? That pre-dates anything in our used electronics bin! How historical of you!
    … but I do have a Timex-Sinclair computer (ca. 1982) that I hold on to as a conversation piece.

    • Down in our basement my husband keeps an artifact, a nameplate of an IBM mainframe that he worked on decades ago. Several years ago we were touring Cape Canaveral and I recognized the type of computer in the replica of the Apollo Mission Control room!