Friday, May 31, 2019

The case of the missing medieval blueprint

I can't find where I wrote about it, if I did, but last month (April 24) Rachel had a crazy busy day. She had school all day and came home in tears because when she went to pull out her medieval castle blueprint (which she'd been working on for weeks and which was due the following day) to show her friends she couldn't find it anywhere.

Together with her friends, Rachel turned the classroom upside down looking for it, but it was no where to be found.

She came home in tears.

Her little Beehive group was planning on going to the temple to do baptisms for the dead and they had to meet at the church at 4:00. And then she had committed to going to the wedding reception for her teacher's son with Naanii (Naanii knows her teacher's family fairly well from gamelan).

She didn't want to miss out on anything but she also knew that she'd have to redo her entire project from scratch in one evening and she was very stressed out about it.

But I assured her that, having done a rough draft, it would be easier for her to get it down on paper a second time, even with nothing to look at.

"It wasn't a rough draft!" she retorted. "It was my finished copy! And I can't find it anywhere! And I don't want to have to redo it!"

Alas, she had no other option.


So she dried her tears, went to the temple, and then made a brief stop at the reception with my mom, before coming home and getting to work. As it turns out, I was right—it didn't take her as long to get it down on paper a second time (and, she declared, it was even better than her first copy).

She handed it in and got a fine grade (she assumes, since she got an "E" in the class, which is the top grade for whatever reason ("excellent"; it stands for "excellent")).

*****

I can never think of this story without remembering my capstone class for my linguistics major. I had a project that I had worked on the entire semester—a ten-page paper, I believe (which seems trivial now, but which seemed rather monumental at the time). I spent the entire semester researching and synthesizing my data. I had my paper saved on my laptop, on a floppy disk (does that date me?) and on this new-fangled thing called a "thumb drive" or a "flash drive" or, simply, a "stick."

Somehow or other my computer crashed and everything on my hard drive disappeared.

No matter.

I had my paper saved on my trusty floppy disk.

I put my floppy disk into the computer and...it was completely corrupted.

Deep breaths. This was fine. I had that little doohickey—whatever-its-called—as a final lifeline.

I plugged it into the USB port and—horrors of all horrors—it, too, went on the fritz!

It was an unfathomable tragedy. My drafts—saved in triplicate—had all disappeared, broken into indiscernible bits and bytes of chaos and bloodshed.

I was inconsolable. I—a straight-A student who had meticulously planned and prepared for this capstone paperhad nothing.

"Except for the copy you printed out the other day..." my mom reminded me, digging through a pile of papers.

"That's an old draft!" I cried.

But while I was weeping, wailing and gnashing my teeth, my dear mother took that hard-copy draft and typed it up for me. She brought me to the computer, sat me down, and told me to get over myself and polish it up. So I did. And everything was just fine.

And I have the nicest mom in the world.

*****

Today I was helping Rachel go through things in her room (she is such a pack rat) and as I was finalizing a box of elementary school memorabilia, I discovered her backpack was still full of papers from this year. I pulled them out and started sifting through them.

Keep. Keep. Recycle. Recycle. Recycle. Keep.

"What about this book report?" I asked Rachel.

"Meh," she said.

"Oh, but look at your drawings. They're so cute! I love them! How could you not want to keep this?"

(I, uh, don't know where she gets her pack rat tendencies from).

"Meh. I guess," she said, grabbing the report and paging through it. "Wait....what?!" she gasped. "No way!" She started laughing so hard tears were rolling down her cheeks. "No way, Mom!"

"What?" I asked.

"It's...my...castle..." she wheezed.

"Your castle?" I asked.

"THE castle," she gasped. "The one! The one! The one I..."

"The one you lost and couldn't find anywhere and cried about for hours and had to stay up late making a second copy of?" I finished for her.

"YES!" she said. "THAT CASTLE!"

Indeed, stapled neatly in the middle of her—completely unrelated to medieval castles—book report was a beautiful, detailed blueprint of a medieval castle!

"That's why I couldn't find it!" she said. "Because I had turned in with my book report!"

It should be noted that the castle blueprint was supposed to be turned in to a different teacher. It literally just got mixed up in the shuffle. So we put it in Rachel's memorabilia box so that she can always remember the tragedy of losing her castle blueprint, the chaos of rushing a second copy, and the irony of finding it a month later tucked inside a book report.

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