I Spilled Coffee on My MacBook Pro – Finding Perspective – Full-Time RV Life

I spilled coffee on my MacBook Pro.  The scream of pure terror, regret, and irritation at my own clumsiness was desperate, loud, and bone chilling.  I cried.  I got sick to my stomach.  I felt the physical stress resulting in headaches, visual disturbances, jaw clenching, and tense muscles.  The hours leading up to discovering what damage I’d caused were excruciating.

Yes, it’s only a computer.  No, it wasn’t a family member that I maimed with my Sunday cup of hot coffee laden with wonderful vanilla cream and honey.  But, in a very real way, it was my life.  My photos, videos, manuscripts, e-mail, ancestry records–all of it.

That was last week, and when everything dried out and the damage could be assessed, my beloved electronic gadget still worked.  I could still connect to Wi-Fi.  My keyboard, while sluggish at first, burst into life and followed the commands of my fingers.  My photos were still intact.  My videos were still there.  The only thing gone was a fried bluetooth module.  We weren’t near an Apple store, so I would need to work around the issue until we could get it fixed.

Until today, when I realized my photos weren’t transferring over to my computer and I would need to do it manually.  Just sync them, right?  I did that.  Between the transfer of my iPhone to my MacBook Pro, the ‘electronic’ brains ganged up on me and decided on their own what photos they wanted saved and what ones they wanted in Never-Never Land.  I lost at least half of my photos, if not more.

I have blog posts to write with planned pictures to go along with them.  I was going to write one today about meeting with another blogger couple who Mike and I recently met for dinner.  I had lovely sunrise photos of a cold and foggy Michigan morning that are all gone.   I took pictures of my dad and stepmother for a future post about them.   We photographed a beautiful Fireman’s Memorial I planned to write about in honor to the first responders all across our nation who picked up everything and volunteered to help in the Texas floods.  Those photos are gone.

I can live with this, truly, I can (I keep telling myself).  It’s not the end of the world and I will adjust and come up with a solution.  I can adapt and survive–I may not be happy about it, but I will do it.  Blogs without photos will have to be okay.

It brought to mind how everything as we know it can disappear in a moment.  My digital life is nothing compared to people who have lost their homes, their livelihood, family members, and sense of security.  My struggles are nothing compared to those who fight for their ability to survive or fight to regain what they’ve lost.

It put things in perspective for me, of course.  It made me embarrassed for being so upset over something that, in reality, isn’t that important.   The loss of data reminded me that memories are forever in my heart, cherished moments with family are always a part of me, and to be fully present in every single adventure.  All of the data is still there where it matters–it’s filed away on a permanent hard drive that makes me who I am.

The floods in Texas have put perspective in the hearts of many.  Watching the way everyday people have become heroes has been inspiring.  So many first responders from all over the country dropped everything to assist.  Other states have sent help with gas, oil, etc.  Churches and private organizations have donated food, personal items, clothing, etc.  Carpenters, builders, and other talented workers have signed up for the rebuilding. It’s nothing short of remarkable how the simple act of helping our neighbors lessens the overwhelming burden of recovery.

Our hearts and prayers (and donations) continue to go out to everyone dealing with the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey.

With prayers, gratitude, and admiration,





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  1. Thanks for sharing this story. We sometimes determine for everything to be so perfect that we forget we are still so fortunate.

    1. He’s working on recovery. I think I really mucked it up, though, in the transfer–‘the cloud’ has never been my friend. I just need to remember to leave the technical stuff up to Mike. 🙁 It’s all good.

  2. Sorry for your loss. I totally understand the initial reaction. With all the concerts we go to, I’d be devastated as well! No cloud storage? I don’t use cloud either much. You are right, what’s a few pictures from your computer lost compared to all the loss in Texas and the fires across the country.

  3. We can only imagine your frustration Dawn over the incident with you laptop. We can relate on many levels but it seems you have a great attitude about the whole thing. And yes we can put it all in perspective when looking at the folks in Texas.

  4. It’s soooo frustrating about computers not working. Love your outlook about seeing past it and recognizing others going through frustrating times as well. 🙂

  5. You are handling the data loss quite well. I don’t do “the cloud” but I do have several external hard drives and I back everything up at least once a month. The mobilization of ‘every day’ folks and first responders has been nothing short of astounding. We had a couple rigs come to this park from the flooded area. I can’t imagine what they are all going through!

    1. I’ve been keeping my ‘active’ photos ready for blogging, video, etc., and I backup when they are complete. I’ve learned the hard way to change my routine and backup immediately. Still have to work around the bluetooth thing, but at least I am now aware and won’t lose more photos. My cloud is seriously messed up, and I didn’t trust it in the first place (for good reason!). I hope the rigs in your campground from the floods are doing well and have good news from back home. Take care.

  6. Oh CRAP! Dawn …. Yes, I’m sure I’d be as upset (maybe more so) than you at the loss of that data, but you hit the nail on the head when you told us how we come to realize how truly fortunate and blessed we are to be able to live this lifestyle with the ones we love, making new great friends along the way. We’re looking forward to meeting you both again soon!

  7. Oh Dawn … I felt your pain in this post. It can be terrible to lose the photos and other important data. But you did put it all into perspective. Tell Mike to get you a secondary drive. haha #BEP #TDF

  8. I so feel your pain here, Dawn! I once thought I lost my entire book (first book) when my computer crashed! Fortunately, I was able to save it, but I did lose many pictures! Your are so right about these tragedies putting things into perspective! I love ya Sis!

    1. Thanks, Russ! So glad you didn’t lose your first book! I lost a lot of photos of Dad and Linda–especially ones of him and Mike changing the brakes on the truck. Just loved them because he was in his element. But, I can take more while here. Love you, too!

  9. I use Dropbox cloud storage and have it set so that when I take a pix with my phone, as soon as I get to wifi, it automatically uploads to a folder for me to look at or relocate to another folder later. So far I’m using 42meg of 1 TB for $99/year. I don’t know that that’s the best deal out there, but it works for me and is pretty much automatic backup. I use it for photos and videos only, not sensitive files, those I back up to flash drive

    1. I’ve learned the hard way. My system has been to keep my “active” photos on my phone and computer until I’ve completed a blog or video and then back them up. Not anymore–I’ve learned, I’ve learned, I’ve learned. It’s still a mystery why the others were lost when syncing–Mike’s tried everything. It’s all good, though. 🙂 My photos and video are going to Dropbox now, too. Hope all is well! Dawn

  10. Photos not backed up to an external hard drive or the cloud? My phone (albeit Android not Apple) transfers all images to the cloud as I take them. This is a simple setting, assuming you have sufficient data. Throw the phone in toilet and smash the computer, nothing need be lost besides your equanimity. New computer and new phone and all the data is there. I do understand the sense of loss, but it may arm you to prevent loss in the future. Computers and phones are things, easily replaceable. Data and pictures may be irreplaceable.

  11. OMG Dawn! I feel your pain – and you’re so right about putting it into perspective. There are SO many who are losing so many of their prized possessions and memories. But still…it hurts when computer snafus affect us personally. I thought I had lost my ENTIRE photo library – thankfully I didn’t. The scare put me back into regularly backing up and saving the drive in a fireproof save. And just today I lost a Youtube movie in progress – 8 minutes of video that cost me 6 hours of my time. It SUCKS – but all you have to do is think of all the people currently affected by fires and hurricanes – and I feel so blessed to have such minor problems. Thank you for sharing such a heart felt and eloquent article that we can all relate to.

    1. I hate losing data, but it could have been worse. I just might have been more upset with losing the 8 minutes of video and time spent editing it. 🙂 I hope you recovered. I’m backing up now, for sure. Safe travels!!!

  12. Thank you for your post. Now, I don’t feel alone in the world of computers. I haven’t spilled coffee on my laptop – yet, but I have had my share of mess ups.

    1. I’m so technically challenged. I keep telling my husband it’s only because I have so much room in my brain and it’s too full with more important stuff. He reminds me that technology helps with that, but I’m not so sure. Thank you so much for stopping by and reading! Dawn

  13. I don’t understand the cloud! I’m sorry for the loss of your photos, I know what that’s like. But the perspective you offered in this post is valuable, thank you!

    1. Yeah, I’m learning all about that ‘cloud.’ I think mine were there, I just messed up a setting when I synced it all up. It’s all sorted out now. I’ve just learned not to mess with it without asking Mike first. 🙂 I’m so technically challenged!

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