Dust and Old Power Converters

Can a new laptop lead you to redecorate a house?

Maybe not, but it dang sure caused a lot of mid-winter cleaning around here.

I got a new MacBook Pro for Christmas. It’s sooooo cool. I can hardly contain myself.

My old computer was one of the very first G-4s, and we got it almost ten years ago, when Maria was probably two. When I got it, Apple was running commercials about how it was the fastest computer on the planet…classified as a military weapon…yadda, yadda, yadda. It’s the fourth Mac I’ve bought since my first Mac 512K Enhanced back in 1985. (If you’re eager to read that history, knock yourself out.)

Ten years later? The G-4 is not so fast anymore. So, it’s very cool to get the upgrade. And I knew it would mean the chance for a brand new round of home recording and working wirelessly. Which got me thinking about the mess of wires under my desk. Which got me doing something about it.

So, yesterday I started in pulling apart all the wires from underneath the desk.

Which led to a decision to go through the two boxes of wires/cabling that have been sitting here next to the desk since we moved in.

Which led to Dennise join in and go through about five bankers boxes of mail and other crap that have collected over the years.

I use the word “crap” with all due affection, as some of this was actually my child’s precious school work, dating back to kindergarten. But, like wires under the desk, it builds up. Lot’s of the rest of it was junk mail, or other old bills.

So, here’s what I discovered…

First, I found that I probably had ten to fifteen orphaned power converters stored away. They probably went to things like old wireless phones, old routers, old pre-amps for old mics, old Palm Pilots, old video cameras, old…you get the idea.

Each of them seemed to have the standard plug for the wall socket. But each of them also seems to have a completely proprietary adapter on the other end. So, with no components to go with them any more, my question is this:

Why did I ever save this stuff?!!

What was I thinking I was going to do with it? And what was I planning to do with the yards and yards of old TV cable? Or the stereo cable that I used twenty years ago in an old apartment? Or the old phone adapters of all kinds that I’ve bought at Radio Shack through the years? Or the old instrument cables I bought in high school? Or the old stereo-plug adapters that broke mono into a split signal? (for some reason I no longer remember…)

Yes, all that crap was dutifully saved in two boxes here in the room. But here’s the final, ugly truth….the monster below that iceberg tip…

For years and years, out in the garage, there was a duffle bag full of MORE cables and electrical crap. I mean a *huge* infantry-soldier-sized duffle bag.

What was I planning for all *those*cables?

I looked for the duffle in the garage, but couldn’t find it. Which makes me think Dennise threw it away years ago and just didn’t ever tell me.

Clearly, I have not missed it. So, I went through all that was left. And I tossed about ninety percent of it, buoyed by the realization that the duffle –with four times more crap– has probably been gone for a couple of years and never been missed.

So as I said, about midway into this, Dennise gets inspired and joins in the clean-up on her side of the study/studio. Which led us to the very quick realization that if we were going to clean all the crap out of *this* room, we would need to finally clean some *other* crap out of the garage, so that we’d have room to put the new crap (new to the garage, of course).

That led to one HUGE trip to Goodwill, and an equally big trip to the Dry Cleaners to return….um…I’m not going to tell you how many clothes hangers.

Anyway, we got the garage crap cleaned out. We went through three desks of drawers, and a couple of file cabinets. I put away tons of old CDs (photos, sound files, etc..), books, assorted guitar gadgets, stacks of papers I still need to go through….and the result is something like this.

Moving the boxes of crap out has allowed me to move all the guitars to one convenient area. I also moved our other instruments over there too. It looks like this now.

So, all that led to rehanging some pictures on the wall in the room, which led to rehanging pictures in some other rooms too. Which had led to thoughts about new furniture. But that’s gonna be way down the road.

Which is what got me wondering if a new laptop could help redecorate an entire house.

I am led to several observations. The first will be obvious to any musician of any gender. Our grandparents used to keep immaculate garages, filled with every conceivable gadget. My grandfather had tools lining every wall of his Kentucky garage (and the stairwell too). He had rows and rows of jars filled with nuts, bolts, and god knows what else. Many a grandmother used to keep immaculate kitchens, filled with all kinds of utensils.

Most of us don’t have those kind of garages or kitchens anymore. But for a lot of us, our studios/computer kiosks have become those havens in our homes.

I’m lucky enough to have two desks, really. One with the computer and music studio. The other is a genuine writing desk, an old roll top that used to be in the office at my grandfather’s Bar and Grill. I refinished it by hand in the first years we were married, and it’s a place where a lot of good writing has gotten done, even back to when I was in high school.

A second observation is about the accumulation of dust and old power converters. Jeez, it just piles up when you’re not noticing, yes? I heard, long ago, that one of the main ingredients in most household dust is human skin.

I know. It’s creepy.

But it’s also deeply metaphorical. As we move through this life, things that used to give us life and, ahem, energy get left laying around. They gather dust. We keep the power chords –just in case we need them– long after we’ve ditched the tools.

I don’t like the word “resolution.” I don’t know why. I think maybe it just sounds too pompous to me. Resolute people worry me sometimes. But I *do* like the word “intention.” Because, really, in the end, all we’ve got are our intentions. They might line the road to hell, but it seems to me they light the path to heaven too.

So, I have two intentions for the year:
1) Journal.
2) Walk.

I love journalling. Blogging gets at some of it for me, but not all. Several years back, I put down the serious journaling I used to do. I want to pick it back up, just for my sake. It’s an interior intention, really. Just telling you because I can.

I also love to walk. And I have been inspired during the holidays by the story of my friend, Tom Prasada-Rao, and his “Gramps.” The bad news is that Gramps, who lives in the DC area, was lost for several days but eventually found in a Hospital ICU, the victim of a hit and run. The good news is that he seems to be improving every day.

The incredible news is that Gramps is 101-years-old!!! And a part of his own belief about his own longevity is the fact that he has walked something like 6-10 miles a day for most of his life. I might not be able to do *that* much. But I’m thinking some serious walking this year would do me some serious good. And, frankly, I just find his story inspiring.

That’s it. Just those two intentions. I used to do both of them quite a bit. I’m hoping to do more of them this year. And neither got totally clear in my head until I got this study fixed-up today and yesterday.

So then, a final question for YOU:

What old power adapters are *you* planning to ditch this year so you can make room for the things that give you real energy now?

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Eric Folkerth is a minister, musician, author and blogger. He has been Senior Pastor of Northaven United Methodist Church in Dallas, Texas since 2001. During his tenure, church membership has grown almost 30 percent, and a completely new church facility (sanctuary and education building) has been constructed. Northaven is a leading progressive Christian congregation in the Southwest. Northaven is an eclectic collection of gay and straight families, artists, musicians, theater folks, academic theologians, lawyers and judges (go figure), socially conscious community activists, people who don't "check their brain at the door," and a wide array of others who either see it as their "last chance" inside the "institutional church," or their first trip back in decades. Eric is an avid blogger and published author.  Eric is also an award-winning singer-songwriter, who performs throughout Texas and the Southwest. He's an engaging live performer whose first CD was released in 2000. His songs have won honorable mention in both the Billboard and Great American song contests; and he's been a finalist in the 5th Street Festival and South Florida Folk Festival songwriter competitions. Eric is also a leader of Connections, a unique band comprised of United Methodist clergy and layfolk from throughout North Texas. Connections performs "cover shows" of artists like Dan Fogelberg, Chicago, Eagles, Doobie Brothers, Billy Joel, Stevie Wonder, James Taylor and others. Their shows draw crowds of between 300 and 1,000 fans, and they have raised more than $240,000 dollars for worthy charities. Eric has led or co-led hundreds of persons on mission trips around the globe, to places such as Mexico, Haiti, Russia, and Nepal. He has worked with lay persons to build ten homes, and one Community Center, in partnership with Habitat for Humanity of Dallas. He's a popular preacher, and often tackles challenging issues of social justice in his writings and sermons. His wife, Judge Dennise Garcia, is a State District Judge for Dallas, County. As judge of the 303rd Family District Court, she consistently gets high ratings from area lawyers, and was named "best judge" by The Dallas Observer. First elected in 2004, she was the first Latina ever elected to a county-wide bench in Dallas County. She was re-elected for a third term in 2010. They have the world's best daughter, Maria, and an incredible dog, Daisy. (As always, if you like this post, then "like" this on Facebook by clicking the box below, so others can see too...)

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