The saga of the disappearing stuff.

by Elizabeth on March 5, 2012

pic by aussiegall@Flickr, creative commons


Y’know, when I warned of periodic silences, this isn’t quite what I meant.

See, I knew, coming into 2012, that February was going to be kind of a Hell Month for me.  Some big deadlines, both personally and professionally, and some things I absolutely had to clean up before being able to move forward with a more simplified version of life in general.  And being A Planner(tm), I thought I’d do the semi-responsible thing…I’d just pre-write about six weeks’ worth of stuff, schedule it all to go up when it was supposed to, and be able to focus on what it is that needed focus for the month.

So there were a couple late nights in January.  (I know.  That goes against the whole “finding balance” thing, but I didn’t see much of a way around it.)  A couple of days where I literally wrote every day, sometimes for ten hours a day.  I made worksheets.  I made an editorial calendar.  I scheduled in some Me Time, because that’s what you’re supposed to do.  I did, essentially, the Responsible Thing that planning people do.

Enter the wrench.

About three days into Hell Month (because, really, that’s what it was), I tried to access the forums, and found that nothing was there.  So much nothing, in fact, that the whole domain didn’t resolve.  (That’s when you get those nasty “page not found” errors.)  In a panic, I tried to get the blog….and nothing.  I tried all of the other domains on my webhost (about thirty of them or so).

Zip.  Nada.  Not a thing.

I took a series of deep breaths.  Because, really, when technology goes all wonkified, that’s about all you can do until the web gets its proverbial head out of it’s even more proverbial bee-hind.  Deep breaths.  And maybe some drinking.  Heavy drinking, to dull the sting of knowing you just did something that could be Very Very Bad.

The gin was premature, however.  The unspecified something wasn’t actually my fault (in this one case…usually, it’s from me pushing a red, shiny, candylike button or six and finding that no, in fact, I don’t know as much as I thought I did….), it was my webhosting company.  Every single person with a service like mine was down.

Four hours went by.  Drinking started to be more of an option.

Eight hours.  Ten hours.  I passed out.  (From stress, not from the gin.  I actually don’t drink.)

More than twenty four hours later, with only a thin apology from the company claiming some kind of security update gone horribly wrong, I was finally able to get back into my own websites.

Only to find that all six weeks of Hell Month content was…gone.  Poof.  Finito.

And since, by that point, I was actually in Hell Month, there was no time to recreate any of it.  And, honestly, I was in a little bit of grieving shock that it was all gone.  The thought of even looking at the back end of Finer Fruits made me break out in spontaneous hives.  (Not literally.  But I did get a little weepy.)

So I made an executive decision or two.

While I wasn’t giving up on my year-long quest, or giving up on FF in general, I had to just be kind to my brain and honor the fact that it really was Hell Month.  I stepped back, decided to just leave it alone for the month, fix the database for the forums so they’d still be there, and walk away until I had more mental resources with which to deal with it.

After all, half-assed posts wouldn’t do anybody any good, and would just prolong Hell Month by giving me one more thing to do, anyway.  I had to get a little zen about it, or fall right back into the pattern of just sitting here at the keyboard doing nothing else but producing…which, really, just means half-assed content anyway.

The good news:

Hell Month is, largely, over.  There’s about a week or so left.  Maybe ten days, since scope-creep kind of slurked into a few of the things going on.  But the light at the end of this particular tunnel is, finally, not the headlights of an oncoming train.  Which means that, if nothing else explodes, melts, or otherwise has a “security upgrade issue” (grrr.), we’re just about ready to head back into everything on a regular basis.

One thing the time off taught me (other than the fact that there really are just things you can’t control) is that rigid timetables are kind of dumb for me.  I’m still going to try to follow the FF basic format, but I’m going to be relying a little more on the forums for sharing. And there may be more than one week of stuff, if it’s a particularly interesting/challenging topic.  So things are shaking up here just a bit.  Fair warning.

So strap on your running shoes, folks.

It’s time to start thinking again about balance and growth.  (And maybe some chickens.  We’ll talk about that later, though.)

Hop on by the forums if you haven’t been there in a while.  Things are about to get interesting. :)

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