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Suddenly, It's Butterfly Season

There are times in life when one thing leads to another and before you know it, there are butterflies everywhere. Such is the state of our household these days as we work through a series of unintended projects with unintended results. As a retired project manager, I must say it can feel humbling. The Wikipedia definition of “butterfly effect” seems to fit perfectly.

“In chaos theory, the butterfly effect is the sensitive dependence on initial conditions in which a small change in one state of a deterministic nonlinear system can result in large differences in a later state.” Wikipedia

We have actually had two recent examples of this phenomenon, but I will only deal with one here, as I am afraid that explaining both would require surrender of my PM credentials. I will note, however, that this second bit of chaos actually started while the first was in mid-stream. Completely unrelated but still suspicious, especially if your name is Harry Bosch. I am a fan of Harry’s, and I agree: there are no coincidences, especially when murder or garage doors are involved. Thankfully, our case involves our garage door, not murder. Although, there have been moments. Ah, but I digress. Don’t worry, this whole story is one of digression. But let’s start at the beginning.

Late one evening our garage door went off the rails as it lowered. Let’s call this “Butterfly Zero” to mark the start of the chaos and decline of my checking account. It did not take long to determine the cause, a broken spring. With the door stuck about three feet above ground and obviously askew, I made midnight adjustments to enclose the opening and conceal the problem as best as possible. The next morning I called a local garage door firm. This being the age of Covid, they said their first open slot was a week away (why would they blame anything else?). Sometimes you just gotta wait, so we did. It took an hour for the technician to replace both springs and get the door back in operation. I was happy to pay the bill and see him on his way.

The fix lasted exactly one week (Butterfly #1). My immediate suspicion was that the fix had not been done correctly. A few days later the owner and a different tech got us back in operation, but I heard enough of the cross talk to know my suspicion is well founded. But, at last, the door was finally fixed. But wait, there’s more! The door still has issues because it’s nearly thirty years old. It works but for how long? Yep, you guessed it. We need a new garage door (Butterfly #2).

“Chaos: When the present determines the future, but the approximate present does not approximately determine the future.”Wikipedia

Strangely, I did not go to the same firm for the replacement door. After a bit of investigating, I found the guy I wanted and we ordered a new door. But we have to empty half of the garage (our warehouse) of storage so they can do the installation (Butterfly #3). To do that we need something to store all the storage in. Answer: the largest truck rental option I could find (Butterfly #4). Then, you know what, as long as we have to move all this stuff, let’s do some purging and clean-up (Butterfly #5). Naturally, this process has turned into a big project as our garage is full of stuff, which is what happens when you retire, move, downsize … and don’t get rid of much. So we are going through boxes, culling, donating, and combining as we go, and putting everything into new heavy-duty totes (Butterfly #6).

Then Butterfly #7 landed in my office: several boxes (just the first installment I am sure) of old family photos, loose and not sorted, most on prints but a few hundred on 35mm slides. Someone has to take on the chore of culling, sorting, scanning, and distributing all these memories, and I think I know who that is going to be. 😐


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