Last Friday, I was the victim of a house burglary. Nobody was at home at the time (thankfully), but amongst the personal possessions they stole were my laptop, some Nintendo DSi's, jewelry and some other odds and ends. All-and-all, they could have made off with a lot more and things of a lot higher value.
The laptop, however, was the biggest blow. It was full of family pictures that I hadn't burned to CD, but along with I was my entire geocaching life. All the notes for puzzles and multi-caches that I solved and still was working on, some really cool Google Earth stuff that I had (Including a layer for the new DeLorme map I was working on) and all the cache pictures I have taken over my 3 years of geocaching.
Despite it all, you can't keep a good cacher down and after setting up a fresh start on GSAK on a loaner computer my awesome brother let me borrow, I didn't miss a beat on my daily cache challenge. Granted, it was still a major blow, but for the love of the game and the fact that I was NOT going to allow burglars to take that or anything away from me, I kept my chin up and I'm moving forward.
That being said, I have some suggestions on keeping your Geocaching life moving forward despite the pitfalls you may encounter.
- I strongly recommend that you create password protected user accounts for everyone using your PC, laptop or portable devices. Luckily I had that in place. Most pawn shops require people to prove they can log into the computer before making he deal. If not, they typically won't touch it because they realize that it might be hot. If you can't log in, it probably doesn't belong to them. In my case, the laptops are probably gone and since they can't log into them, they will either wipe them clean (which means they won't get your personal stuff) or they will ditch it.
- Get the serial and model #s off of everything if you are not already doing so.
- Back up everything! Anything you want to keep, GSAK, Google Earth, pictures, song's etc. Get them on CD or flash drive and hide them for later. Do this often, in that you don't know if your device will be stolen, lost or crash. It just so happens that I was planning on doing just that the night before the event. I was going to spend the weekend backing stuff up, but the situation that occurred basically freed up my weekend.
- If you have a list of passwords printed. Hide it! Don't leave it out. That was one mistake I made from paying bills the night before, but luckily these guys were pretty stupid and didn't know what was of real value and could cause real damage. Took a while to change my passwords on everything.
- Lastly, don't give up! Don't let them know they one and give up what you love to do best just because they interrupted your life. I kept going and you should too!\
I have to tell this part of the tale too. My GPSr was sitting right on top of my laptop when they stole it, but they did not take it! (Whew!) Just goes to show you that crooks are NOT cachers!
To all. Be fun, be safe and cache on!\