She was, at the time, living in the upstairs apartment of her father's house. The upper floor had been converted, lo these many years ago, into a seperate apartment, with kitchen and everything. But her father's health had deteriorated; he had diabetic neuropathy in his legs and diabetic dementia and a host of other diabetes-related health problems. (Reason: when Social Services finally convinced him to go to the hospital, his blood glucose was 360, which is three times the normal upper limit.) (At the time, that is. Now the upper limit is 110 mg/dl.)
My girlfriend did not get along well with her father--partly becuase if you look in the dictionary you'd see his picture next to the definition of "stubborn"--and she kept different hours than he; the house was built such that she could come and go without seeing him most of the time. So she didn't know how bad his health had gotten, and because his mind was going, too, he didn't think to call her and tell her "I need help". Besides, he was too stubborn to ask for help.
At the point that a pizza deliveryman called Social Services, he had been sitting in the same chair for a month. Straight. He couldn't get up to go to the bathroom; do the math. Social Services sent someone to remonstrate with him, and he was given an ultimatum: go to the hospital of his own free will...or be ruled mentally incompetent and go to the hospital anyway
He went; and as far as I know he never went home. I went there to bring my GF some supplies, and while I was waiting to ask which exam room he was in, I overheard the attending physician talking to another on the phone, describing him as a "train wreck". (This was before HIPAA, by the way.)
Once he was healthy enough to be turfed, he was put into a nursing home to "recover"; but no one thought he was going to get enough of his faculties back to live on his own again.
And so, my girlfriend needed a place to live, because her siblings gave her an ultimatum: she could continue to live in the house and pay for all the utilities; or she could move out.
Paying all the utilities--that place was a drafty old shack with a bad foundation; it cost $400 per month just to heat the place in winter. Electricity, in summer, was $300 per month to keep the place at a livable temperature.
I offered her my spare bedroom. At that point I'd been unemployed for almost six months, and it would help me to have a roommate--especially one I knew I could trust--to share the cost of the place.
But because she was going to be living in the other bedroom, I had to get all my crap out of it--which meant storing some stuff in my garage.
One thing that I stored was my spare LD player.
Now, at the time, I had a perfectly functional Pioneer SD-104 LD player. It was not the greatest LD player on the planet, but it did what I needed, and I liked it. My brother had wanted to get rid of his LD player; I fixed his computer and he gave it to me as payment--I figured it wouldn't hurt to have a spare, since by then DVD had erased LD from existence.
So I had this spare player and no room for it, but plenty of space in the garage--so what did I do?
I put the spare player--a Sony--into a garbage bag. To keep moisture from ruining it, I--this is the ironic part--put some Damp Rid in a small ziplock bag that I'd punched some holes in. I sealed the garbage bag, and put the LD player--thus entombed--on a shelf in the garage.
So far so good, right? It's in a sealed container, up off the floor, in an environment protected from extremes in temperature. Right? Right?
When I moved back to Illinois in 2003, I had occasion to notice that the HP Deskjet that I had similarly entombed was full of water, the Damp Rid nowhere to be found.
...because the Damp Rid had absorbed more water than it could handle and turned into a thin goo, a solution of Damp Rid and water.
The LD player? The entire bottom of the thing was rust.
Problem one is that the garage was not as dry an environment as I'd thought. Humidity could get in and had nowhere to go.
Problem two is that it was in there for more than 18 months.
Problem three is that the bag wasn't sealed as well as it should have been.
...and so here I am, taking a break from trying to see if the LD player can be made to work. It's been sitting in the basement for a couple of years, waiting for me to take the time to screw around with it to see if it's still usable. And right now, the answer is "no", because for some reason the load mechanism refuses to work correctly. And it's not even an electronic problem, as far as I can tell! *sigh*
The real irony, as I said, is that if I hadn't put any Damp Rid in the bag with the damned thing, it probably would have been fine....
It worked before I stored it, damn it.
Anyway, so that's my thrilling adventure du jour. Isn't it fascinating and wonderful?