Monday, June 10, 2013

Newer Isn't Necessarily Better

Life is full of little lessons. Who knew that a broken camera could remind me to appreciate what I have ...

I went to snap a picture of the kids Friday morning and the camera was out of focus. Of course I didn't realize it was out of focus at the time. I thought I must have dropped the lens in a vat of oil. But wiping off the lens did nothing to help the situation. It was then, that I had a vague recollection of dropping the camera. So, I batted the camera around (rather) forcefully in hopes of knocking things back into place (hey!, it worked for Fred Flintstone's amnesia).

Nothing worked. So I was forced to feed my Kijiji addiction and I scoured the ads. I found what I assume was a bargain. A never-been-out-of-the-box camera that someone had won from a home lottery. I googled the camera and it looked like it would do the trick. I would have paid $130 for it in the store. I bought it for $75.

Once the battery was charged, I was eager to find out what my new camera could do for me. It has a few little bells and whistles that I didn't have before (sound options which allow me to have a dog barking or a chick cheeping in lieu of your regular, old shutter and button sound effects and various ways to 'have fun' with your photos...).

What I didn't realize, is exactly what a memory card does for you. My other camera was a gift and I do remember being told about the memory card. But since I continually download the pictures off of my camera onto the computer, I really didn't think that I was fully utilizing the memory card. That is, until I tried using this camera without one. I could take approximately six pictures and had room for about five seconds of video.

As I played around with my new toy, I slowly realized that the camera I now have is not as good as the camera that I had. Not having shopped for my previous camera nor having a great deal of knowledge about camera features, I assumed that what I bought would be close to what I had. Close is the operative word. It will be just fine for my purposes ... but I wish that I had realized what I had before I lost it.

Not too long ago, our vacuum cleaner audibly sighed its last breath and died. It was sudden and it was final. The motor - the heart of the vaccum cleaner - was gone.

I could live without a stove without greatly impacting life-as-we-know-it. The same could be said for many of our kitchen appliances. But the vacuum cleaner?! At the height of the mud and dirt during the spring season? I was out shopping for a vacuum cleaner faster than you can say 'Clean it up!'

I just needed a quick fix. Anything with a canister and power nozzle would do. Or so I thought. We brought home our new toy and it was soon put to use. Hmmm ... it was nothing like what we had before.

From width of the power nozzle, to the ease of changing attachments, to the inability to carry the attachments within the vacuum cleaner itself. Little things. But I missed our old vacuum cleaner with the few extra features that it had. I didn't appreciate those little things until they were gone.

Then there is our cat.

Andre is a senior citizen among cats. We know this. We appreciate who he is and what he has to offer just the way he is. He still has kitten moments, but they don't last long. His lack of appetite has been a concern for the past six months. He is slowing down and it is sad. And it is scary. The very thought of losing our precious most-favorite-cat-in-the-world breaks my heart. He is still here. And we fully appreciate Andre for the cat that he is and always has been. He has filled our hearts and home with a special brand of cat-love like we will never know again. And he still does ...

Then we got 'Ray'. Our New Cat. Ray is the new model among cats. He comes with all of the bells and whistles that come with young age. He has energy. He has personality. He loves all and shares his affections generously. He is an up and comer in the cat world. He is a likeable guy. And we are keeping him.

It breaks my heart to see the contrast between our Senior Cat and our New Cat. Our new model is not necessarily better ... but his warranty will not expire as soon as Andre's. If all goes according to the natural law of aging, we will lose Andre first.

While our new model of 'cat' will fill a part of our hearts ... he will be nothing like the original. He has pretty big paws to fill.

That which is new comes at a price. Newer isn't always better. It helps us appreciate what we once had. The sad part, is that it is often too late by then.

Treat what you have with care. You may be able to replace or live without what you already have ... but it will never be the same again.

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