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Picture's a cold Saskatchewan day

With all of Saskatchewan and most of Western Canada under the tenacious grip of a nasty cold spell, many folks unfamiliar with bone-chilling temperatures such as -40 C, are no doubt wondering how those of us living in this polar vortex manage to keep sane.

Thankfully the days of being cooped up in a remote farmhouse with no access to the outside world are a thing of the past. Modern technology and better vehicles keep cabin fever at bay. But as unpleasant as the weather might be, these deep freeze conditions can be an excellent opportunity to attend to long-avoided tasks.

For me, the task has been organizing my photos. After retiring from teaching, I promised myself that I would finally deal with the thousands of photos that we have amassed over the past 48 years. Throughout this time, I tried to maintain some system of order (usually chronological), but my best efforts have fallen short. But to be fair, there are valid reasons for the sorry state of my photo collection.

Our first camera purchased back in 1972 did not have a feature to record the date. When we did upgrade to a better model, someone did not take the time to set this feature. (I conveniently blame my husband for this oversight.) How much easier my life would have been if only we had turned on that setting.

Instead I find myself scanning the faces of my children when they were toddlers, trying to determine if they might be three or four years old in the photo. (It’s not as easy as you might think.) If a birthday cake happens to be in the image, I try to count the candles through squinty eyes. (It doesn’t help that I have been known to use my famous bunny cake for several of their birthdays.)

Another problem thwarting my best intentions is that over the years various family members have removed pictures from albums and have somehow neglected to return these to their proper place. (You know who you are.) And all the sticky notes in the world inserted into those empty spaces does not offer much help since photos don’t magically put themselves back in their rightful spots. As a result, I have a box full of various pictures which need to find a home.

Deciding on how to organize my photos has been another stumbling block. I have made albums for my children and grandchildren, but then there is Christmas, family vacations, community events, and, well…you get the idea. That means pictures have been pulled from different envelopes without properly documenting where they might have originated. (Okay, that one’s on me.)

My saving grace has been the use of three-ring binders which have removeable sheets. That means if I inadvertently miss inserting some pictures, I don’t have to go back and remove photos to make room for the ones I left out. I just simply insert a page. That also means that I now have a stack of older-styled albums that I no longer need. (Time to list them on the garage sale site.)

Speaking of older-styled albums, remember those sticky-paged books with the clear overlay? Well, the glue is not the best way to preserve photos, so I have painstakingly removed them all, being careful not to damage those precious memories. (That was a project during the cold snap of 2015.)

Organizing my photos has been a project of mine for the past several years (I am ashamed to admit exactly how many), but the end is in sight. There is a light at the end of the tunnel. Thanks to this current cold spell I might finally complete this task.

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