In the back of the lighthouse there is a room where the tours don't go, the all-important Radio Room. This is where the maritime radio lives. The room is where the keepers spend a lot of time because this is also the place we keep a television, a CD player and two computers. One of the computers, a laptop, lived on a table in front of a large window with the best view of the ocean at the lighthouse. The table was also home to a computer printer and a wide array of papers and other documents awaiting some sort of filing system. The problem was the cats.
Cats shouldn't compute
Two cats live at the lighthouse, a dainty blond named Bonnie and a very overweight yet lovable tortoise shell 3-year-old named Crystal. The cats love to sit in front of the radio room window and watch their world go by. Being cats they like to perch themselves on the best viewing platform which happens to be the computer printer. This would not normally be a problem except the buttons for the printer are on top. The cats will step on a button and produce any number of interesting printed pages from how to install a new ink cartridge to whatever document was in the print spooler at the time. We were going through a lot of paper.
For the sake of the cats
We decided the solution to our problem was a second computer desk so we could let the cats have an unencumbered viewing platform on the table by the window. This may sound like an easy solution to our problem but anyone who has ever put a computer system together would rather go through the Spanish Inquisition than try to keep all those wires going to the right places.
Our first hurdle was to find an affordable computer desk. We looked all over Crescent City with no luck. We ended up going to Eureka and found a reasonably priced desk; all we needed to do was put it together. Anyone who has ever put together furniture in kit form knows that the instructions were probably written by someone in a third world country trying hard to communicate using pictures. Between the time it took to put this silly desk together and the cost of gas to go round trip to Eureka we could have saved time and money having a carpenter build us a desk. Now that we had the desk, the real work began: unplugging, moving and reconnecting two computers. Have you ever taken something apart and after putting it back together found that you had extra parts left over? Well...
After spending an entire day on this project and running the risk of a total meltdown, I am pleased to report that at least the cats are happy.
Randy Ansley, the Battery Point Lighthouse keeper, can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.