Bits of Life

This is a cocooning sort of day, with dark skies, mist instead of the expected rain, and solitude. It wasn’t supposed to be a day of isolation — workers were supposed to come, and I was supposed to take my car to the mechanic.

It’s no wonder the workers didn’t come — with 80% chance of rain, this wouldn’t have been a good time to do any of my outside work, so I wasn’t really expecting them.

I did take my car to the mechanic, but he was closed. In these “Bob” times, it’s a bit worrisome, but there have been other such dreary days when he didn’t go to work for whatever reason. Sometimes he’s there with the doors since he prefers to use rainy days to get caught up, but today wasn’t one of those days. The real issue, for me, is that there is only one day a week when he can work on my car. He doesn’t work weekends, and he can’t work around my work schedule — he needs the car the whole day, to give it plenty of time to run after he’s replaced the ignition to make sure all the parts “talk” to each other, and he leaves his shop before I get off work — so the only day that’s left is Monday.

My main concern was with the car starting after sitting for so long (because of the ignition problems, I didn’t want to drive, and it took a little bit more than three weeks for the part to come in), but my trusty VW started right up. It’s been perfect temperatures for the car — warm enough to keep the engine from freezing and the battery from being depleted, cool enough to keep the gas in the fuel lines from evaporating. I’m hoping the mechanic is fine and that we will be back on track for next Monday, though maybe, since he missed work today, he will be willing to stay open later one day this week to give himself plenty of time to work on the car.

Either way, it’s okay. It’s not as if I drive a lot. If it weren’t for my sporadic concern about the car sitting for so long, I probably wouldn’t even have noticed I wasn’t driving. That’s the benefit of having a grocery store within walking distance and friends who invite me to go shopping with them.

And for more localized news: the wind has been quiet today, but yesterday, after I posted my blog, it blew fiercely. Luckily, my little gnome and his home survived the winds without moving. One of my solar lights didn’t fare as well, so when I got back home after my truncated trip to the mechanic, I spent several minutes picking up bits of glass.

Also, after I posted the photos of my rocky garden yesterday, I grabbed a couple of shovels of the red “breeze” gravel that’s to be used for my pathways, and sprinkled in on the ground in the rocky garden to give it a bit of color. It’s funny — I almost felt as if I were doing something wrong, as if I were stealing from the workmen. Even if the gravel belonged to them, they wouldn’t mind sharing a shovel’s worth, but it finally dawned on me that the gravel is mine. I paid for it, so I can do with it what I wish, especially since they’re not here to work with it.

That’s all my news for the day. That’s what happens when one is living in a cocoon, no matter how temporary (though come to think of it, cocoons by definition are temporary), nothing major seems to happen. Just bits of life.


Pat Bertram is the author of Grief: The Inside Story – A Guide to Surviving the Loss of a Loved One. “Grief: The Inside Story is perfect and that is not hyperbole! It is exactly what folk who are grieving need to read.” –Leesa Healy, RN, GDAS GDAT, Emotional/Mental Health Therapist & Educator

4 Responses to “Bits of Life”

  1. Estragon Says:

    A little FYI on the car battery…
    Cool/cold weather slows down the chemical reactions. A fully charged battery won’t freeze until something like -70, but apparent capacity is reduced as it cools. At around freezing, the apparent capacity might be something like 2/3 of that at room temperature. The apparent capacity loss is only temporary though, and should return to normal when the battery gets warmed.

    If the battery is going to sit, it’s actually better for it to be cool/cold. Because the chemistry is slower, self-discharge is also lower. Unlike the apparent loss of capacity when the battery is cold, the faster self-discharge when hot has to be replaced by recharging. If the battery sits in the heat in a partially charged state, it can lose capacity more or less permanently as sulfate hardens. Modern cars also have lots of “vampire” loads (eg. radio presets) adding to the self-discharge problem unless the battery is disconnected.

    In my experience, lone-wolf mechanics tend to be prone to what I call the 26oz flu, particularly on Mondays. FWIW.

    • Pat Bertram Says:

      Interesting to know about the battery. I wondered why it could start up immediately without any problem.

      I’ve had batteries lose power in the winter, but the first time it happened in the summer, it kind of shocked me. So the car sitting in the summer is a lot worse than it sitting in the winter.

  2. Uthayanan Says:

    Une question :
    If it is not far and you would like to drive your car for the battery maintaining it is ok. It is strange for me when there is only one person why you never telephone before go to see your mechanic ?
    At lest you can avoid a disappointment !
    I don’t mind driving 1000 miles if it is necessary. But I am not fond of cars. After my wife’s departure I lost interest in driving.
    I drive only twice a month for the battery. Until last Monday it is prohibited to leave more than 10 kilometers from your home without permission. Because of pandemic is still strong in Paris and around I take rarely metro.

    • Pat Bertram Says:

      This was the first time he wasn’t there when I went for the appointment. It turns out he had a good excuse — he got his Covid shot, and ended up being sick for four days. The drive didn’t matter — I needed to start my car anyway.

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