Shooting Troubles

My second bedroom, which is more of second living room because it’s where I have my computer and where I read, has doubled as a storage area ever since I moved in. (A huge stack of boxes in the corner off to the right, boxes under the bed, more stuff under the tables I use for a desk.) Even though the garage isn’t done, it is inching along, so with the hope that someday it will be finished, I’ve been sorting through storage items and reboxing those that need it.

What would normally have been a task that took no more than a day, has taken me weeks because of my knee. Not only have I not been able to lift things or even stand much, I also had no energy since all my energy seemed to go toward healing the knee.

Well, today I woke up with energy, so I finished carting the boxes to my dining room. I know it sounds silly, just moving stuff around, but it’s been nice claiming the room at long last. Surprisingly, it’s a good-sized room with all the extraneous stuff out of there.

After that, I tightened all the bolts on the daybed because it’s been doing a lot of creaking and clacking, and found one screw missing. Finally, when I cleaned the room, I found the bolt several feet away from where it had fallen.

And after that, I tried troubleshooting my printer connection. For some unknown reason, after more than a year of compatibility, this computer decided it didn’t like the printer anymore. It would show one document pending, then a few seconds later, would show 0 documents pending. But no document printed. No matter what I tried (even doing some things in the command prompt that made me nervous), nothing worked. So I dragged out my old computer to print the document, but since I let my security program lapse, I had to install a new antivirus protection so I could download the file I emailed to myself.

As wonderful as computers are when they work, they are horrible when they don’t. I have a hunch this printer problem has to do with a Windows update, but since I don’t know which one or how long ago, all I can do is wait and hope the problem will fix itself with subsequent updates as sometimes happens (when further updates don’t make things worse, that is.)

So now I’m exhausted.

Because of the isolation, everyone I know has their system — their physiological system — screwed up, particularly their sleep/wake cycle. For most people, this means going to bed later and getting up later. For me, it’s the opposite: getting up with the sun and going to bed with the sun, so now, early afternoon feels like late evening.

What does one do when one gets up so early? If you live on a farm or a ranch, obviously, there is plenty of work waiting, but for a sedentary person? Not so much.

Well, except for today. Today I sure found plenty to do!

This wasn’t at all the way I thought this day would go. I’d planned an excursion to see if I could find a few plants to plant, but fire warnings and high winds scared me off. (And I was hesitant because of the knee anyway, but apparently that wouldn’t have been a problem.) By the time I finally get around to getting any plants, there probably won’t be any left and anyway, it will be too late to plant, if it’s not already.

There’s always next year, though.

I’m trying to find the theme in this particular offering because without a theme, blog entries so often sound like a child’s diary entry. And this one definitely does!

Maybe the theme is troubleshooting. My knee, my room, my daybed, my computer, my yard certainly are all causing (or have caused) troubles that needed to be shot.


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.

Circadian Rhythm Change

Despite the isolation and continued stay-at-home orders for seniors, there doesn’t seem to be much change in my life because I often go long periods of time without seeing people and I often struggle with meals — juggling what I should eat with what I want to eat with what’s available to eat. I have, however, noticed one rather puzzling difference: a change in my circadian rhythms.

I’d read of tests where people who have to rely on their own rhythms to set a sleep/wake cycle often deal with a longer day — going to sleep later each night and waking up later every morning. That was always true for me. When I had long stretches where I don’t have to get up at certain time every day, I found that I’d go to bed later and later. The only thing that would reset my internal clock was if I set my external clock and got up at the same time every morning. It wasn’t comfortable, and I was tired all the time — sort of like being on a constant self-imposed daylight savings time change — but it would keep my circadian rhythms on more of an even keel. (I’ve always felt best going to bed around midnight and getting up at nine in the morning, which played havoc with my system all those years when I had to get up to go to work.)

Now, however, my rhythms are going haywire. I tend to fall asleep during the day, and even with the naps, I often fall asleep early — as early as 8:00pm instead of my usual midnight. And I wake up early, sometimes as early as 4:00am. I didn’t even know there was such a time! Yesterday, I managed to fall asleep again and slept in until 7:00am, but this morning I was up at 5:30.

I don’t know what to do with those early hours. I don’t want to read that early in the morning because . . . actually, I don’t know why. It just seems wrong. When I’d get up at my usual time, I often would check in with my online friends via Facebook, but now that FB has boycotted my blog, I am (mostly) boycotting the site. I could play solitaire, but 5:30 is too early to strain my eyes with a computer screen.

Luckily, my knee felt well enough today that I decided to attempt a short walk outside.

It actually felt good being out that early. Until I got back home. Oh, the knee was fine, that wasn’t the problem. I’d forgotten that people around here who don’t like taking their dogs for a walk let them out early in the morning to roam around. (The code enforcer isn’t working then and even when he is, he seems to ignore loose dogs.) There were two huge dogs on the sidewalk outside my house, and they seemed to have no inclination to let me get near my gate, so I turned around and took another walk. (I don’t know who they belonged to since I’d never seen them before, but that doesn’t say much. Considering all the new and frequent sounds of barking in the neighborhood, it seems as if some of my neighbors have acquired new dogs.)

When I returned, the animals were gone. I might have overdone it knee-wise with the extra walking, but I’m grateful I didn’t have to fight with those monsters. I did still have to water my transplanted bushes, though, as well as the few flowers that are struggling to come up. (It’s so dry here that it doesn’t take much to turn the yard into a desert). By the time I got back inside, I could feel my knee complaining.

At least I don’t have to worry about what to do today. Resting my knee seems a good plan. Maybe I’ll even take a nap.


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.