Saturday, November 30, 2019

It's Always Dumbest Before The Dawn

I can be efficient when I want to be, and that is why I designate the hours of 3-6am for pointless worry. The solitude allows me to focus on any problem, perceived or real, and often several at once. It's a real time-saver.

In addition, those are the hours in which I can achieve really accomplished fretting, because there is no likelihood that solutions are close at hand. The solution hours occur in the daytime when I'm driving somewhere and, often, not going through a red light or missing my exit. But between 3 and 6am, the answers to my problems are either elusive or insane.

Some of my daytime solutions veer a little off the reality template as well. For instance, when my laptop abruptly quits sucking up wireless, I close it and flap it in the air in the direction of our modem. And when a page doesn't load, I bang on the keys harder. This works randomly often enough that I stick with it. Religions have been based on less.

The other night I chose a couple juicy hours after 3am to wonder if Everything I Ever Wrote would vanish into thin air. This is not something I would like. I would not like it a whole, whole lot. I have written a whole, whole lot of stuff. In the last ten years I've written essays and doggerel and 1200 blog posts and four and a half novels and three other books. I suppose all of it would fit neatly in a small thumb drive with room left over for Wikipedia and the Word Of God but that just makes me sad.

The immediate spark to the fretfest was the notice, on my laptop, that I had not had a backup to the external hard drive for several days, and I should plug it the heck in. Well it was plugged in. Which means it wasn't sucking out data anymore. Typical middle of the night solutions include introducing some sort of virtual lactation coach to sturdy up the USB connection. After I turn that one over for a half hour trying to find the flaw, I move on to other solutions, such as unplugging the hard drive and putting it in the freezer.

This is a solution cooked up in the midnight cauldron of memories, to wit: (1) unplugging things has a disciplinary effect, plus (2) Dave once put the smoke detectors in the freezer when they all went off in the middle of the night. (He then put in fresh batteries and reinstalled them in the morning, and he'd only put them in the freezer because we wouldn't hear them in there, but I never made the full loop on that solution, and tend to believe, at 3am, that freezing things teaches them a lesson.)

Get your own backup service. This one's mine.
I am paying for a backup service on my desktop computer. I don't know what it does, really. Could be I've hired a group of ladies to sing Ooo, baby baby behind me. But the service does send me periodic messages, and they do ask me for more money when it runs out. I visualize all my stuff floating in the air somewhere over the midwest and trying not to bang into trolls. My hope is that when my computer crashes they will hork all of it up like a hairball and roll it back, but I really don't know. Unfortunately, I've almost quit using that computer in favor of the laptop. Does my backup service know to back up my laptop too? I can spend hours in the middle of the night trying to figure that out. Sure it does! My two computers don't talk to each other, but that's a normal sibling thing! Anyone from the outside could tell they're family!

Followed immediately by: of course it doesn't know. Not only that, but Everything I Ever Wrote is probably draining out of my laptop right now in the middle of the night, out of the little holes the hard drive is no longer plugged into. That's how it happens.

Morning. Two cups of coffee. All is clear. I contact the backup service and add my second computer and give them some more money. Took five minutes. Now to solve that damn Trump thing.

46 comments:

  1. I literally laughed at this one, because my optimal pointless worry time is between 3am and 6am also! Since menopause, I usually have no trouble falling asleep -- at an hour PastMimi would have thought ridiculously early -- but staying asleep is a different matter. Nothing wakes me up. If it's before those hours, Paul can snore or play the piano, and I'll stay sound asleep. But around 3am, an alarm in my brain seems to tell me that it's time to get up -- even when it's completely quiet. Fortunately, my brain also comes up with a plethora of things to worry about during this time so that I don't get bored and fall asleep. It's always stuff that I can't do anything about anyway (Death. Aging. Extinction of everything.) or else stuff that turns out to be easy to fix once I get up and about at a decent hour (Is the heater running? Did I remember to take the roast out of the freezer? Did the bank teller yesterday find my random comment weird?) I'm really glad that I'm not the only one who does this.

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    1. Man. That's exactly how it works. I have to say I sleep very well most nights and this thing happens only about twice a week. I always thought it had to do with the fact that I AM getting enough sleep now that I'm retired. I usually wake up a few times a night and if a fret doesn't get too strong a hold I'm right back asleep again. These days I find that reading a thread with Trump supporters in it gets me even worse than Trump himself, because they're so damned impossible and apparently will believe anything, no matter how nuts.

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    2. *Nods* Yes, it doesn't seem to matter whether I've gotten enough sleep or not... drunk alcohol or not... or even whether I'm tired or not. Several times a week, it just happens. I can get up to go to the bathroom and get back to sleep. But if one of the birds has a "night fright" and I have to check it out, or if Paul falls asleep at the computer (or the piano... oy....) and I am up and don't hear him moving about, I escort him to bed, and just getting up to do something other than pee will wake me up. What really sucks is when I DO fall asleep again... a half hour before I normally wake up. Ruins me for most of the day.

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    3. this is exactly what's happening to me. I fall asleep like I was clobbered with a blackjack, my book falling off my lap. And two, three hours later I'm up like a bird, at 1:48 but who's looking at the clock....and then I'm up until 4:30 or 5, a tiny nap and ready to goooo at 6...to what? And why? And please, can I just sleep more than three hours at a stretch, and all together? And the stuff that haunts me...yep, everything I can't fix.
      Thanks for putting my predicament into such graceful words, Murrbaby. Kudos on your continuing to write. You're so, so good.

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    4. Benadryl, darling. I don't take it often because I heard it contributes to dementia and I prefer to make my own way on that road, but every now and then...oh yeah! Fall asleep like normal and just STAY THERE.

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  2. Wow! This sounds like universal worry time. Does everyone do this or just some of us "gifted" folks? A rather cruel gift, but apparently a somewhat pervasive one. I often have a solution to these worries after breakfast, but that is only if I remember what I was worried about. Is there a support group available?

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    1. My worry time is usually between 1am and 4am, I shut it down by drinking coffee and reading a good book until I fall asleep again.

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    1. I got my external hard drive working again (by unplugging and plugging hard, and turning off and on my machine) and got the paid-for backup and I think we're good now. I'd have to remember to put the thumb drive in every time I write something...

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  4. Any hour during which I am abed but not asleep is "worry hour" for me. Fortunately, my "worry hour" is also my "solutions hour". My big issue is remembering the solutions when I get up the next morning. Thus, I frequently find myself up and wandering about the house at all hours of the night. (If I don't get up, I follow the time-honored tradition of writing myself a note on the pad in my bookcase headboard. If luck is with me, the next morning I remember that I wrote a note, can decipher my poor writing - worse for the note having been written in the dark - and can remember what the problem is to which the solution goes).
    Cop Car

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    1. I absolutely never get up. I love being in bed so much and that's where I want to be if I suddenly fall asleep again.

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  5. It was a relief to find out that other people have middle-of-the-nigh brainstorms. Sometimes I can force myself back to sleep, but other times I have to sit up, turn on the light, and read until (hopefully) sleep overtakes me. (Surely psychologists or sleep physiologists or some other scientists have studied the phenomenon.)

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    1. "Force" yourself back to sleep? I like that. Does it involve a self-administered whack to the head?

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    2. For me it involves lying perfectly still pretending I'm in a coma while my mind repeats three words over and over until I'm asleep. If I'm too wide awake and know that won't work, I do what the comment somewhere up there ^ says.

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    3. Sometimes I try to focus on the purple blobs on the inside of my eyelids and see if they stage a play.

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  6. We could throw him in the freezer to see if he learns his lesson, or better, unplug him.

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  7. Sleep is my happy place. I can remember literally only three times in my adult life when I couldn't get to sleep or stay asleep. Maybe being perpetually sleep-deprived has something to do with that. I feel for all you folks who fret in the night time, because a poor night's sleep makes for a lousy next day, and I hope like heck it doesn't become my fate.

    And when you come up with the solution to Donald Trump, we'll all help. (In spite of not being Amurrican, I'm totally willing to stick my nose in Amurrican business.)(Hey, just like Putin, only different!)

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    1. I don't even mind the insomnia now because I get so much sleep other times. I don't have to get up to go to work so sometimes I just don't get up.

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  8. I'm ok once I get to sleep; it's getting to sleep that's the problem---that's when I worry.
    Anyway, once when I was awake I came up with an entire plot line for that old show "Moonlighting" and it involved solving the mystery of DB Cooper. When I woke up completely in the morning, the whole thing was gone. It was brilliant, I tell ya.

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    1. I know. I once wrote an entire Country & Western song complete with guitar part while I was asleep and I can sing it to you to this day. It woulda been a hit.

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  9. I used to have terrible nightmares. I would get up and go into my parents' room and wake them up and say, "I had a bad dream." My father, a scientist, told me one night, "Try to sleep on your stomach, because then you won't have bad dreams." I trusted him completely, especially since he correctly predicted the return of my pet mouse who had abandoned his cage one evening as Mommy and Daddy were heading out for a date and the babysitter had just arrived and I was screaming for Mr. Mouse. That Daddy. He was always right.

    Then, one night, a terrible nightmare visited me. I awoke trembling. I said to myself, "Turn over, sleep on your stomach and it will be ok."

    Then, reality hit. I was ALREADY ON MY STOMACH.

    I survived. I still have nightmares, and sometimes my husband has to wake me up because I am screaming little screams in my sleep.

    My father passed away last year, but I still believe everything he ever told me. I wish I could ask him now about Trump and other disasters.

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  10. When I switched laptops I saved all the files from the Toshiba to an external hard drive 1TB sized and just transferred some of it to the new one. I'll transfer more as I need it, but so far I haven't. When I opened the I-tunes to reload my music, all the songs reloaded themselves without even plugging in the 1TB drive, but each one had a little cloud symbol beside it. I'd never sent anything to the cloud, but I guess I-tunes does and I discovered to get them back all I had to do was play each one, then the cloud symbol disappeared. I need to get in there and finish it sometime this century. With your thumb drive not taking any more back up, perhaps you just need to buy one with more storage space. like a one Terrabyte, they also come in 2TB and 4TB sizes, should you ever need that much space.

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    1. Everything SHOULD be on the cloud but I never figured out how to close the deal. They kept asking questions until I didn't know the answers.

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  11. I learned many years (decades) ago, never to follow up on a decision made between 3 AM and 5 ditto. So I allow myself to solve all my problems, and a good part of the world's, too, in those protected hours. No harm done.

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    1. So...it's okay to think things that might be contrued as untoward by the Secret Service?

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  12. Ha! For some reason, I just refuse to worry when awake from 3am - 5am. Instead, I save all that fretting for times when I should be paying attention to something else during daylight hours. And when I absolutely must pay attention to daytime life, the alternative to fretting is to just store all that worry in the muscles of my shoulders and back. (Hence my newly-discovered need for a massage at least once every two weeks. The jockey-sized masseur has learned to cut to the chase and starts off by walking on my back with his size 5 feet.)
    But I do, indeed, end up awake at 3am -- not because of 'brain' but because of 'bladder'. Jeez, why is it that men my age have difficulty starting and sustaining a stream of urine during daylight hours, yet wake up at least once a night to answer the persistent call of nature? Is this some kind of cruel joke? And if it is not *my* bladder, then it is that of our 12-year old dog. We are quite a tag-team on some nights.
    And about external hard drives? Oy vey -- it seems like we have blown through at least 5 of them. They start out with promise, but then end up downloading/uploading (?) erratically, and then finally, not at all. I think we finally caved in and now pay someone in a cloud to worry about all of this, although I would have to consult with hubby James to figure out how to access half the stuff that's supposedly stored up there.

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    1. Oh right, that's an entirely different problem, innit? I am now doing both: external hard drive is back "off the blink," and the cloud has my stuff somewhere.

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  13. Hunhh! - while I do share some of those sleep troubles and computer back-up troubles, I instead zeroed in on a different item: I hereby volunteer to be one of those ladies to sing Ooo, baby baby behind you. Because kidding/not kidding, I have often proclaimed that THAT is what I would really like to do "for a living"- sing back-up (and possibly get to dress in sequined outfits while doing so!). Boy howdy, would I! Then one of your comments indicated that you have a whole country song written and remembered... *awesome* I too have written a country song, but only have one phrase (with melody): "I got tears in my ears from lyin' on my back and cryin' over you." Give me a call when you decide to record yours! ;)

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    1. Mine starts out "Well it's silly but I rilly want a wobble-bobble girl, when I find that little woman gonna give her a whirl..."

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    2. Ha! Went back to this "episode" after reading your most recent (Real Mule), because I suddenly remembered that I had commented here & wanted to see if you had replied - Yay - you did! And it occurs to me now that, along with all the other things that you describe, wearing high heels might help immensely if one wanted to attract that country fella who rilly wants a wobble-bobble girl! P.S. I rilly like your lyrical style. :)

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  14. I just read ALL the comments. I'm trying to stay up later than 9. quite a support group we have here! xo jz

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    1. Maybe we should convene in the middle of the night and bore each other to sleep!

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  15. Boy, does this post and the comments resonate with me! (The not-sleeping part, not the computer backup part.) The waking at 3am and inability to get back to sleep became annoying enough that I enrolled in a behavior modification session of 4 classes in a local sleep studies center. (Medicare covers it, which tells me that insomnia is a common problem for those of us of Medicare vintage.) So far, the first 3 classes have had participants keeps sleep diaries which we then go over with the leader each week, looking for patterns that interfere with or preclude sleeping. The last class, this week, will discuss ways to disable the "fretting factor" and allow the brain to let go and finally sleep. I'm hopeful...and sleepy...

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    1. Get back to us on a completely unrelated post and let us know how it goes! We'll be able to pick it right up.

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  16. I am a pre sleep fretter. I try to redirect my brain to something like winning the lottery. Luckily it is infrequent.

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  17. I do it too. Nothing much to say except every trick I've tried, including counting backward in Spanish from 100 doesn't help. Neither does anything else.

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    1. I'm still recommending Benadryl. At least every now and then. OH! And CBD, or so I'm told.

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  18. Will do. And in the meantime, at the sleep center's suggestion, I checked out of our library a book titled Goodnight Mind: Turn Off Your Noisy Thoughts & Get a Good Night's Sleep by Carney & Manber (both women.) Needless to say, I read it each night at 3am...

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