I got them steadily depressin’, low down mind messin’ February in winter blues.

John Clark echoing others who have posted about darkness, bleak feelings, and being stuck in a rut. It’s been a number of years since winter in general, and February in specific bit me in the backside. This year, cumulative ‘stuff’ has conspired to make the evil spirit of Doldrums reside on my shoulder.

Remember the fall off the wall back in October? That has turned into the gift that keeps on giving. Its most recent iteration is an inflamed TMJ on my left side that makes opening my mouth wide enough to eat, akin to a roulette wheel. Come up red, intense pain, come up black, chew carefully.

I’ve been on a very effective anti-depressant for years that has built a reliable floor under my darker moods. Unfortunately, fate left the door open and a prickle (I had to look this one up) of porcupines snuck in and chewed multiple holes in said floor, making emotional navigation a tricky business.

My blood pressure has chosen to spike after being well behaved for years. I walk around wondering what invisible damage it’s doing to my cardiovascular system. I’m checking it three times a week per my PCP’s orders and have to resist calling in panic at the more dire numbers.

Don’t get me started on how much other drivers’ behavior has deteriorated. Whether from watching the news, COVID, mental degradation, or a bad astrological sign, it seems nobody considers the consequences of running yellow or red lights, texting while driving, or being so close to my bumper they can count individual paint molecules. It’s at a point where I don’t dare stop for a yellow light because there’s no way to be sure what the driver behind me will do. I’m tempted to buy a pound of loose buckshot pellets and toss a handful out the window to deter tailgaters.

Then there’s the winter edition of Whack-A-Mole we call black ice. Any driving after dark these days on back roads is an adventure, particularly on sharp curves. Makes me wanna buy a Sherman Tank.

My energy level has me yearning to be horizontal with a book more often than vertical, so I can keep writing my current one. A disturbed sleep pattern probably doesn’t help, although I’d love to capture my dreams on DVR so I could re-watch them and make sense of what transpires.

Right in the middle of all this, reality stalked in, wearing steel-toed boots and sporting the mother of bad attitudes. Beth’s laptop decided her PIN was expired and she needed to create a new one. Sounds like a simple process, but it became anything but. In order to get a new one, she was required to have it sent to an expired email account, then texted to our landline, and finally could only be reset if she admitted to buying a Microsoft product, providing them with the last four numbers of the credit card used for the purchase, as well as the zip code where we lived at the time. RIGHT.

She bought MS Office at least 8 years ago with who knows what credit card, her TDS. Email is long gone and there was no way to change the phone # so she could have something texted to her cell phone. Wait, it gets better. I did some digging as did she and we found a potential work around involving creating a boot program on a USB drive. I went ahead, downloaded the files and reformatted what I thought was an old thumb drive…WRONG. I managed to format my 4 terrabyte SSD that I store all my programs and written work on. First off, the workaround failed and when I went to open up my current book I’m writing…Nothing.

I went and lay on the bed, giving serious thought to getting drunk for the first time in ages. Instead, I did some breathing exercises, went and researched recovery after formatting a SSD drive. The first program wasn’t worth buying, but the second one was…after it took 24 hours to churn through all the mashed data. I ended up spending $120 for the full version and have most of my written work recovered, but you can bet I’m double copying everything from now on.

Thanks to our very talented friend Clif Graves, and a linux boot disk, we have retrieved all Beth’s documents and photos. I immediately ordered her a new HP laptop with an SSD hard drive so her frustration level when starting up will diminish. Naturally that success was immediately offset when I searched for the $150 BJs wholesale card I won and it refused to be found and remains in hiding following a thorough search of the house. (I did come across a $50 Amazon card I got for a birthday present in the course of looking for it, though—spent it immediately, just in case).

Let’s not get started on the disaster we call congress. I’m afraid to blow my nose for fear someone there will call for an investigation on which way I blew, right or left.

I’ve provided the whine, but the cheese is on you.

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8 Responses to I got them steadily depressin’, low down mind messin’ February in winter blues.

  1. kaitcarson says:

    Oh, John! May you have seven years of amazing, uninterrupted, good luck to make up for recent events.

  2. Brenda Buchanan says:

    Tough times, John. I’m sorry to hear about this cascade of sh*t that has rained down upon you this winter. Wishing you better times ahead, my friend.

  3. maggierobinsonwriter says:

    Oh, John. I am laughing and crying right along with you. Computer woes are the worst. My desktop is acting up (again) and all my passwords are stored on it automatically and I have NO idea what they are. I dread the day I have to chuck it. My husband and I were just talking about never wanting to leave the house, so winter has won.

  4. jselbo says:

    Thanks for sharing – wow – you made it vivid – and dang – when technology decides to screw with us along with everything else – it’s a friggin’ nightmare.

  5. Kate Flora says:

    I have always hated February. That got better when we started spending March on Sanibel, but this year that is not an option. Your situation sounds bad. I have a counter full of remedies for sleep and blood pressure and bones. As they say…getting old isn’t for the weak. Have you considered a vacation?


  6. Julianne Spreng says:

    Your biggest problem is living in Maine IN THE WINTER! I live in farm country of north central Ohio which usually gets a bad rap for crappy weather, no sun, lots of yuck. But we have small towns, hardly any snow, ice that lasts for a minute or two, and LOTS OF SUN! I’m sharing a well kept secret here because allowing the former reputation to circulate helps keep out the riff-faff. We have a master suite with a hydrotherapy tub. That means champagne bubbles not high power jets. Leaded glass pocket doors to close off the bedroom and add rainbows as the sun shines through. Windows to let in the sun. A sitting reading area with lots of windows to let in the sun. More windows to let in the sun. You get the idea that we have sun?!

    When you want to get away for a while, let me know. You and your sweetheart can bring all your writing paraphernalia with you…and enjoy the sun. Of course the invitation is open to any and all bloggers here. I understand I’m being forward by posting this invitation, but it is heartfelt and nonretractable. Whatever you all do just put one word in front of the other and keep writing. We, your readers, believe in you.

  7. Sandra Neily says:

    John….LOVED the bad driving see the paint molecules image…..so true. Trust no one on the road anymore. Last summer an ATV bounced off my car as it flew across the road without looking at traffic. Each day I put my work up on Google Drive (cloud … free) where I can get to it any time, even in a remote library. Grateful for the person who shared that ogre-foiling tidbit.

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