It’s Only a Chore If…

Newsletter 035 – March 24, 2023


In the previous newsletter I mentioned that I do try to write and edit for several hours each day, but sometimes life’s little interruptions keep that from happening. I’m often awake before sunrise, and a recent day was no exception. That day I woke up around 5:00 am to a chirping sound (no, not birds). It was one of our five smoke alarms telling me that its battery needed replacing. It was in the upstairs hallway that connects our bedroom to the two small rooms (on the other side of the house) that serve as Minay’s sewing room and my study. I slipped out of the bedroom, closing the door behind me, trying to not wake Minay. She usually gets up around 6:30. I found out later that the chirping started just after midnight and I had slept through it all night, but Minay hadn’t. She tried, but the chirps kept her conscious. I wake easily if someone shouts at me or shakes me (anything like that), but normally I drop to sleep fairly easily and stay that way all night (even through thunderstorms, etc.).

We usually change the batteries in our smoke alarms twice a year. We try to do it the weekend of the time change to make it easy to remember, but this was a week early. I had bought extra 9-volt batteries when we changed the alarms back in November last year, so I had to find one of them to get the alarm to shut up. We keep most of our batteries in a kitchen drawer, so I booted my computer and then slipped downstairs as quietly as possible. No 9-volts were in the drawer, or anywhere else downstairs. The alarm kept chirping away while I looked. I finally found the batteries upstairs on the bookshelf in my study, where I had obviously stored them so they would be handy. (Ha!) I moved a small ladder into the hallway, popped the offending battery out, and replaced it with a new one. After Minay was up I changed the other four alarms. So I wasted the first hour or so of the day (when I normally check my email, sip some coffee, and get my brain functioning). An unexpected interruption.

Of course, I know that most regular chores will also take up some time (carrying out the trash and recycling, mowing, washing dishes, banking, shopping, etc.). And there are other obligations that crop up occasionally (appointments with doctors and dentists, doing taxes — things like that), but I can schedule those. It’s the things that pop up suddenly (like the smoke alarm) that require immediate attention.

The other day Minay told me that an error message appeared when she booted her computer. I researched it and found out that she had a dead CMOS battery. It’s a lithium ion battery on your computer’s motherboard that keeps the computer’s date and bios information intact when the computer is powered off. It needed a CR2032 battery, and I happened to have several in the house (our bathroom scales, kitchen timers, and several other things use a CR2032), so I removed her computer’s back panel, unscrewed the system board shield, popped out the old battery and inserted a new one. It took maybe 10-minutes. Another battery-issue interruption. Minay tries to not bother me with that sort of thing when I’m working, but I interrupt myself often enough with similar incidents.

How about you? Do you find it hard to maintain an extended period of uninterrupted time when you’re involved in a project?

The next newsletter will be about a death in the family. My 16-year-old Prius.


[“You have waked me too soon, I must slumber again.” Isaac Watts, The Sluggard, 1715.]

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