Let There Be Light, But Like Normal

posted in: Day In The Life 10
This picture is so gross. Image: Wikipedia.


It’s sad but true: I’ve lost familiarity with the PaperGirl catalog. It’s fixable, but it’s going to take a while.

I’ll probably always remember my favorite posts from the past — this one about my younger sister’s love of a white shoe, for example, and then there was this whole thing; there are a few others. But to reacquaint myself with what I wrote from year to year, it’ll take time and consistency. Some of you know I like cross-referencing posts within a post, and I reckon this will rehabilitate me by default: If I want to link to a related post from the past, I have to find that post, which means I have to search within WordPress, the platform I use for this blog. The hits from the search will jog my memory and over time, if I simply keep showing up, PaperGirls past should come back to me eventually.

But if I don’t know what I’ve written, how do I know what to search?

I know what to search because I’m fundamentally the same person since I fired up PaperGirl 2.0 over a decade ago. If I happen to have cheesecake for breakfast and want to tell you about it, I can do a search for “cheesecake” and probably find something relevant. If for some reason someone starts talking to me about baseball and I want to tell you about it — unlikely but possible — it’ll probably come back to me that I wrote about how it was in Chicago when the Cubs won the World Series. That was six years ago, but I remember.

I’ve been looking forward to telling you about how much I loathe the “smart” devices we’re all supposed to use in our homes, now. But because I have loathed them from the moment Alexa was born, and I blogged several times a week from roughly 2013 to 2019, I’ve surely covered this. I looked back and yes, I have shared stories of this loathing. Well, this is another one of those times.

Eric doesn’t share my hostility toward smart devices. Google Home, Facebook Portal — he finds value in the accursed things, though he draws the line at cameras, thank God; so far, we have no Eye of Sauron (aka Nest) in our living room.

I might take Sauron over his latest installation.

My husband activated an app that gives a person the ability to control the lights in a room. It can also be programmed with specific settings that work on a timer. When evening comes, for example, he has programmed the lights to automatically switch to an Evening setting. This happens at 8:00 p.m., I think. Around midnight, the lights in our apartment switch off entirely. There is a motion-sensor component to this system, so the next setting, the Morning one, waits to come on until you rise from your terrific night’s sleep and it registers that you have walked into the living room. Eric has programmed the Morning setting to turn on all the lights.

It’s important to note that I refuse to install or use this app. Call me old fashioned, but I’m a person who’s super okay with turning lights on or off using hardware (i.e., switches), not software.

Here’s another thing Eric’s been up to: allergies. He’s had seasonal allergies his whole life and they plague him four out of four seasons but they’re extra pernicious this time of year. For the past couple weeks, my darling husband, who is not typically a snorer, has been snoring at night on account of all the trees having sex outside our window.

Though I’m fundamentally the same person I was when you and I were hanging out regularly, there have been some changes. Over the past couple years, I’ve become a light sleeper. I hate it so much. I have trouble getting to sleep. I have trouble staying asleep. And when Eric snores, all is lost. It’s so pointless to try and sleep in the bedroom, so lately I’ve have to take a blanket and a pillow out to the couch and try to sleep there. It’s the worst.

Remember when I told you how the Morning setting turns on all the lights when you enter the living room after midnight? Yeah. Well, when I get up at 2:00 a.m. and shuffle into the living room, practically in tears from the injustice of it all, all the lights come on. The first time it happened, I howled and covered my eyes like I was staring into the sun. I raced around, turning off the blazing lamps all around me but they would not turn off because they are programmed to stay on until the Afternoon setting kicks in.

“Eric!” I howled into the bedroom, “Eric! Turn off the lights! What is this?! Are you kidding me?!”

Eric woke up and reached for his phone to turn off the lights. I was furious. In the morning, I got up from the damn couch and told him that this ridiculous light-app thing had to go. But we both forgot about it, I guess, and that night, it happened again.

I managed to stay in bed last night, barely. When I got up this morning, I went into the living room to gather my things to take to the office. On account of needing to be able to see things, I went to switch on the lights … but the lights did not come on. Because it was Morning, and Eric had turned off the Morning setting as requested. This meant that I could not turn on the lights in my own home. I turned the switches on all the lamps several times: nothing. I packed my tote bag in the dark. I left the apartment practically grinding my teeth into powder.

Eric was still sleeping. He was sleeping so soundly, I probably could have murdered him without much fuss. In the dark.

10 Responses

  1. rita penner
    | Reply

    omg! LOL!!!! Yes, when my husband dies, God forbid, I’m not sure I will be able to keep the furnace at the right temp. Lights are not programmed…..yet. Our kids got us an Alexa. “Oh, thank you”, I said uncomfortable with this gadget that’s clearly LISTENING, ALL the TIME! When it started answering the tv, “Sorry, I can’t answer that.” It got unplugged permanently. There is no need! And remotes! Holy crap! How many does one need to turn on the tv? 3? WHY?

    • Mary
      | Reply

      lol thank you rita

  2. Patrice
    | Reply

    Mary, you def need to have a discussion regarding automation of lights. I also recommend, if possible, you have your own sleeping space, since snoring is an issue. A good night’s sleep will assure your well bing and perhaps Eric’s as well.

    • Mary
      | Reply

      agreed! (no other bedroom, sadly, but a fine idea, at least until allergy season is over!!)

  3. Li
    | Reply

    Spot on Ms. Mary. Don’t even get me started on cars with no key. No Alexa for me. I can get up off my rear end and change the thermostat myself. Thank you very much.

  4. elizabeth a hinze
    | Reply

    Thank you Mary, you made me laugh : )
    (I’m not laughing at your lack sleep that’s not funny
    I was sleep deprived for years due to my husband’s snoring)

  5. Suzanne Yerks
    | Reply

    I bought a new car last year. It didn’t come with remote start using the key fob. However my husband said you can use an app on your phone. Um, not me. Too much on my phone already. Always “your cloud is full”. Not sure how the cloud even was on. Anyway, husband starts the car on frigid morning. We both get in it was warm and nice. Then “I can get it to go in drive” says my husband. Me, ” turn it off and restart it”.
    Nope, couldn’t turn it off even. Well took us a half hour to get it off.

    • Li
      | Reply

      You speak my language. There was a Comcast outage in the area. People could not enter their homes. Does that mean that the keyless entry relies on internet access??

  6. Karen Johnson
    | Reply

    OMG, laughing so hard at this story! I feel your pain, Mar!

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