Saturday, September 29, 2018

First World Problems...

Sometimes I feel like my life is one giant problem solving exercise. As I write this I feel guilty because I know full well that in the broad scheme of things, the sorts of problems I'm dealing with are just plain trivial compared to what the vast portion of humans on this planet have to contend with.

Nevertheless, whine I will...


Sooo… I've been having sleep issues recently. Mostly my back hurts. I fear that this is due to my beloved waterbed not providing adequate support.
I've been able to mitigate the problem somewhat by putting a flat pillow under my rear end at night, and even though it makes my back feel better, it's a bit awkward - especially when I need to roll over or change position. I think part of the issue is that little Smoky loves to cuddle with me at night, and since I'm a side sleeper, one of his favorite spots is right in front of my tummy, sort of in the crook that's formed between my legs and torso.
This is all good and well, but it adds a good 15 pounds to the portion of my body that's already (ahem) the heaviest bit, causing my rear end to sink further into the waterbed.

Anyhooo… I've been pondering trying a different sort of mattress, but honestly even those ship to your home foam mattresses aren't cheap, plus... they sound like they'd be pretty hot and sweaty to sleep on. My parents have an air mattress which they love, and this seemed like it might be a good alternative, so when I saw someone listing a $2400 sleep number bed on Freecycle, I jumped at the chance.

Since I didn't want to go through the hassle of draining the waterbed and all that just to run the experiment, I set the thing up in the basement and have been sleeping on it for the past week.

First thought: Holy Moly - somebody actually paid $2400 for this thing?!? Seriously, it's basically just a bunch of layers of foam with an air mattress (well, two air mattresses, one on each side) sandwiched between.

I think if one wanted to create a DIY sleep number bed, you could pretty much buy all of the components (air mattress, foam layers, bed frame, etc.) for a few hundred bucks. You wouldn't get the fancy remote control feature, or the "wrapper" to hold it all together and make it look like a normal mattress, but um... I'm not really sure that's worth a few thousand dollars, especially since I don't have a sleeping partner who might want a different firmness.

But more to the point, I haven't found the thing to be very comfortable. I've tried all different settings, and it basically feels either saggy and unsupportive making my back hurt, or hard as a rock causing shoulder pain. And the foam layers on top are uncomfortably hot, plus they mash down over the course of the night and are pretty much useless by morning.


Sooo…. back to the waterbed I go. I think I'm gonna try folding up a blanket under the sheets in the area where I need more support, and see if that little hack won't do the trick.

In the meantime... the weather has turned cool the past few days, so I decided I'd make soup. I have a habit of saving vegetable scraps, chicken bones and the like in the freezer until I'm ready to make soup, so I went to retrieve some soup makings and....


Well, let's just say this portion of the post should be titled "Death of a Freezer." Yup, I opened it up and everything was still cool, but definitely defrosted. At first I thought maybe the plug had just come loose, but no... the power light is on, and I even tested the outlet to be sure... it's just dead. UG.

So after a night of not sleeping well on the dreaded sleep number bed, I spent the day yesterday hauling defrosted meat and other stuff out to the garbage. Grrrr…. Honestly, a lot of what was in there is stuff that doesn't really need to be kept frozen - I was just trying to extend its shelf life by keeping it in there (flour, bread, cheese, spices, etc.) So it wasn't a total loss, but still... I haven't decided exactly what to do about it yet - it wasn't a very expensive freezer, I think I paid $200 for it 10 years ago. If I do replace it I'm thinking of going with an upright model, since I'm just not organized enough to keep stuff from getting buried in the bottom of the thing when it's just one big space.


Side note here... do NOT, under any circumstances, perform a Google image search on the phrase "death of a freezer" unless you want to see some really gruesome stuff. Apparently prepositions are lost on Google, so what you get is not (as I was hoping) some funny or ironic take on the Arthur Miller classic "Death of a Salesman." No, the images you will see are more like "death IN a freezer" - and that's as much of a description as I'm gonna give you!


OK... 'nuff said, just consider yourself warned...

ANYHOW, on top of all that, I've been having bike seat issues again... so bike rides have been more trauma than fun recently, and I really, REALLY need to deal with some homeowner stuff like getting some big dead branches trimmed out of my tree before winter, and some lingering plumbing issues, and... and... and... Gah!


So I've got a bike fitting scheduled with a physical therapist who specializes in working with cyclists, and I'm hoping that she can help me sort out the bike seat issues, and I'm getting some estimates on having the tree trimmed, and I've been researching pex vs. copper pipes...

Honestly, though, I can't help but think that all of the other stuff would feel less big if I could get the sleeping thing sorted out. So I think I'm gonna focus there first. Are there any other side sleepers out there? I'd love to hear what works for you.

But... whatever else may be going on, Jasper is doing much, MUCH better. The litter box is out of the living room, and his peeing is almost back to normal - so I really don't have anything to complain about.



So tell me, how do you keep things in perspective when you are beset by problems that you know are really not that big of a deal?

22 comments :

  1. I try to remember I only have to make it until bedtime, then I can have a fresh start. And whining about being pecked to death by ducks does help!

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    1. Pecked to death by ducks?!? Well anyway, holding out until bedtime is a good strategy - just wishing I could sleep once I got there!

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    2. I sleep on my side, but haven't had any troubles. I'm on an ancient mattress on a platform bed (no box springs). I wonder if it would help you to roll a blanket around your hips like a donut or something so you can roll around without falling off the pillow.

      I also don't have tips on keeping perspective other than, as you have done, remembering the people who have it much worse. You do have my sympathies.

      And a little empathy, even. In case misery loves company, I'll let you know that I just found out that my cast iron plumbing has an expected lifespan of 40 years. My 67-year-old cast iron plumbing. Oh, just a little ticking time bomb under my house. I did also learn that pipes are not laid within the slab foundation, like I imagined. I can see the bathtub pipe going into dirt rather than concrete, and the pipes run *under* the foundation. So that's better, right? Well, research will be happening!

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    3. Oy vay! Replacing pipes under the foundation doesn't sound good. I'm still ignoring the main line issue - it clogs at least once a year and I have to snake it out. I'm sure it will need to be replaced eventually, but it goes under the garage.... Well anyhow, I wish you luck with it.

      I've actually considered the blanket around the hips thing, but I can't figure out how to secure it. Maybe I need some sort of padded underwear? Oh... the visual on that one is... um... interesting! :-)

      Anyhow, thanks for humoring me with your sympathies. I know I really just need to suck it up and deal with this stuff, but I really just want to curl up and sleep...

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    4. I've got the name for it: a sleeping bustle. :-)

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  2. For me, lack of sleep is everything. If I don't have enough the world is definitely a gray or sometimes a black place, so good luck. Here's another thought. Perhaps your back issues are related to your bike seat issues. You may have held your back in a slightly different position that threw everything off. The PT is a great person to talk with about this.

    And another bit about copper pipes that you may have already seen in your research. In our old house we had slightly acidic water that eroded copper pipes and caused pinhole leaks. Therefore, we had a water neutralizer to treat our water and save the pipes. It mostly ran by itself, but did require some attention and cost from time to time. Our neighbors, who didn't have a neutralizer, had leaks all the time in their pipes. The moral of this is to make sure that you do not have acidic water before you make your final decision. This is especially important if you are on well water. If you are on city water they may treat for neutrality at the treatment plant.

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    1. I think that it's very possible the two issues (bike seat and bed comfort) are related. I'm really hoping the PT will be able to help me sort through some of it. I sort of feel like I'm shooting in the dark, making small changes to each situation... each of which seems too solve one problem and create a whole suite of new ones.

      Thanks so much for the tip on the copper pipes. I'll have to do some research into our water to see if that's an issue or not. I have a fear of pex pipes because plastics are notorious for leeching endocrine disruptors (like estrogen mimicking chemicals) - and I know I have a real sensitivity to that sort of thing. Once I made an effort to reduce my exposure to those things I went from having 3 migraines per week to one every three months or so. This may sound totally crazy, but I'm even considering trying to see if I could have copper for the kitchen cold water line and pex for everything else. Hmmm... well, I'm sure I'll blather about this topic a bit more once I get further into it.

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  3. Not being able to sleep well is the worst. It’s like a headache – being tired can’t help but color every waking moment. So sorry about your back. I bought my mattress at Denver Mattress, after going in on a quiet day and literally trying every mattress they had to find the one that felt most comfortable. It was a little firmer than my previous mattress and took a couple days to get used to. I also topped it with a soft mattress pad.. Good luck, and I hope you figure out the perfect solution. Your photos always make me laugh! xo

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    1. going to a mattress store is a good idea. I've thought about doing that to see how a foam or latex mattress might feel. You know, now that I think about it, I think part of the reason this is so hard to sort out is that the problems don't usually show up until the middle of the night when I wake up in pain. It's similar to the bike seat issue - I'm fine when I start out on a ride but after 20-30 miles the pain starts. Hmmmm… I know, I need a time machine!! Maybe I can order one on Amazon. Problem solved! :-)

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  4. I am a side sleeper (also sleep on my back sometimes as that means all three cats can sleep on me at once!) I’m not sure if I even know what sort of mattress we have- a normal one on a solid base (the bed has drawers underneath) so I’m not sure that I am much help!
    I think sorting the sleep thing out will make the rest much easier to deal with- I cannot keep perspective when tired!

    Glad to hear that Jasper is doing well- that is the important news!

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    1. Oh my gosh... I occasionally wake up on my back with Smoky on top of me and a really painful back - I'm hoping you don't suffer the same thing with three cats on top of you. It does sound warm though.

      And you're right... Jasper's health is infinitely more important than any of this. And you know what, maybe I'm crazy, but it almost seems like he's doing better than he has been in years. He's more playful and just seems happier. Perhaps this problem has been brewing for longer than I realized.

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  5. Mostly I ignore them. Of course, this does mean I end up living in a tumbledown hovel, suffering from several minor but irritation maladies and never seeing anyone, but hey, no life is perfect. :)

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    1. Bwahahaha! Sounds like an excellent approach if you can get away with it! :-)

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  6. Just want to say, I was glad to read that you're planning to see a physical therapist. These folks can be *amazing*. I've had a tingly left-arm for several years now, sometimes even a bit painful. Two years ago I even went to the emergency room, thinking it was part of a heart attack. (nope; heartburn and anxiety). At any rate, I mentioned this arm in passing to a running buddy of mine who's a PT, and she asked me a few questions. And she showed me one stretch, and suggested a different pillow layout . . . and now, the tingling has gone away. After YEARS. All because of one less pillow under my head.

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    1. Wow! That's quite a story. I'll be happy if I can just get rid of the searing pain in my right sit bone when I'm on my bike, but now you've got me hoping that maybe she can help me with the chronic hip pain I've had for decades...

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    2. I had PT for my shoulders (one at a time). She put tape on it in a non-artistic way and it magically stopped hurting. Then exercises strengthened parts of me to actually fix the problem.

      (On the bad side, she told me to stop reaching behind me in the car, which I love doing.)

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  7. I'm going to echo everyone else and tell you to talk with your PT about your sleep AND bike issues. Positional changes can make a big difference. Also, in our area, there is a mattress store with an assessment tool to see what kind of mattress would be best for you--I have found that to be helpful.

    As for whining .... I think it's okay to feel frustrated/angry about a situation as long as you keep it in perspective (which you have!). You can't get beyond your frustration if you don't acknowledge it exists. Solve your sleep problem first and the rest may all fall in line.

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    1. Hmmm... mattress assessment tool - that sounds very interesting. So far my little hack is.. well... maybe a little better, but certainly not a miracle cure. But I did actually get a full night's sleep last night, so that's a move in the right direction!

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  8. I'm sort of a side sleeper. I prefer sleeping on my back, but due to sinus/congestion issues I end up sleeping on my side fairly often. We ended up buying a Temperpedic mattress a few years ago. I have very mixed feelings on the thing. Overall, I'm not sure it's worth what we paid for it. It started to kind of sag and dump us both out on our side. Hubby came up with the idea to put pool noodles under the edges to counteract that. It's working, but it annoys me that we had to do that.

    So glad to hear that Jasper is doing better!

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    1. Well that's annoying, especially after paying for a new mattress. I thought the sleep number bed had similar issues - or maybe reverse issues. There's foam around the outside, and foam down the middle between the 2 air mattresses, so if you've got the air mattress soft it ends up in a bowl, and if you've got it firm, then the foam is softer than the mattress and you end up with dips around the edges and in the middle. Hmmmm….

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  9. So sorry you're having a few problems at the moment but you seem to have everything in perspective. As my mum always used to say, "This too shall pass," so I hope you're back on an even keel soon.

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    1. Thanks so much for your kind words. I've been sleeping much better the past few nights, not by doing anything to my bed, but by being more diligent about doing yoga before bed! Hmmmm... perhaps it IS just me after all! :-)

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