I spent a good long while last week struggling to find out why pieces of my website were breaking. The commenting feature had been misbehaving for weeks — I couldn’t even leave comments myself without getting error messages! — and the RSS feed had stopped working sometime in August.

Unfortunately, there were no flashing red lights on the dashboard, saying, “This! Here! This is what’s gone bad!” Even the error codes weren’t much use. Eventually, though, I found a Q&A from around five years ago that attributed the specific error code I was getting to a plug-in problem, so I started deleting plug-ins. This is… well, undesirable. My web site is not fancy, so all the plug-ins that I use are serving a purpose. I did eventually find the one that was causing the problem (I think), and uninstalled it, so fingers crossed I’m done with that waste of time.

Sadly, if the problems continue, the only plug-in left to delete is the one that lets me send posts via email. It would be nice if I could save the addresses, and reinstall either that plug-in or some other that does the same thing, but if you’re used to getting my posts in your in-box and you stop hearing from me for… well, some length of time greater than a couple weeks, because I do try to post every week… you might want to come back to the actual blog and see if you need to subscribe again.

It did feel like a waste of time, too. I tried to convince myself that my blog is useful! Fun! An important part of my business model (hahaha)! But it’s closer to a waffle-maker than a car in terms of practicality. No one needs waffles. They’re just kinda nice sometimes. Whereas if your car breaks…

Speaking of cars, we had some torrential rain several days ago. If I’d been in Serenity, it would have been one of the fun maraca days, where I felt like I was living in a musical instrument because the rain made such a powerful set of rhythms on the roof. As it was, I mostly ignored it, and never once, not even for the slightest half-second, did I wonder, “Hey, did I open the back car windows for Sophie when I last drove the car? Could I have left them open?”

That was a mistake.

Yes, I could have left the windows open. Yes, I did leave them open!

There were puddles in the car. Literal puddles. The mats on the floor of the back seat were full-ish, the little receptacles by the door handles on the interior of the doors were overflowing. Ugh.

Fortunately, my housemate, J, found me a tiny space heater, a long extension cord, and a bunch of towels, and I spent the greater part of a day drying out the car. I was nervous enough for the first hour or so that I checked on it every ten minutes, but as it became clear that I was not going to set the car on fire, I’d give it a half an hour at a time or so, and then move the space heater to a new location. It worked surprisingly well, actually. The car is dry and there is no smell of mildew, whew.

Still, what a waste of time! Also a waste of time — the literal twenty minutes I spent reading about the parts of car doors, trying to figure out what the heck those receptacles are for and/or actually called.

But moving on, I read a fantastic book this weekend. Not a waste of time, at all: Reasons to Stay Alive, by Matt Haig. (That’s an affiliate link, since I have recently been reminded of the impracticality of my blog.)

It is probably not for everyone. But if you struggle with depression and/or know and love someone who struggles with depression, it is a combination of a memoir about depression and a self-help-ish guide to recovery from depression. It’s definitely more his personal story and his personal advice then anything overly prescriptive: his advice on drugs is basically ‘if it works for you, you should do it, but I didn’t go that route,’ which obviously resonates with me, since I also haven’t chosen that route. But I picked it up mostly because I’ve been researching how exactly people go about writing memoirs, having been struggling with my own for a year now, and yet once I started reading, I just kept going. A totally worthwhile use of time, IMO.

And now I’m going to try to use some more time in a worthwhile way and get back to Cici. I’ve been super stuck and I finally realized while walking Sophie this morning where my wrong turn came about and how to fix it. So nice to have a plan instead of just a blank accusing page in front of me!