In which I gain levels in Adult, Responsible and Financial Independence

…and then ruin them by relating them to Dungeons and Dragons.

Folks, as of today, technically, and definitely as of Saturday when the payment will officially go through, I have no credit card debt. This has not been true at any point since I was in college– probably since my freshman year, in fact. Said credit card debt was at one point north of thirty thousand dollars and it is now gone. Now, I’m not free of debt itself by any means– there is a mortgage, and a car loan, and my student loans, and another installment loan at a very low APR that I used to make a large chunk of that credit card debt not credit card debt any more. But this is still a Goddamn milestone; I don’t owe any money to actual credit cards any longer, and every debt I have is on an installment plan where I can point at a date on a calendar and say “This is when that will be repaid.”

Except not really, because now that I’ve got the money I’ve been using to aggressively pay down credit card debt back in my pocket, I’m going to start working on the car. I think I can actually afford to make my car payment twice a month now and still come out ahead from what I was putting into credit cards. That’ll have that paid off in a little over a year, I think. After that, assuming I don’t lose my job or have some other shit life event, things are going to seriously change. I will be moving into Actual Discretionary Income territory, which … well, I know it probably seems like I already spend money whenever I want to, and yes, I’m saving up for a criminally expensive lightsaber as a Paid Off My Credit Cards award, but … this is still a big Goddamned deal, y’all.

I just gotta remember to spend the rest of my life not being stupid now.

On my ten-year Dadiversary

I don’t have specific memories of many of my birthdays, at least not without sitting down and thinking hard about it. My 21st, which probably wasn’t as exciting as you think it was. My 22nd, which happened while I was in Israel. My 16th, where my family managed to arrange a surprise pool party for me. And my 10th, where I remember being very unhappy for at least part of it, and very upset that whatever was upsetting me had dared to intrude on my “double digit day.”

Do I remember what I was upset about? Not a bit. I don’t have even the vaguest idea, and I’ve been kind of racking my brain about it for the last few days. It could have been my fault; perhaps I was being a shithead that day, and pissed my parents off. Something may have had to be cancelled, or maybe I didn’t get something I really wanted. No idea at all. And I’m pretty sure my Dad will see this, and I’ll be surprised if he remembers either– if he does, I’ll let y’all know. I just remember being upset.

My son turns 10 tomorrow. The three of us went out and went shopping today and blew all of his birthday money– close to a couple hundred dollars, when you roll in everybody who sent him something– and we came home with a pretty respectable haul, for a 10-year-old: a couple of Lego sets, a couple of Switch games, five or six books (he is my kid, after all) and a ridiculous new Nerf gun with a bloody ammo drum attached to it that I’m terrified he’s going to turn on me the next time I walk into the same room with him. Plus $25 in Roblox money that he can spend on nonsense digital stuff. Surprisingly, he did not want to go to the comic shop and buy a bunch of blind boxes.

Weird, to think we’ve been parents for ten years. Weirder, to think that his last couple of birthdays have been fucked up by Covid. He wanted to have a birthday party at a local trampoline park this year; we had to tell him no. He didn’t even ask last year. I think we’ll try and get some of his friends over next weekend to frolic in the pool for a few hours, though, if the weather cooperates.

I don’t know that I have any more complicated observations than that; I think so far his 10th birthday is going better than mine did, even if I don’t remember why, and I’m feeling a deep melancholy at the idea that my little boy is growing up.

(And just to keep this post from being completely sappy, in the process of getting his gift card transferred to his Roblox account, I discovered that the young master appears to have figured out how to delete his YouTube history. I will wait until after his birthday to perform the necessary interrogations about that, however.)

EDITED TO ADD: My father suspects that the USS FLAGG, or rather my lack of same, may have been the culprit. I looked and discovered that yes, in fact, the Flagg was available in 1985-86, which means it was out there for buying on my 10th birthday. I can only say that as the goddamned thing was seven and a half feet long and something north of $200 in 2020-equivalent funds, I’d have let my kid sit on the couch and cry too. That said, if anyone wants to buy me one to make up for my childhood trauma, I am an adult now who lives in a house, and I will make room for the motherfucker.

May as well tell the whole world

tmi.png.htmlI thought, for reasons that will quickly become quite obvious, that maybe I ought to not go ahead and fill the Internet in on certain recent developments in my life.  But I’ve been pretty open about being on anxiety medication since they put me on it, and this is related to that, so to hell with it.  A warning: if you know me personally, it’s possible that you might not want to read this.  Certain of you I’m giving license to never ever stop mocking me again, which… eh.  It’ll be okay.

So, to get straight to the point: I’ve taken myself off of Lexapro.  If I were a more intelligent human I would probably be weaning myself off Lexapro, but I’m not an especially intelligent human and I was on a pretty low dose to begin with so I’m cold-turkeying the shit.  I had several reasons for making this decision.  One of the big ones was that I’m not in the environment (teaching) that led me to need Lexapro in the first place, so the direct cause of my anxiety issues is gone.  The biggest one, though?  It turns out that one of the rarer side effects of drugs like Lexapro is…

…this is the part where you stop reading, if you ever want to not think of this when you see me or talk to me again…

…urinary incontinence.

I have had, perhaps once a month in the past six months, what I will describe as a “bloop” and assume that your imagination can fill in the details.  They have always happened when I was asleep, always when I was on my back, and have always instantly awakened me, at which time I’ve cleaned myself up, swearing profusely under my breath, and gone back to sleep.  Last week, it happened twice in two days, and what was previously merely an excessively irritating thing that I was attributing to getting older abruptly had me Googling things like “prostate cancer.”  There’s never been an issue when I was awake, although I feel like I’ve been having to race to the bathroom more urgently in the last year than I had previously.

Now, it’s a rare side effect.  But I was seriously considering calling a doctor and scheduling a prostate exam, and if I can just go off a drug I already don’t want to be on rather than enduring a prostate exam, I think maybe I’ll try that first.(*)

So I did a couple things:  I stopped taking my Lexapro and also stopped drinking pop, since caffeine and sugar have also been linked to urinary incontinence.  Not only have I had no nocturnal issues since then, but I’ve slept through the night most of the nights since then.  It has been months since I slept through the night five nights in a row; waking up at 3:30 in the morning needing to take a piss five or six times a week was also something that I had previously attributed to getting older that may have been caused by the drugs.  It’s only been a week, mind you, and until last week this was not a thing that happened frequently, but the absence of further bloops and being able to sleep through the night have me thinking I’m probably on to something.

Negative side effects of stopping Lexapro have been minimal; I was weirdly dizzy today and that’s been about it.  I haven’t noticed the anxiety coming back, really; I did let everyone at work know that I was off my brain meds and that if they thought I was behaving strangely they needed to let me know right away.  Predictably, this has led to every fucking interaction I have with anyone now involving someone accusing me of being overly emotional, because the people I work with are caring and serious grown-ups.

(*) The word first means “first,” not “only,” just to be clear.  I have since discovered that they’re recommending annual prostate exams start at 40 now instead of 50, so I actually will be talking to my doctor about that soon, and I’m not as het up about the idea as most men seem to be.  I’ll tell you about it if it’s a funny story, but I don’t expect it to be a big deal.  Just be aware that I’m not ignoring it.

BLOGGING!

3-in-1-Bounce-House-Bounce-House-with-Slide-and-Obstacles.jpgToday was– this is kind of hard to believe, but it’s true– one of my first moments where one of my friends was in town and we had to come up with activities to Entertain our Kids while they were here, because we’re all adults with kids now.  She has a six-year-old who I haven’t seen in forever and a three-year-old who I met for the first time today, and luckily the three of them appear to have gelled together perfectly well.

An excellent suggestion for this sort of scenario: take the kids to the local House of Bounce, especially since it’s Friday afternoon and we are going to be the only ones there.  Having a big room with four giant inflatables in it is really awesome; the kids can run about to their hearts’ content and exhaust themselves, which means that we get to spend the rest of the afternoon… uh, staring into devices and such.  Like grown-ups.


For those of you who have read my books:  who the hell knows when the next Benevolence Archives book is going to get done.  It’s been languishing for, literally, months.  I know what else I have to write, I just haven’t done it, because <insert excuse here.>

But the cover is done.  It’s been done for a while.

Anybody wanna see it?

On maturity

all-new-wolverine-1.jpgDriving home from taking the boy to school this morning, I caught myself looking at my knuckles (shut up, the car knows where to go) and wondered if I was still going to be occasionally wishing I had Wolverine’s claws when I was 60.

Then I remembered I’m already 40 and still doing it.

Chances are the answer is yes, then.