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.


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.

A quick question for everyone (music)

kendrick_lamar_grammys_performance_rhceuz.jpgAs I was driving home I was listening to music and reflecting on how I really need to find a way to put a car into my living room somewhere.  Either that or I need to invest in a really high-quality pair of headphones.

Why?  Because more and more lately the car seems to be the best place for me to absorb music.  I still buy at least two or three new albums every single month, and some are heavier than others.  I seem to be rather unique in that among the adults I know; I just asked my wife when the last time she bought new music was and she thought for a long time and said it might have been before our son was born.

He just turned 5, remember.

1383089177_5d7c613188689706de8fdb506ca69d95.pngSo, yeah: I still spend a decent amount of money on music.  In fact, other than books and comics, music is the thing I spend the largest share of my discretionary income on.   And what I’m finding is that until I’ve listened to a new album in my car, it’s as if I haven’t heard it at all.  This was driven home recently by the first time I listened to a recent Hopsin album in the car.  I’d listened to it over and over again at home, and I mean it: it was like I’d never heard it before.  I appreciated that album so much more after keeping it in rotation in the car for a while than I had when had just listened to it on my computer– and my computer has good speakers!

(You might be wondering why there’s a picture of Kendrick Lamar at the top of this post.  Same deal. I never properly appreciated Kendrick until listening to him while I was driving.)

Anyway, here’s the question: Are you, as a presumed adult (and if you’re not an adult, let me know and then answer anyway,) still buying music?  And where’s the best place for you to listen to it?

I am not very bright: part 398103 of an endless series

Take a look at these three symbols:

I am nearly forty god damned years old.  I am aware that there are many, many people who are older than me and who might even think of forty as young.  And for certain things, I would be young.  If I were to win a Nobel Prize, or become President, for example, or if I were to die of old age, I would be young for those things.

But in most ways?  I really ought to have gotten my shit together by now.  For example, I need very badly on my pay attention to the information in front of your Goddamned stupid face instincts, and my do not ignore shit and assume it will go away or change instincts.  Possibly I should replace them with pay attention to information that is literally, and I really do mean literally, right in front of your Goddamn face and recognize when you do not understand something and do things about that lack of understanding.

With all that in mind, let’s tell a story about my fifteen-year-old, 150K-mile car, and about how I’m stupid.

Two years ago– two years— one of those three lights began appearing on my car dashboard for precisely the first two minutes and twelve seconds of any drive.  If I was driving to work, it would blink off at exactly the same intersection every morning.  I know it was two minutes and twelve seconds because I timed it.

The car, as near as I could tell, drove just fine, and the light never reappeared when the engine was hot.  If I parked it for a while– particularly if it was cold outside, and it first started appearing in the winter– it would reappear, usually for the full 2:12 but sometimes for less than that.

I was told by someone who generally knows cars that it probably meant that my battery was helping the engine more than it ought to, and that I should get the battery checked but that the worst case scenario was that I’d need a jump if I ignored it until it became a real problem.  The battery was, at the time, brand-new.

Naturally, I ignored it.

And lo, it came to be that I needed to take a road trip, and I decided that getting stranded on a road trip wasn’t a great idea.  The light had, as of recently, been staying on for longer than the previous rock-solid 2:12, and that was rather alarming.  But the car was still running fine and starting fine.  I decided to take it to a local auto parts store and see if I could either buy or borrow an engine code diagnostic thing-a-ma-jigger.

You may have figured out by now that I’ve been thinking that the light was the check engine light.  Now, I know what the check engine light looks like.  It’s the yellow one, and I think on my car it actually says “check engine” on it.  And the check engine light had been on for a couple of alarming periods of time during all this.  Turns out, I need to do my best to not leave my car outside for long periods of rain, because the water gets into something and the engine starts skipping heartbeats until it’s dry.  That’s alarming, of course, but the solution is literally “keep the car in the garage,” because the car needs to be cold and rained on for hours before this is a problem.

Turns out that the auto parts store does diagnoses for free, and it is as the man is hooking up the system that I realize that, no, that’s not the check engine light.  Because, again, my “this is the check engine light” theory is existing in my brain at the very same time where I know the check engine light is yellow and in a different place.  Somehow.  I become very apologetic for my stupidity and describe what’s been happening, and he tells me again what the other person told me: your battery is helping the car too much, and you should get that looked at, but worst case is you’ll eventually need a jump and then you’ll HAVE to take care of it.

I continue to ignore the problem, and take my road trip.  My car actually does get rained on for a substantial part of the trip, but it turns out okay somehow.

Fast forward to roughly now.  Yesterday, specifically.  At this point the light’s basically on all the time.  But the car is still running fine.  Never any problems starting, no rough running, nothing.  You’d think I’d at least have had to crank the key twice at some point.  I have, in fact, at this point actually decided that the problem is the sensor or a short with the light itself, because there’s no way that light could be on for two years without something going wrong if the light actually indicates a problem.

For no good reason at all, while running errands last night, I comment to my wife on my theory that it’s the sensor, and say something about at some point having said sensor replaced.

My wife looks over and says “that’s not the battery light.  Haven’t we had this conversation?”

No we have not had this fucking conversation.  And I immediately see the actual battery light.  My eyes go right to it.  It’s not lit.  It’s never been lit.

These two motherfuckers look too much alike, is what I’m saying.

“Find out what the hell that goddamn light is,” I say to my wife. It comes out as slightly more of a command than I really want it to but what the fuck, brain.

It’s the engine coolant light.

How the fuck have I been low on engine coolant for two years?  I know ferdamnsure what the coolant temperature light looks like, and it’s never been on.  If I’m out of engine coolant, shouldn’t, I don’t know, maybe the engine have overheated at some point in the last two fucking years?  

We get home and I wait for the engine to cool down and check the antifreeze.  It is, indeed, low.  Not, mind you, bone-dry.  Just low, and I assure you that oil changes have not affected this light.

This morning, I added an appropriate amount of antifreeze.  In fact, I accidentally went about half an inch over the “fill to here” line, so hopefully that won’t be a problem.

The light is no longer on.

I look forward to the car blowing up later today.