On 2022

Every year, I spend time during the week between Christmas and New Year’s thinking about writing a retrospective post about the previous year, and I almost never do it. I mean, I do blogwanking and sales recaps and top 10 lists and all that, but it’s rare for me to look at a year in any sort of semi-formal way and talk about how it went.

I mean, other than “That was the worst year of my life,” which I said of every single year between 2016 and 2020. 2021 wasn’t great, but was a better year than 2020. I mean, 2020 was not only the year the Covid epidemic hit but it was also the year my mom died, although part of me feels like I can blame that on 2019. It would have been difficult for 2021 to have been a worse year than 2020, and I really don’t think it was.

2022? It feels weird typing this.

2022 might have been a good year.

I feel like just by saying that I’m either bragging or tempting fate, y’know? But it’s hard to deny. I am, for the first time in years, Doing All Right, and by some measures, Doing Well. My family is all healthy and doing well. My son is thriving at his school and started playing ice hockey this year, which he seems to really enjoy. My relationship with my wife is as strong as it’s ever been. I have a new nibling on the way in a couple of months, and my nephew is walking and jabbering.

Financially? 2022 was the year my student loans went away, in and of itself probably the biggest thing that happened to me this year, as that was nearly $70,000 in loans and a $545 monthly payment that I’d been making for over 20 years. Gone. The personal loan that I took out that wiped out my credit card debt is over halfway paid off and my payments are over a year ahead of schedule. Both my wife and I are making more money than we’ve ever made before. We’re slowly working our way through the whole house getting things renovated and fixed up; this year featured a new bathroom, a vastly improved basement, flipping the dining room and the family room, and new carpet and new furniture in the living room.

Professionally, I finally quit the dysfunctional wreck of a district I’ve been working at for nearly the entire time I’ve been back in Indiana, and my new district and my new school have, so far, been absolutely wonderful in every way. I’ve actually been happy teaching for the last month or so, which hasn’t been true in a very long time. The blog is … well, still here; there was a reason there was no blogwanking post this year– but I’m back to having fun with my YouTube channel, which you ought to be following me on, damn it. And, honestly, for someone well out of the age range of your typical YT video game streamer, I feel like I’m doing pretty well.

I’ve kept up two months and counting of learning Arabic with Duolingo, finally starting to fulfill a promise I made myself when I dropped the class my freshman year of college. Calculus? I’m looking at you. I mean, I’m doing it from a distance, and with a fair amount of distaste, but I’m looking.

Hell, even the world in general dodged at least a couple of opportunities to go further to hell. And Biden has been a much better president than I’d ever have believed in 2020.

Really the only thing I have to complain about is my health; I have pretty much contracted all of the Fat Man diseases at this point, and it really might be a good idea for me to do the utterly stereotypical thing and resolve to lose some Goddamned weight in 2023. I don’t do resolutions and I’m not doing one now, but I’m literally fatter than I’ve ever been before and I have to wear a mask to bed, so … doing something to change that is probably a good idea? You never know; now that I’m not spending 90% of my spoons on stressing out about work and money I might have the headspace necessary to take a shot at dropping weight again. No promises, though. I can’t break them if I don’t make them.

I dunno, y’all. I’m unused to optimism, although I feel like I can make an objective case for at least considering the idea. Although part of me is pretty well convinced that I’ve screwed the pooch by typing this. If my house burns down tonight or something, it’s probably my fault. On to 2023, I suppose.

In which I am fat and grouchy

Just got back from a performance at my kid’s school, made up entirely of fifth and sixth graders, that the drama teacher decided to call a “cabaret,” which put me not so much in mind of things starring fifth and sixth graders. There were puppet shows and speeches and some sort of weirdly avant-garde and possibly partially improvised performance that really had me wondering if I should be snapping my fingers rather than clapping at the end of each part of it.

Meanwhile, my ass still hurts from the chair. I have a fairly ample ass. No chair should be able to do this to me, but at one point during the performance I’m pretty sure I was paralyzed from the waist down. I had my arm around my wife, because they pack those damn chairs so close together that I didn’t have room for my shoulders otherwise, and that was falling asleep too, and … it wasn’t pleasant.

My kid’s puppet show about Icarus and Daedalus was pretty okay, though, especially when they managed to work the “Father, Help” meme into it. Raised that boy right, I have.

CPAP update: I continue to be unable to use the nasal pillows, and my “events” have stabilized around six an hour; still more than they want (the target is less than five) but way less than eighty. I must admit after three days of waking up feeling reasonably energetic (still nothing earthshaking, mind you, but three good night’s sleeps) I was dying on the drive in to work today. I have today and tomorrow and then I have a couple of weeks where I can sleep in. Everything will be fine. I can do this.

In which I have slept

And the preliminary verdict: Okay, I can do this.

I slept well last night. No superlatives, no embellishment; I slept well. I woke up substantially fewer times than I usually do (we’re talking about waking up long enough to roll over and go back to sleep, to be clear) and for the first time in a long time I didn’t wake up needing to go to the bathroom, which I have a hard time believing is related to the CPAP but might be. My wife reports that there was no snoring, and I spent at least some of that time asleep on my back, which was previously entirely impossible.

At around 7:00 in the morning I woke up and realized that at some point I had at least slightly kinked the hose that was providing me with air; I repositioned it and it started making a sort of clicking sound as the machine got the pressure in the mask back up to level. Once I realized what time it was and that the clicking was a little annoying I went ahead and got up and went to the bathroom (at 7:00, that’s not “waking up in the night,” since it’s later than I sleep in during the week) and put in some eyedrops and checked my face to see if the mask had left indentations. It hadn’t, which honestly kind of surprised me a little bit, and I didn’t feel like my mouth or my nostrils were dried out or anything like that. At that point I’d had my mask on for nine hours, so I didn’t bother putting it back on and went back to sleep for a couple more hours. I’m supposed to wear it for at least four hours a night, so I was all good from the insurance end of things.

It is probably worth pointing out that I actually considered just staying up at 7:00, which I’m pretty sure I have never done on a Saturday in my entire life without a damn good reason.

I have typically been a side/stomach sleeper, so one of the big concerns was that at some point I would have to roll over onto my stomach and the mask would make that difficult. I can only assume/hope that people know what I mean when I say this; that feeling that you have to roll over just never hit me. Again, it feels weird to suggest that was because of the mask, but who the hell knows. I think tonight I’m going to switch to the nasal pillows and see how that goes.

I don’t want to turn the site into a sleep diary or anything, but I’ll report back tomorrow about the nasal pillows. In the meantime, since they send you three sizes of mask every time they send you a mask, I’ve got four masks I’m never going to use. Does anybody happen to know something useful I could do with them?

It continues: the continuation

Look at this nasty-ass filthy-ass ugly-ass carpet:

Nonetheless, the only things remaining in the room are those lamps and that vacuum; the dolly and the small pile of electronic detritus have both been removed, and the room is officially empty.

That stain on the blinds predates our ownership of the house. I’m looking at you next, nasty-ass blinds.

The piano was moved, and while it didn’t go far it frankly wasn’t nearly as much trouble as we feared:

And check out the current state of our dining room. The boy is included for scale:

New carpet goes in tomorrow. God, we should have gone ahead and repainted in there. I’m going to end up regretting the decision to move so quickly on it.


IN OTHER NEWS, I went to the doctor’s office today. Roughly three weeks ago (time post-Covid is meaningless, it could be anywhere from five weeks ago to yesterday) my cat, the one who managed to insert herself into two of the three pictures on this post, attempted to jump into my lap and, somehow, missed. This led to one claw– one fucking single claw— digging through my shirt and deep into my stomach, and me having to literally pry her claw out of me by grabbing her by the one leg she was dangling off of. I have had a hydrocolloid bandage on the injury for most of the time between then and now, and the fucking thing wasn’t healing right. The last two bandages had to be swapped out when it became clear that the wound was somehow continuing to bleed under them, and it was still looking kind of red and ugly and hole-like, and I finally called my doctor’s office yesterday and forced my way into an appointment this afternoon.

Naturally, when I got up and changed the bandage it looked more healed than it’s ever looked, but it was still redder than I want and slightly warm to the touch. I decided to keep the appointment. My mom spent most of the last year of her life with a wound vacuum attached to her in one place or another, and if I’ve inherited her disinclination to heal when cut I’m not fucking around with it. The doctor looked at it and asked me a bunch of questions that all had “no” as the answer, then got real thoughtful for a second and asked me if I thought there was any chance there was still a bit of cat claw left in the wound. I said I doubted it , as I feel like I’d have noticed if I broke something off when I grabbed her, but we decided out of an abundance of caution to put me on a quick course of antibiotics and, and this was fun, do a stomach x-ray to see if we could detect any sort of foreign body. She couldn’t feel a “pus pocket” by manipulating my abdomen, so she was pretty sure there was nothing in there, but what the hell; x-rays are free in America, after all, right?

I highly recommend the experience of having someone try to detect a “pus pocket” in your stomach by touch, by the way.

There’s not much of a story about the X-rays beyond the look on the tech’s face when told that we were looking for claw bits in my stomach. She was, I think, skeptical of the entire enterprise, and I haven’t gotten a phone call yet about whether they found anything. I assume the aforementioned pus pocket would show up before the actual claw bit, which is, after all, at least organic.

Hey, speaking of my doctor, remember that sleep study I did? I never heard back! Not a thing. And for a while I was doing that thing where every single time I remembered that I never heard back about the sleep study was at a time where calling the doctor’s office was simply not practical, ie, right before going to bed, and then eventually it just fell off my radar and became something to remember to ask about the next time I saw my doctor. Which I did today! And I remembered to ask her about it, and I was really entertained to watch her face as she went through several stages of 1) trying to remember ordering me a sleep study in the first place, 2) “wait, I never got the results on that either,” and 3) “Oh, shit, leaving this guy on the hook for three months is kinda unprofessional.”

Well, turns out they never got sent to her either, at least not through the usual channels, and one way or another she found them, and …

Man.

Y’all.

I’ve got apnea apnea. Like, I have the kind of sleep apnea that regular sleep apnea is afraid of. It appears that I’m not breathing while I sleep at all. This paragraph, which I was howling with laughter at the utterly incredulous look on her face while she was reading it to me, is directly from the interpretation report of my results, HIPAA be damned:

There were 17 obstructive, 25 central, and 0 mixed apneas resulting in an Apnea index of 4.3. There were 728 hypopneas resulting in a Hypopnea Index of 75.2… Baseline oxygen saturation was 87%. The lowest oxygen saturation was 70%. Oxygen saturation was below 88% for 296.5 minutes or 51.1% of the total recording time… This is a markedly abnormal polysomnography study with almost continuous respiratory events and results in an overall respiratory events index severely elevated 79.6.

Now, I’m not a doctor, and I don’t know what all of those words mean, but a “hypopnea” is ten seconds of shallow breathing, and that happened seven hundred and twenty-eight times.(*) And I’m seriously considering renaming the blog Markedly Abnormal.

So. Yeah. They’re ordering me a fuckin’ Darth Vader mask to sleep in, I assume.

(*) I just looked, and they consider it “severe” hypopnea at thirty an hour, which would have been just under 270 times. So … yeah.

In which this is bullshit

My son has Covid, and he’s in the living room feeling completely fine and screaming at the friend who gave him Covid over his iPad, so nothing abnormal there at all. I do not have Covid, or at least these tests I keep taking keep coming up negative, but I’ve probably been asleep for at least 35 of the last 48 hours and I still feel like hell. My goal this year for school was to show up; I want to finish the year with at least half of my sick days still available, and I’ve missed two of the first three days of school already.

This is bullshit.

I watched Prey last night, or at least I think I did; I don’t really have the energy to review the thing but it was pretty good and if you’ve been meaning to watch it but haven’t you’ll probably really enjoy it. I may finally watch The Princess tonight; TikTok has been showing me ads for it for what feels like months and I want to watch it. I’ve also got half a season of Sandman left and apparently the first episode of She-Hulk dropped yesterday? So maybe I’ll just spend the next day and a half watching TV and catching up on all this shit.

This is it, though. Once I’m over whatever this is, second bout of Covid or not, I’m not getting sick again in 2022. You fucking hear me, universe? We’re done. I’m going to work every day and it’s going to be a good year and I’m going to enjoy it, and I’ll fight you if I fucking have to. The end.