Thirteen years and one year

This is not, objectively speaking, that great of a picture. Bek has pretty clearly just emerged from the shower, I don’t even look like I have showered– my beard is an utter Goddamned abomination– and none of us are looking at the camera for some reason, which is odd because I seem to be holding it, so you’d think I’d know where to look. I like it anyway.

Roughly thirteen years ago, I got married to that lady on the right there. Why roughly? Our anniversary is February 29, meaning that for three out of every four years I correctly celebrate our anniversary on the 28th of February and my wife incorrectly insists that our anniversary is March 1st. I finally won this argument free and clear this year, when she fucked up and accidentally advocated my position for a few minutes, forgetting that she has always been the March person. I will never, ever allow her to forget it, either.

At any rate, asking her to marry me remains the best decision I’ve ever made, as I Married Up in every conceivable fashion. The jury may still be out on her decision to marry me, but I’d like to think it’s worked out okay.

We aren’t doing anything for our anniversary this year. Last year we went to C2E2 on our anniversary. Covid-19 was a concern already, but at the time there were less than 60 cases nationwide and we figured it was as safe as it ever was. I tried my damnedest to keep my hands in my pockets as much as I possibly could and we washed our hands whenever we had a chance to. We had dinner with a friend at a Potbellies in Hyde Park and then came home.

And then I was sick for a month anyway, not quite “as sick as I’ve ever been” levels but I literally was trashed for the entire month of March, and by the time that was done we were in lockdown. That Potbellies dinner was the last time I had dinner in a restaurant. That dinner was the last time we made plans with anybody to do anything fun. And 500,000 people are dead in the United States alone, with another two million gone worldwide.

So, yeah, this year we’re staying home. We’re having Hamburger Helper for dinner. Why? Because Bek used to make it all the time and has stopped in the last couple of years for some reason, and I’m so Goddamn starved for novelty that having Hamburger Helper for the first time in probably seven or eight months seemed like something worth getting excited about. None of us have had shots yet; we’re too young to qualify yet, and Indiana is explicitly hoping at least a few more teachers die of this thing before they vaccinate any of us.

Maybe next year, if we’re able to, we’ll celebrate on the 28th and the 1st.

As one does

The boy is on his way to bed, or at least what we’ve come to call bed one, and so I suppose I can begin safely downloading his Christmas presents. Yes, downloading, and I may very well not reveal the existence of Immortals: Fenyx Rising on the PS5 until he notices it on his own. He and his mom have been reading through the Percy Jackson series together for the last several … months? … sure, let’s go with months, and it’s triggered a moderate obsession with Greek mythology, so he was all over the game. Hopefully it’s actually fun.

Other than that, well, there’s a reason it took until 9:00 to get even a short post up. This has been the least Christmas Eve-ish Christmas ever, and I fully expect tomorrow to be the least Christmasy Christmas ever, and honestly right now I’m fine with both of those things.

WARNING: Scam Alert

If you happen to be doing some Christmas shopping, and you’re at a website you’re not familiar with, and their checkout screen looks like it uses this template:

Back out immediately and do not make the purchase, as the site is likely a scam. Note that in this particular case I’ve added this item at random to create a shopping cart, but I have reversed a charge against Helli Shop, as it’s become more and more clear that they never intend to ship me the dice I ordered and upon closer examination (which I finally did today, after disputing the charge with my credit card company) the vast majority of their wares appear to have images stolen from other sites, including occasionally actually leaving the watermarks from the other sites on the image.

Why am I warning you about the template and not about the specific site? I’ve made one other order from a (different) site with this exact same template, and the item I ordered did arrive, but it was junk, and it shipped direct from China. Helli sent me tracking information six weeks ago using the same Chinese shipper, and the tracking information hasn’t moved from “item ready for shipment” since then. Those dice are never coming.

(It’s only $30, so if my bank refuses it’s not the end of the world, but I’m also changing some passwords too.)

Today, I was looking into a Christmas present for my wife, and noted that the template for checkout was the same. I backed out and did some more research on the site, and sure enough, all sorts of reports of either never receiving the items they’d ordered or in one case receiving what was supposed to be a “king-size” blanket that ended up being the size of a napkin. I also chased down a couple of the reviews from major magazines that they’d claimed to have for their product, and sure enough none of them seemed to actually exist.

So, yeah. Buyer beware, or even better, don’t be a buyer in the first place. I’d guess if I looked into it more deeply that all three sites would turn out to be registered by the same people, and they’re using this template for all of their stores. Avoid.

(Note, for those of you coming in through a link, that there is an update to this post.)

Whoops

I somehow just flat forgot to blog yesterday, interrupting a streak at least a couple of months long. That doesn’t happen often; there are times when it hangs over my head all day and I put a “taking the day off” post up later in the evening when I realize I don’t have anything to say, but I swear to you that the notion that I occasionally write things for the Internet to read never once crossed my mind yesterday.

I wasn’t even that busy. Hell, I even had a good excuse for a post, since we put our Christmas lights up:

This image entertains me, because it was pitch-black outside when I took the picture, and my iPhone clearly had no idea how to handle processing the image, so it ends up looking like dusk since so much of it is artificially lightened. I actually watched the camera struggle with it for a few seconds before finalizing the image. We’ve done the projectors for the last couple of years, but the lights on the porch and the bushes in front are new for this year, and I think we might add more net lights to the tree and the bushes to the right of this image, as well as something wrapping around the driveway light post in the foreground of the image. You may know that I’m not a huge Christmas guy, but this year? Fuck it, we’re going full festive.

Watch, two years from now I’ll have inverted my personality entirely and we’ll have those damned inflatable things in the front yard.

Other than that, though, not much going on– I have eight days of instruction left before winter break, if I don’t count the twenty minutes that are left of today, and I’m about to bail on those twenty minutes, since (not entirely surprisingly) none of my students have decided to grace my 8th hour Meet with their presence yet. Back to the PS5, I guess, and trying to finish as many books as I can before the end of the year.

#goals, right?

How to be bad with money

Quick note, just because it entertains me: due to a combination of 1) some bonus money from the state connected to last year’s teacher evaluations and 2) an actual raise arriving with retroactive pay back to the beginning of this school year, tomorrow’s check is going to be almost a grand higher than usual. I knew this was coming eventually, but I just found out yesterday that it was going to be this week– and both coming on the same check was a pleasant surprise.

Now, remember that I just bought a TV and a Playstation 5, along with a couple of games, with the clear knowledge that this money was coming and that was how I’d pay for it. I also recently ordered a new desk chair, which wasn’t cheap either.

So this money is spent. Again, I knew it was coming, so this isn’t an issue of me just tossing funds out there and hoping, but the bonus money is spent.

And naturally, my first though this morning upon seeing how much the extra funds were going to be was Ooh, I should go splurge on something!

Sigh.

Possibly more later; I always like to record it when I notice I’m dumb.