What a day

I made it through a full day at work today, and it was a good day. I am trying to not get too far ahead of myself, but I think– I hope— that I’m going to really like my kids this year.

I got home and my Horizon Forbidden West Tallneck LEGO set had arrived, finally, and I put the base together. It was surprisingly fun.

Then I started finding out details about Pres. Biden’s student loan forgiveness plan, and it looks like it’s going to be a, uh, big fucking deal. I’m not going to talk about it much because everywhere that can provide tons of details is utterly borked right now, but everything I’ve seen looks like really, really good news.

Good day today. Is this what optimism feels like? Christ, this might be optimism!

Holy shit IT WORKED

My student loans have been forgiven. They are gone. They are ex-loans. I am, at 45, done paying for my degrees.

If you work for a school district (even if you don’t teach; literally just if you work for a school district) or are in any way involved in public service at your job and you have existing student loans, click here and check the TEPSLF program out right now. (Note that to the best of my knowledge everything in that piece is still accurate except for the refund check, which I think only applies if you’re still making payments while they’re processing your paperwork; those specific payments will be refunded. I no longer think I get any of my excess payments back, although I’d love to be wrong.)

Close to 70 grand, y’all. Poof.

I’d like to issue a public thank you to the Biden administration.

Happy motherfuckin’ Monday.

New hotness, again

Pictured above: my original, loyal Das Keyboard, which provided me with seven years of service before something underneath the left half of the keyboard cracked while I was trying to fish a piece of debris out of it. Underneath: its replacement, which arrived today and is effectively the 2022 model of the same keyboard, except specific for my Mac and also featuring Cherry MX Brown switches instead of the Blues that were in the original keyboard. While I am a big fan of clicky keyboards, and Blue switches are the clickiest keys currently on the market, the fact that my wife and I are still frequently in the office together when one or both of us is in a meeting means that my preferred kind of keyboard is actually kinda rude compared to the standards of way back when I purchased it.

(Discovers, accidentally, that the crescent moon button in the upper right actually puts the computer to sleep. Whoops?)

Anyway, the media stuff has been moved to the top right there, away from the function keys, and I think I actually prefer the volume wheel, and the top layer of the keyboard is actually aluminum instead of plastic, and the riser that lifts the keyboard up to a proper angle is magnetic and has a ruler molded into it for some reason, but other than that, it’s still a keyboard! I’ve only typed the words you’re seeing on the screen right now with it, so it’s not like I’ve put the thing through its paces, but it’s not like it takes a lot of breaking in to decide if you like a keyboard. Mechanical keyboards are still the way to go for me, and I hate wireless keyboards– this one also has a USB 3 hub built into it, so that’s an improvement too, but it means the wire is required– but the key travel and bounce are both pretty damn good and the sound, while not as loud, is still pretty pleasing, and I don’t feel like I’m making a lot of errors while I’m typing, so everything’s doing what my fingers expect them to be doing. I just took a couple of typing tests and they came out at 85 and 91 wpm, which is a trifle slower than I’m used to, but it’ll do.

It is possible that I have made my last student loan payment. Not guaranteed yet, mind you, but possible. My loans have officially been consolidated, meaning that the current worst case scenario is that my payments are eventually around $330 a month instead of the $545 I’ve been paying since 2005. Since the government has my loans now, I’m automatically part of the suspension of payments program that’s been going on for the duration of the pandemic, so I won’t have to make that first payment at the new amount until May.

However, my application to have my loans forgiven through PSLF has already been submitted, too, and that’s supposed to take no more than 90 days for the full review, and once that review happens they’ll find that I’ve made well more than the 100 required qualifying payments. Loan payments start back up on May 22 (assuming that the program isn’t extended again) and that’s more than 90 days away. So while on paper I still owe a shitton of money, I’ll be saving those payments for the next couple of months (and putting them toward my car, which I expect to have paid off very soon) and the loans may very well be officially gone before I actually hit the day where I’d have to start paying the reduced amount.

This … is a real big deal. Real, real big.

Juuuuust in case you’re somehow not aware of it yet, I’ve got this little streaming the video games thing going over on YouTube, and I just started this cool little game called Dandara: Trials of Fear, so if you haven’t checked the channel out you have an exclusive chance to click on this link and then go be my 115th subscriber. C’mon, you know you want to. Even if you don’t really use YouTube all that often. Hell, especially if you don’t use YouTube all that often, because then it doesn’t even throw annoying videos you don’t want into the feed you’re not looking at. Go check it out.

Important PSA for teachers– READ THIS

I am going to make a big deal about making sure people know about this, because I feel like I went through some seriously life-changing shit in the last couple of hours, and at least at the moment I don’t feel like the Biden administration is doing nearly good enough of a job making people aware of this program.

I am, as many of you know, currently paying off a hefty amount of student loans. I was about to launch into details, but you don’t need them; suffice it to say that I left school for good in 2005 and since then I have sent $545 a month to some organization or another to pay off said loans. There have been various and sundry government programs that allowed teachers in certain districts or certain schools to pay off certain loans throughout that time, and I’ve used some of them (I was able to eliminate my Perkins loans entirely several years ago) but for certain others I didn’t qualify because I had consolidated my loans with a third-party student loan company and they were no longer directly serviced by the government.

I have made 146 payments at that amount while teaching for my current district. 146 is more than 120. That information, as it turns out, is critical, because:

If you have worked in public service since 2007, and I don’t know precisely how they’re defining it but working for public schools counts, and I think “public schools” means all of them, not just low-income, and work for them means any job, not just, say, math or science or ELA teachers or whatever, there has recently been a really important rule change that means that if you’ve made your 120 payments to anybody it will count toward your loan forgiveness.

In other words, because I was teaching while making 120 payments on my student loans, even though I wasn’t paying the Direct Loans program back, I am now eligible not only to have every remaining dime of principal and interest forgiven– tens of thousands of dollars, and sixteen more years of payments– but they will reimburse me for everything I’ve paid since that last qualifying payment.

The one tiny hitch is that you have to re-consolidate your loans back to the federal Direct Loans program first. Which I just did. The paperwork to have my district verify my employment is right here(*) and once I have that filled out and sent in and everything goes through …

Boom. No more student loans. Gone.

$545 a month back in my pocket, forever.

And then? A large check.

If you are a teacher go check this out right now.




(*) Y’know, Federal government, you could just check with, like, the fucking IRS on that; they know where I’ve worked. I promise.(**)

(**) Yeah, there’s probably some sort of privacy law that prevents this. I waive it. Go.