On my life of luxury

Now that we are … y’know, pool people, and now that it’s starting to be warm enough that actually using the thing without freezing to death is a possibility, man, this was the right call. It’s still cold, mind you– I actually had to kick the boy out after a while because he lacks his father’s insulating layers of body hair and fat and the shivering was getting to the point where I felt like it was probably kind of dangerous. But man, it has been nice the two or three times I’ve been able to use it this week. Seriously consider getting yourself one of these things if you have a few hundred dollars to spare and some level lawn space, y’all. Life-changing.

My wife is leaving me and heading off to Boston to do work stuff for a week, so it’ll just be the boy and I around here for the next several days. My goal is that the two of us not spend the entire time playing video games. I have actually done pretty well in sticking to the goals I set at the beginning of this week. I’m a little bit behind on the wordcount I wanted, which will surprise absolutely no one, but it’s at least happening. Which is progress, right? Feel free to encourage me to continue by buying a book if you’re so inclined. They’re cheap!

The goal right now is to have enough written by InConJunction in a couple of weeks that reading an excerpt at some point is a viable possibility. I don’t know for sure if I’m going to have a panel schedule or not, but I volunteered for a bunch of them so there ought to be something. I will keep everyone updated, of course.

If I had a million dollars

Maybe a nice Chesterfield, or an ottoman …

(Chesterfields are generally insanely uncomfortable and I don’t know why anyone would want to sit in one.)

Anyway, the lotto’s up over half a billion bucks again and I’ve been letting my mind wander, because that’s actually what you’re doing when you buy two lotto tickets: you’re buying the ability to pretend for a couple of days that you’re about to be rich for that $10 or whatever you spent. I’m sure I’ve said this in this space before: I have known for years that if I were ever to come into a lot of money the first thing I would do with it is pay off the student loans of damn near every single person I’ve ever met. I’d have to figure out a way to do it without everyone taking on some sort of massive tax burden but that’s what lawyers are for.

Next step: large education-related donations. Hogwarts is gonna have to name something after me and so is the district I work for, although I’d have to come up with very strict conditions about how the gift to the district I work for would be used because I’ve seen how these people act with grants and I don’t trust them as far as I can throw them. That said, we’ve got some buildings that need some renovations. If I’ve got half a billion bucks I can afford to renovate a couple of them.

A new house and a new car are possibilities but not guaranteed. I’m pretty happy with our house, and millions of dollars would provide plenty of funding to fix the couple of things that aren’t perfect. We don’t need a bigger place and I like our neighborhood; that said, I might be willing to pony up for a place with a flood-proof basement with lots of wall space that I could turn into a huge library. There are bookshelves on every wall in this place as is; if we run out of room, that will be why. I’m not about to move into a mansion or anything but if I could find a house with room for all of my books until I die that’d be great.

If I were to upgrade my car it would be to buy a hybrid of some sort. I like my Kia Soul a lot and you could literally give me a billion dollars and I still wouldn’t end up buying a sports car. I’m just not interested.

Writing a single check to pay off the rest of my student loans would put me on Cloud Nine for weeks.

I would keep working, but I would probably not keep my current job. Honestly I’d probably end up setting up a family charitable foundation with a large portion of the money that was left; running that could become my job easily enough, and I’m sure I could find a way to keep busy giving a couple million a year in charitable donations.

I have spent a few minutes trying to think of some single outlandish purchase that I’d be almost guaranteed to make, and believe it or not I can’t come up with one. I am materialistic in certain ways– I have thousands of books and a huge music collection and thousands of comic books– but, like, our TV is mid-sized at best and we just don’t really do expensive stuff around here, and I pretty much buy whatever books and music I want without paying attention to the cost already. Becoming a multimillionaire wouldn’t really add much to how much I spend on those things. I’d probably end up with four times as much computer and four times as much laptop as I needed, but that’s all I can think of. Flying lessons, maybe. How expensive are those? I really have no idea.

What about you?

In which I have a word with all my favorite authors

Pictured: my unread shelf. Not pictured: the three more books I just ordered.

Dear authors I like: please stop writing so many books. I do not have time for all of them, and my unread shelf, which is full of riches, is starting to frighten me. There are three different authors I have more than one book from on that shelf. I just ordered another Seanan McGuire book, meaning there are about to be three by her. Kameron Hurley has a book coming out next week. And there is a third book in that order, an order I just placed perhaps an hour ago, and I don’t remember what it was.

(Oh, right! G. Willow Wilson, an author I’ve come to associate mostly with comic books, just released her second novel. That was it.)

I am currently reading The Phoenix Empress, the sequel to The Tiger’s Daughter, a book I read in January and liked a hell of a lot. For some reason it has taken several days to read, which is not a reflection on its quality, just on my lack of time to read in the last couple of days. I am about 180 pages away from the end, and as soon as I finish this post I’m going to pick it up and I’m not putting it down again until I am done with it. Because look at my damn unread shelf. It’s out of control, and more books are coming. I can’t stop buying books, because I have a sickness, and I’m pretty sure I really can’t read any faster, so the only solution is that y’all are going to have to stop writing so many books. I know y’all depend on this for your livelihood, but I’m told that things like eliminating Starbucks can lead to financial success, so maybe that will work for you. Or perhaps find a way for me to not find out about your books– which might be difficult, because I’m following all of you on Twitter.

(The Phoenix Empress is probably not going to get a full review. I am enjoying it but it’s not quite as amazing as The Tiger’s Daughter was. That said, a large part of my love for Tiger’s Daughter is related to how amazingly well it stuck the ending, so we’ll see how the last couple hundred pages go tonight.)

And then I will pick one of those books from the pile before I go to bed, and I will hope to be halfway done with it before I sleep. Because, my God, I have to winnow that mess down somehow. Tell me what I’m reading next in comments. I want to read them all next, which I’m pretty sure isn’t possible.

In which I’m dumb again

School was back in session today, finally, albeit with a two-hour delay to let the last of the below-zero temperatures bleed away before the kids had to be outside waiting for buses. Unsurprisingly, facing a shortened Friday after three days off something like 48% of the student body opted to not bother coming to school, so it was really peaceful around the building today.

I showed up for work today in a button-down grey shirt, sleeves rolled up (I always roll up my sleeves; I despise the feeling of fabric on my lower arms for some reason,) with a blue-and-purple Jerry Garcia tie and a brand-new purple sweater vest. It marked the first time in my life I’d ever deliberately worn a sweater vest, and my last thought after looking in the mirror before going to work was I have never looked more like a middle-aged middle school teacher in my life than I do right now.

I didn’t mean to buy the goddamn sweater vest. It was literally a stupid accident. I was at the fat man store last week sometime buying T-shirts (as it turns out, my policy of buying shirts at the cons I go to has put me in a position where most of my wearable T-shirts are con shirts now, and I needed to reassert the proper solid-color balance) and I saw the sweater on a table on the way out. I liked the color and the subtle pattern and I bought it on a whim, not realizing until I got home and unfolded it to hang up that it was a damn sweater vest. I don’t even know why I dislike sweater vests so much; it’s an irrational prejudice but I still have it.

A sensible person would have just returned the sweater; I’m keeping it out of spite. Against, apparently, myself and my own bad decisions.

And then two different kids over the course of the day compared me to Rick Ross, who, if you don’t know, is the dude in the picture up there, a picture I obtained by Googling “Rick Ross sweater vest”. One might think that that might be a sign that sweater vests are perhaps his thing, but no, it turns out shirtlessness is more his thing, and I will never as long as I live be photographed shirtless, full-body torso tattoos or not. I think the kids probably thought they were making fun of me, but I feel like any day where I walk out of the house thinking I could not possibly look more like a middle-aged middle-school teacher and then get compared to a famous and wealthy rapper is a good day even if the main point of comparison is that we’re both fat and bald and have bushy beards. I’ll take what I can get, dammit.

Okay I’m ready to go back to work now

45 below zero yesterday, forty below zero this morning, and I’ve been to school one day this week and twice in the last nine days. I went outside for a couple of minutes yesterday just to feel what -45 degrees felt like, and it is not something that I would recommend– not because of the cold, oddly, but because of the weird shit that happens to your skin after spending even just a couple of minutes outside in that shit and then coming back into a 68 degree house. That’s a temperature shift of somewhere in the neighborhood of a hundred and ten degrees in seconds, and it turns out that it’s a bad idea.

It’s possible that there won’t be school tomorrow either. I don’t know that it’s terribly likely for a number of reasons– objectively, it’s still gonna be fucking cold tomorrow, with a windchill below zero, but the actual air temperature will be positive and I think after the last several days they’re going to look at that and go meh, good enough and have the day. Attendance will be shit because a lot of parents are going to shrug and let their kids stay home anyway but it won’t add another day in June.

(Goes and looks at the forecast)

Jesus H. Christ this shit is NOT NORMAL:

-25 on Wednesday (yesterday,) 53 on Monday, then a low of 6 again on Thursday. This is Goddamned ridiculous.

Anyway, one way or another I’ve been stuck in the house for a bit too long at this point and everything is starting to bore and/or aggravate me and despite the fact that it’s still currently -8 outside I may need to leave the house this afternoon just for the sake of my sanity. I’m maybe an hour or two away from beating Dark Souls again and part of me thinks I should just roll straight into DS2 for the third time after I finish that. The rest of me is starting to think this is borderline unhealthy and hey you have all this free time maybe finish writing a book?

That’s the stir-crazy talking, obviously. Clearly it’s all nonsense. What are y’all doing to stay sane while outdoors is trying to kill us?