Weekly status update [0006/????]

Weekly adulting level: High.

End-of-week energy level: So low.  So, so low.

  • I spent most of the week avoiding full day binges at the computer and PS4 in an attempt to baby my wrists given my long-running issues; it’s helped quite a bit, but I’m going to keep it up for another week at least.
  • Because of that, I haven’t been typing very much.  I’m still in the low 60s typing speed wise, which is simultaneously more than fast enough for… anything, really… and still so much slower than my traditional typing speed that it’s driving me nutso.  I wanted to start properly drilling this week with the help of gtypist, but I’ve only done a bit of that thanks to the whole wrist thing.  In a couple of weeks, though… yeah.
  • The visit to the ENT went really well, and I recommend seeing Dr. de Neef at Carolina Ear, Nose, and Throat if you need to see someone and don’t have a regular.
  • The other big bit of adulting was me getting all of my stuff together and bringing it (digitally) to H&R Block for that most dreaded of American traditions: taxes.  I did that yesterday, and found out today that I owe… a lot.  Nearly forty grand a lot.  The raw number was a bit shocking, but I knew it was going to be a huge tax bill, since I sold almost all of my tech company equity at the end of last year.  Still, ouch.
  • That said, with all three of those essentially done, I can now start planning for a multi-week road trip to Arkansas and Louisiana to visit friends and family.  I’m actually pretty excited about this!  Which is rare for me, because as I’ve mentioned before travel is most definitely not My Thing.  I’m looking forward to the languid “go whenever, leave whenever” possibilities for visits that being retired affords me, though.
  • I finished the second season of The Expanse, which was even better than the first.  Still working on Transparent, although I’m close to the end there too.  I really want to start on the second season of Jessica Jones next, but my completionist tendencies mean that I have to watch Punisher first.
  • My other big “not gaming, not computing” time sink has been a reread of Iain M. Banks’ Culture novels.  I made it through the first two this week, and am already about 20% of the way into Use of Weapons, which remains the hardest one to reread.  (I’ve done this “read them all” thing a few times already.)  After Weapons, though, the rest of the series is smooth sailing.

…that’s a lot of text, and my arm is tweaking a bit, so I’ll stop there and settle back down with my book.  But, hey: progress on actual life things!

Breathing, simplified

My new COBRA insurance card came in yesterday, and so I called to book an appointment with an ENT so that I could get some more montelukast before the final bits of my stash from last year ran out.  At the doctor’s office, I learned something that is obvious in retrospect, although it surprised me at the time.

I had been planning on getting a full suite of allergy tests, so that I could figure out what it is I’m allergic to here in western North Carolina that clearly isn’t back in Louisiana.  My strong suspicion is that the main culprit is dogwood, a tree we don’t really have where I’m from, but which is utterly ubiquitous here.  Nevertheless, the doctor convinced me that getting tested would be a waste of time and money.

Why?  Because I’m not planning on staying here long term.  The tests are only really useful if you plan on following them up with shots to overcome your allergic reactions, which is usually a three- to five-year process.  It’s the sort of thing you do when you’re settling down somewhere for a long time, not when you’re thinking about leaving on any sort of short- to medium-term time horizon.

And I definitely am; while I really love the weather here, and will of course miss the people when I leave, I don’t think that Lenoir is my “forever” home.  It’s not Louisiana either, for that matter.  I’m not sure where it is, to be honest, although my current leanings are in the Colorado/Wyoming area more than staying in the South.

The other key discovery from Dr. de Neef (pronounced duh naïf, as it’s Dutch) was that they only test for allergens in the immediate area.  This was the thing that seemed so obvious in retrospect; of course there are hundreds, thousands of potential allergens, and so you’d minimize the testing to things that people are most likely to encounter.  Moving exposes you to a completely different sets of plants and molds trying to have sex with your sinuses, which your body may or may not take a dislike to, and a completely new battery of tests.

So: montelukast it is, for the time being, until I figure out what the hell it is I’m doing long term.  And one more thing popped off of the adulting queue.

Procrasti nation

I have a confession to make: I’m really good at procrastinating.

Cue a wide array of shocked faces.  What?  No shocked faces.  Oh, well then.

I still haven’t taken my car in for the tires-oil change-inspection combo deal.  I haven’t started searching for a tax prep person either; normally I do them myself, but with me selling a ton of company stock last year I think the right thing to do is to get someone else to handle it this one time.  (Speaking of which: any of you Western North Carolinians have a good recommendation for tax prep?)  And I finally called the ENT today to try and get a refill on my Singulair prescription, to find out that I have to schedule an appointment to get it renewed.  I hung up rather than dealing with that this morning.


Wait But Why has an excellent pair of articles on procrastination that I can’t really add much to, other than to talk about what triggers it for me.  And that’s uncertainty.

I don’t handle uncertainty well.  I delayed early retirement for two years because I was scared of the changes it would bring, the level of turmoil to my finances and daily routine and “what do I do if something horrible happens and my cush tech safety net isn’t there” and and and

It’s a big part of why I hate traveling as well.  What if I don’t make it to the airport on time?  Or if I do but I’m delayed at security?  Or if the flight is delayed?  Or or or?  I can’t sleep well the night before any travelling because my head is spinning with all of the ways everything can go wrong.  It even makes me feel a bit physically ill.

So procrastination is my coping mechanism, in the grand tradition of mythical (but not real) ostriches, is to bury my head in the sand.  As long as I’m not actively doing A Thing, that thing can’t twist around on me, can’t be a source of new uncertainty, and that makes it easier.

That’s all wrong, of course.  There’s nothing to say that my car won’t break down tomorrow, or that my allergies won’t get worse.  But my brain is more easily satisfied by doing as little as possible, by keeping the active uncertainty down, even if that means just a different level of uncertainty.

It’s annoying, and frustrating, and putting voice to it and being aware of it hasn’t done much to make it easier for me over time.  But, hey: I’m on the phone with the Toyota dealership in Hickory right now, trying to schedule all the maintenance I need.  That’s a start, right?

Weekly status update [0004/????]

Adulting: Minimal.

Videogaming: Maximal.

Able to breathe like a normal human being? Nah.  Apparently that’s not in the cards.

Bored? Never.  Never!

Further details:

  • After speeding up roughly 2wpm a day since I started learning Colemak, I’ve hit something of a plateau over the last couple of days in the mid-50s.  I’ve spiked to 58wpm a couple of times, but never over.  My low accuracy rate is killing my momentum; I haven’t internalized the new keyboard layout anywhere near the level of QWERTY, and that lack is finally showing through.  I’m trying to force myself to not hit keys until I’m sure they’re the right ones, but the back of my mind is all GOTTA GO FAST, and so I typo all over the place.  Only having Backspace on Caps Lock is keeping me from still being in the low 30s.  I realize that 58wpm is well above average, but it’s roughly half of my old typing speed, which is just. too. slow.  And “a word a second” is so tantalizingly close…
  • I continue to work through Transparent and The Expanse, albeit at a slower rate than I would normally go.  I’m not even managing an episode a day.  That’s because of…
  • Videogames.  Mostly Let It Die.  So much Let It Die.  But also quite a bit of Gems of War, which is a free-to-play match-3 game made by the people who made Puzzle Quest back in the day.  It’s definitely the sleaziest of the four F2P games I’ve played heavily (the other two are Spelunker World and Warframe, if you’re curious), but the match-3 gameplay is just so good that I’m willing to overlook its flaws.  I actually put small sums of money this week into all of them other than Spelunker World.  Unsurprisingly, the best dollar-to-value deal was Let It Die.  If you own a PS4, you owe it to yourself to check it out.
  • I read my first novel of retirement, Version Control by Dexter Palmer.  I recommend it.  More here.
  • I should probably do something about the car before the wheels all fall off at the same time, like in a cartoon.
  • Can’t write.  Gotta learn how to type first!  (Are they buying it?)