…the billing department at Hopkins has been easy to work with.

I’ve pretty much given up hope for the day when we don’t constantly have a rotating medical debt north of at least four figures. I’m sure I’ll see that day eventually, maybe when the kids are in high school. But ten straight years of this shit has really put a damper on the hope that healthcare will ever, on any meaningful level, personal or societal, be fixed in the United States. And yet… I do still have the tiniest sparkle that maybe when I’m an old man, my grandkids (if any) will actually grow up in a country worth all the bullshit patriotism people pretend to have for it.

That hope is gone when it comes to the people. Ten years of this grueling medical shit has completely deadened me to the idea that any Republican, Boomer, or lingering Silenter will ever feel the slightest shred of empathy, responsibility, or guilt for the hellscape they set up for me and my children. They will die clutching pearls while their children burn alive, and they will be the last human generation to find rest.

But.

At least Johns Hopkins is cool with me doing interest-free payments. Like, it’s one thing to find that you can never travel or go on vacations because you have debt. It’s another when you pay off that debt and then find out that, due to capitalism, your debt had a gross mutant baby and you now have more surprise debt, so fuck you.

Yeah, I’m still feeling my low from last week, what of it. I’m grasping at straws here. Not paying interest, that’s my glimmer in the shadows, baby.

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…I haven’t had to pay for all the Scooby Doo movies.

There’s like 40 of these fucking things and my kids want to watch all of them. I can’t even imagine dealing with this before Netflix and HBO Max. I’d have to spend those subsection fees just on direct-to-video releases of varying (but never excellent) quality.

Oof, and the live action ones, too. Yikes. At least they like those less.

Props to Matthew Lillard, though, his Shaggy is pretty damn good. And Kate Micucci is the best Velma. Recency bias be damned, it’s the truth.

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…my parents have a pool I can mooch off.

That’s the best of both worlds. I get free access to a pool whenever I want, and I don’t have to pay for a thing.

Pools are too goddamn expensive, man. They’ve gotta be up at the top of the list of things that are only cool when they aren’t yours.

It’s inside a greenhouse, too, so we can swim off season. Granted, I had to build that greenhouse when I was a kid, but whatever. It’s there now, might as well enjoy it.

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…the Aldi brand oat milk is really good.

Which is honestly some of the best news possible, because otherwise there’s no chance I’d endorse a milk alternative. And boy do I want to swear off dairy if I can help it, anything to chip away at climate change.

Problem is, most milk alternatives fucking suck. Especially the really big name brands like Silk. Fuck you, Silk. You fucking liars. You keep adding sugar to watered down primer and I’m supposed to be fooled? Shove it.

But even when there’s an alternative that’s actually worth drinking, its always so goddamn expensive. Bottled water expensive.

Not so with Aldi oat milk. It tastes amazing, like the milk left after you eat your cereal, it’s just as versatile as cow milk, and it’s as cheap or cheaper than regular grocery store milk. Fuck yeah, Aldi, I knew there was a reason I made you my go-to store.

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…that leak over the dining room hasn’t come back.

What a fucking ordeal that was. Started with the drain plug in our shower, which had cracked after thirty years of use. Then the water dropped down just a bit at a time and wore a hole over the dining room table.

So I bought a new drain plug from Home Depot and replaced it. And I was so happy I fixed it, until later that night when it leaked again. And I found out the replacement plug was like a millimeter shorter in diameter than the hole.

So I went back to Home Depot and tried three other slightly different plugs just in case. And those didn’t fit perfectly either, even though on the label they all said they were 3 1/2 inches, and I even broke out a goddamn ruler to make sure the part I was replacing was the same.

So then I ordered three more plugs from Amazon, hoping maybe one of those would be the correct 3 1/2 inches, but they were also fakes. Or my plug was a fake. Either way, they didn’t work.

So I had to cut out the entire P trap and rerun the drainage pipe with a brand new drain on the end so I could be sure one of my six new plugs would work, since I was going to be using the threaded part that they were sold with. But in the process, I’d mixed up all six of those fucking things because even though clearly they aren’t identical, they sure as fuck LOOK identical.

So I had to trial end error a few times to make sure I matched up the right plug with the newly plumbed drain, and then, because I didn’t believe in plumbing technology anymore, I observed the drain for like a month before putting up replacement drywall.

But it’s been about a year now and there haven’t been any other leaks. So the story has a happy ending.

Unless you look at the replacement drywall. I’m shit at drywall. Whatever. It’s not a wet hole anymore, who gives a fuck.

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…I have a scented candle in my home office.

It’s just plain nice.

Usually I don’t spring for fun stuff for my office. Not sure why. I spend a ton of time here. Even before the pandemic I was telecommuting four days a week, so if there’s ever a place where a bit of luxury would go a long way, it’s on my desk.

I think I have it drilled into my head that work is on this side of the door and life is on the other side, and while that’s good for keeping work/life balance and all that shit, it does sell me short on more basic things. Like smelling elderflower all day.

Sometimes you’re just allowed to have candle.

You hear that, you lousy Wall Street Boomers? I spent five bucks on a luxury instead of putting it in my IRA and life is better for it. Now get the fuck back in your shitty office and keep bitching about kids these days, or whatever stupid shit it is you decided to waste your precious remaining years on.

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…I was able to find that backpack clip my daughter wanted.

And I don’t know, maybe I learned a valuable lesson too or something.

We were doing back to school shopping at Target and she found this thing in their dollar section. And she really wanted it.

Problem is, this was at the end of a tiresome trip where we had to drag approval out of the kids for all the new clothes we were getting, and my mind was in “get me the fuck outta here” mode. So I defaulted to telling her no, put it back.

Except, A) she was actually being pretty good, it was her sister that had been acting like a pain, B) she has a ton of spare cash that’s been piling up from holidays these last 18 months in lockdown (which we forgot to bring on her first shopping trip of 2021 because there’s a lot of shit we forgot how to do in lockdown), and C) most importantly, the thing only cost a dollar. I mean leave aside all else, it’s one fucking dollar, who cares. That’s the cheapest I could ever hope to buy somebody’s love.

But I said no, and later when I was putting her to bed, she told me how disappointed she was that she couldn’t have the little ghost cat, and she hoped she could get it some day. Like it’s an aspiration now. So I said if I was by the store again I’d take a look.

Then like two days later I went to check it out, and surprise, no ghost cats. I don’t know what the deal is, maybe it was actually leftover stock from Halloween 2020 and she happened to pick up the very last one before I told her to put it back.

So now I feel like an asshole because I kind of am, and I can’t find it for sale on Target’s website. But lo and behold, eBay has it… for fucking $7.41. Almost an 800% markup on a thing that I wouldn’t even have had to pay for in the first place if I just I got out of my own head for a minute.

Anyway, I have the goddamn thing now and paid my grumpy pants tax. Don’t tell her it happened like this.

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