…the at-home blood pressure test went okay.

Yesterday I had my first physical in something like six years. I was dreading the blood pressure cuff.

It never goes well. I’m terrified of them. Everyone says it’s stupid to be afraid of a pressure cuff, as if I’m not aware of exactly how dumb my terror is. Like, y’all know what “phobia” means, right? It wouldn’t have a special name if it was a rational fear. People have arachnophobia, they don’t have “dying of nuclear war because Putin’s a fuckhead” phobia.

Anyway, they did three tests and I couldn’t calm down at the thought of a mindless medical device slowly squeezing the life out of my blood vessels while disaffected medical staff look on. So my results, while progressively better, looked awful. I think the first was something like 160/100. Not sure what those numbers mean, but apparently not good.

My wife set up an at-home pressure testing area so we can monitor in a more relaxing environment. It fucking sucks. Now instead of doing this only once a year, I have to do it every morning. Ugh.

At least today I was able to look at my phone. It came down a lot and was in a reasonable range. So let’s call that a glimmer of hope.


…I can breathe a little bit better.

I’m like 18 days in on my new workout routine. Well, not “new,” more like “the thing I stopped doing because I’ve been real busy and/or depressed the last few years.”

I’m explicitly not to trying to lose weight. I don’t give a shit about my weight anymore. Whatever. I’m fine with this body being the size and shape it is.

But I do want to be able to climb stairs without having to take a break to catch my breath. And the exercise is surely, if slowly, doing what I want. I’m exchange, my legs are just like constantly sore. Still a fair trade.

Also, I haven’t had a drink in… three weeks? That’s it? Ugh. Sobriety would be easier if it didn’t feel so long.


…I’m waking up early without my alarm.

My body has learned the new routine. For the last few days, I naturally woke up around 5:20 or so.

Waking up early is one of the worst things in the world and I hate it. Unfortunately it’s also the only time of day I have any reasonable guarantee I can get some free time from the kids and do either a workout or some writing.

All previous plans have fallen through because I want to sleep more. So just getting up tends to be the hardest part. Lucky me, it just became easy.


…we’re done with our weekly Covid swabs.

About six months ago we volunteered for a study from Johns Hopkins. All four of us: my wife, my two daughters, and me. We had to talk the kids into it, starting first with an appeal to pride in helping humanity out in some small way, then citing the novelty of being active participants in science, and finally, bribing them with candy.

The study included three blood draws, monthly oral swabs, and tragically, weekly nasal swabs. On all four of us. Remember how at the beginning of the pandemic people whined about how getting a covid test felt like “having your brain poked?” We’ve been doing that shit for months.

Honestly, the worst part wasn’t the poke. It was that we all kept acting like we didn’t have to do it again. Every week it pops up in the calendar and literally every time we’ve been like, “Oh shit, we have to do what? Right now? Nothing could prepare me for this!”

But not anymore. This week marks our final swab. The kids are getting a celebratory video game out of it, and I get to go back to forgetting about it each week without consequence.


…there’s a new episode of We Hate Movies.

Podcasts have been a massive part of my life for the last decade. And I mean that in the literal sense. Look at my Pocket Casts stats since I started using their app in 2017:

I’ve got plenty of favorites, but the time-tested champ is We Hate Movies. They’ve been consistently funny without overly relying on running jokes, they always bring a great depth of insight to their criticism (as opposed to just screaming over each other like 99% of all other movie podcasts), the conversations are grounded in actual film knowledge, and perhaps most importantly, they have never missed a single day in their schedule.

I have no idea how they manage that last one. The premise of this blog is just that I have to say one barely-passable-as-happy thing a day for one year, and after only a week I’m already looking for excuses to skip a day.

WHM was in my ears through all my ups and downs since I started listening back in 2012, somewhere around the time they covered The Glass House. I had their back catalog on when I was trying to fix up my house in Baltimore, when I was running back and forth to the NICU when my first daughter was born, when we celebrated birthdays and holidays in peace, when we couldn’t celebrate because there was a hole in the ceiling or a pipe burst, when I got promoted at work, when we moved, when my wife had surgery, when I self-published my books – all of it.

It’s the strongest para-social relationship I have to any form of media. Which I’m sure would make the guys cringe as much as it would make them smile.

Today they released an episode, as they always have on every Tuesday since 2010. Every week is worth it.