Tnx, Easter Bunny (Bok Bok!)

The Easter Bunny totally spoiled me again this year. πŸ°πŸ˜ƒ It was probably the combination of a bunch of candy, lots of little neat / weird / random goodies, some scrunchy / puffy catnip dolls for Maven, and then all of it coming during this time when we’re all bored of seeing and doing the same thing day after day, meaning that whenever anything new and unexpected gets thrown into the mix it’s gonna be a nice treat. 😌 I won’t even get into the details of the “goodies” in the basket, since they’d probably seem rather strange to someone that didn’t know me and Genesee… er… me and the Easter Bunny, rather… πŸ€“πŸ˜ but it’s a perfect little collection of weird stuff for the sake of mental distraction.

I think the EB also caught word that I don’t exactly keep my shelves and fridge stocked with “real” food, so along with the regular basket of goodies I also got two huge bags of food from The Olive Garden. 😯🀀 I ate the cheese sticks as soon as I unpacked stuff, but then there are five more entrees waiting for me, a couple more salads, a ton of bread sticks, and a big piece of cheesecake. 😁 I had no idea that any of it was coming, other than being told to expect a delivery, so it was a great addition to the other stuff from the bunny.

I can’t think of anything I’ve done lately that should merit me getting spoiled like this, and I do feel bad that I haven’t been able to include Dad in the surprise company and surprise food, but it’s sure gonna be nice to have that “real” food for most of the days coming up this week. 😌 Like I told Gen, I really am stocked up on foodstuffs. πŸ€” Frozen stuff, canned stuff, boxed stuff, etc… and I would have been okay with only that… but this was just really good timing and I really appreciate it.

In other news, a few days ago Wendi had me download Facebook Messenger, that way she could video-chat me and I could see one-month-old Matthew Jr live and in person. 🀀 And after telling Wendi that I’d “try to get back on Facebook” soon… I’d swear that my words got picked up by the wind and were subliminally scattered to my friends. πŸ™„πŸ€¦πŸ»β€β™‚οΈπŸ˜ Because not long after, I had two different friends “find me” on YouTube and Twitter, and then a couple different friends texted me directly… all wanting to know if I was okay, if I was gonna get back on FB, etc – since I really have neglected folks for a long time. 😟

(Honestly, I think that re-installing Messenger after so long may have caused notifications like “Robert Batina logged on for the first time in six months. Say hello!” or some similar shit like that. πŸ˜πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ)

On average my anxiety is still high, but I’m trying to handle the bits of each day in little chunks – rather than worrying about all of them from the moment I wake up. 😳 Cousin Jimmy was another one that hit me up after a couple of months off, and he helped ease my concerns regarding getting back into the social swing of things. πŸ€”πŸ€¨ He reminded me that everyone on Facebook is now dealing withΒ at least one shitty, significant “life” thing –Β so I might be able to sneak back in without any fuss or questions about why I vanished. 😬 I may get into that here sometime, but I’m hoping to keep my eventual return to FB quick and painless.

Okeydoke, enough rambling… heh… I was (good) wired after the surprise company from my cousins yesterday, and now I’m feeling (good) wired from the Easter Bunny totally hooking me up with goodies and a ridiculous amount of food food this year. πŸ˜… But it is starting to get late, so I should go ahead and shift my brain into neutral and start getting ready for bed sometime here in the next one to eight hours. πŸ˜πŸ€¦πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ

I know everything kinda sucks right now, and it feels nearly unavoidable… but I hope y’all had at least a little unexpected good stuff pop into one of your recent days like it did mine today. 😊 Take care, stay safe. ✊🏻

Okay, Now Relax

I took the weekend a little too late into the night last night, ‘cuz once I got home I wanted to watch the race, the Season 5 opener of Better Call Saul, and the mid-season premiere of The Walking Dead. The race was pretty good, BCS was great, but 5min into TWD and I realized that I didn’t really give a shit anymore. πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ

Even though it was getting close to 3a before I sacked out, I still went ahead and set my alarm so I’d be awake early this morning if my phone rang. And ring it did. I’m glad to have that out of the way, and I’m now on the schedule for later this week. Now for the next few days I just have to remind myself that they know where I basically stand on things, they know my concerns, so I don’t have to spend every waking moment between now and then continuing to dwell on it. Ain’t nuthin’ gonna happen ’til it happens.

Although as soon as I got off the phone I felt nauseous. It’s just that it’ll be the first meeting in a series of events that could close the medical portion of my claim… and once it’s done there’s no do-overs. 😐 And no, it won’t dictate how the entirety of the rest of my life plays out, but it’s still a really big deal and I’d be foolish if I wasn’t giving it my all. I just don’t know how much more of that juice I’ve got left in my reserves.

I’m definitely looking forward to talking with them in person though. Being able to hear their tone, see their body language… I just think it’ll give me a more complete idea of where we all actually stand. 🧐

Barfing Out Paragraphs (BTS)

It’s probably been a couple years ago now, but sometime back in the recent past Cassi introduced me to BTS. At first it was almost like a hostage situation πŸ˜… where when I would visit she would play different videos of theirs and “make” me watch. Then after I warmed up to them she’d just send playlists, knowing that I’d now watch them without her having to watch over me to make sure. 😏 It’s a difficult thing… getting someone to give “your music” a fair chance… and even more so when most of the lyrics are in Hangul. πŸ€”πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ

But I quickly started to see what she saw in them. The lyrics of so many of their songs are filled with meaning… not typical pop music schlock, for the most part. And with seven members in the group, their choreography in their live performances and videos is definitely on point. πŸ˜―πŸ˜ƒ And then there’s that general feeling of being impressed at how hard they work to record their songs, produce their videos, learn the insane amount of choreography, going on tour, etc… meanwhile, most of them are also trying to learn English. 😧 The amount of dedication to what they do is ridiculous.

If you ever find yourself interested enough to watch some of their videos, make sure that you have the English captions turned on… or find someone who has made a Hangul / Romanization / English lyric video. After a while, it’s surprising how many words you’ll find yourself picking up and being able to repeat. πŸ€“ And as for listening in the car or elsewhere… once you’ve gotten the vibe of what the song means from the videos, you can kinda take that with you without having to understand the language.

But since the time that I was “forced” to watch their stuff, to today… when I’m probably as big of a fan as Cassi is, if not more… I’ve definitely taken to them, and I’ve got a BTS / K-Pop playlist on Spotify that’s probably 60 songs deep. 😁 I’ve been absorbing the language, watching travel videos from SK, giving other K-Pop artists a chance as well… it’s surprising how much interest I have in all this stuff that I hadn’t even thought of just a few years ago.

But BTS is huge now… and their fans, who go by “ARMY” … those of us old enough to understand, you’d call ARMY folks “Beatles Level” fans. 😏 Most of them are young girls, but there’s a growing percentage of ARMY that cover all ages, all nationalities, boys, girls, men, women. πŸ§’πŸ»πŸ‘¨πŸ»β€πŸ¦°πŸ‘±πŸ»β€β™‚οΈπŸ‘©πŸ»πŸ‘±πŸ»β€β™€οΈπŸ§”πŸ»πŸ§“πŸ»πŸ§‘πŸ»πŸ‘¨πŸ»β€πŸ¦³ We’re definitely outnumbered by the screaming and crying young girls, heh… but we still count.

But that’s the concert that I got the tickets for. 😳 They’re doing a world tour, but unfortunately no stops in Ohio. πŸ˜’ It was funny, on the Ticketmaster site, after waiting in the presale queue – once I was able to see the seat map to try and pick two seats, all of the blue dots (seats) were turning to gray (taken) so quickly it was like someone was playing a sped up version of whack-a-mole. πŸ˜„

Being a bucket list concert, I went for two seats (on an aisle… heh) in the first level of the bowl seating. No nosebleed seats, where you’re so high that you feel like if you stumble you’ll fall and disappear into the depths of the stadium, never to be seen again. πŸ˜―πŸ˜… I actually tried to get tickets last year, but they sold out before I could even pull the trigger. And this year, Cassi actually has a boyfriend now… but that’s hopefully only a slight complication. πŸ€”

I actually like the d00d, and I think he’s generally okay with me, and half of the time when I see Cassi now I also see him, so that makes it easier to try to plan something out where everyone is happy. πŸ™‚ He knows what a big fan Cassi is, and how much this concert means to her, plus he knew coming into it that there was a chance I’d be getting me and her tickets this year if possible. And he’d go to the concert, but he’s not really a fan fan, and the tickets were expensive… so he’ll likely just come along on our road trip and be a part of everything except the show. πŸ™‚ I think it’ll be fine…

And like I told Cassi… he has every right to put the kibosh on it if he wanted to. Not many guys would be okay with their girlfriend going to a concert with an ex, let alone on an overnight road trip – so I bought the tickets with the idea that he’d be going too. But that’s if his schedule will allow it. 😯😬 So if he can’t go, I’m not sure what will happen… but I told Cassi to let him know there’d be no hard feelings if he was like, “Umm… no, I don’t think I want my girlfriend going away with her ex for two nights alone, without me. Yeah, uhh… no.” πŸ˜‚ No hard feelings from me, anyway… but woo would Cassi be upset if she didn’t get to go to this concert.

Wow… I rambled quite a bit here. πŸ˜³πŸ€“ It helps though… helps me start mentally putting the pieces in place, keeps me excited and looking forward to it, and also keeps me on top of the situation so everything will go down with as few hitches as possible. πŸ™‚πŸ€žπŸ» But my life is so sedate, and I do very few “big things” anymore… and this is a big-ass thing, so of course I’m gonna be a little anxious about it. 😏 But right now my anticipation and excitement is far outweighing those thoughts.

Terminate Background Process?

I feel almost silly for realizing this only just now, but I’ve figured out why my sleep got screwed up… why I have been feeling a little off. With as “aware” as I am regarding my struggles with anxiety, you’d think that any new potential issues would be immediately apparent. πŸ€”πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ Nope. 🀨 For whatever reason, I typically don’t recognize an inciting moment until it’s already had enough time to have an effect. Like walking out of your house into a rain storm and then wondering an hour later why you’re soaked.

Not wanting to bury the lede any further, I’m pretty sure that ordering concert tickets the other day was what put me a bit out of whack. So you can maybe see why I wouldn’t have suspected that as the cause. Since, on its face, that concert is something that I obviously think will be fun, something that I want to do, something that I’m choosing to do. πŸ™‚ So the anticipation of waiting to see if I’d even be able to get tickets, and then managing to get really decent seats – all of the “Yay! πŸ˜ƒ of that masked the subconscious concerns that I always have when it comes to attending a concert these days.

I’ll make a separate post about the show, but yeah… when just this past year I skipped a Skillet concert that was less than 30 miles away because it was a general admission show, and I didn’t want to risk how beat up I’d feel afterwards – committing to a much, much bigger concert, and one that will require hours of travel time just to get there, it’s kind of a big deal for me. 😳πŸ₯΄

So, without me even realizing it, I think my brain was running a background process that was contemplating all of the various issues that could pop up. πŸ§ β€ΌοΈ The main concern, obviously, is how I’m going to physically feel… before, during, and after. The long drive, the masses of people, trying not to “bop around” too much during the show… 😏 and then the long drive back home, which will likely feel even longer than the drive there. When I can’t predict how broken I’m going to feel on a day to day basis here at home… it’s just giving quite a bit up to faith that it’ll all work out okay. 😟

Now, despite all that I’ve typed here… I’m not sweating it as much as it probably sounds. 😏 I’m still excited about it, still glad that I have something to look forward to, and planning it all out will even be fun. Figuring out the best travel routes, of course staying over the night before and the night after, checking everything out on Google Earth, and then the concert itself… I really am looking forward to it. I’d say I’m like 90% “Yay! πŸ˜ƒ and only 10% “Ugh… this could be a nightmare 😳

More details soon… πŸ’πŸ»β€β™‚οΈπŸŽŸοΈπŸ’πŸ»β€β™€οΈπŸŽŸοΈ Β  πŸŽ΅Β πŸŽ€πŸ§πŸ»β€β™‚οΈπŸ§‘πŸ»β€πŸ€β€πŸ§‘πŸ»πŸ‘¬πŸ»πŸ§‘πŸ»β€πŸ€β€πŸ§‘πŸ»πŸ‡°πŸ‡· 🎡

Seeing Some Happy

Wasn’t feeling great when I woke up this morning, before friggin’ dawn, but throughout the day things got progressively better. It helped that early in the day I got some good news from one of my friends… where upon opening her mail she learned that she regained full custody of her son. πŸ˜ƒπŸ˜Š This is definitely one of those “not my story to tell” things, since it’s pretty personal, but yeah… it was nice to see that the system finally did its job and justice was served.

As unfair as many of the past instances with the court have seemed, I don’t think anyone expected that favorable of an outcome. 😯 She deserves that outcome, so don’t get me wrong, but after so long you start to doubt that the system is capable of doing what’s right. So it’s gonna be a busy and exciting weekend for them… πŸ˜ŠπŸ‘©β€πŸ‘¦β€πŸ‘¦ such a big change, almost out of the blue, but he’s already super happy – so it’s just a matter of getting all the logistical stuff ironed out and them getting used to the new “new.” πŸ™‚ I’m really excited and happy for the both of them. This is how it should be.

Then later in the evening Rick came over to work on my busted garage door. One of the springs broke quite a while ago, but with the various other stuff I’ve been dealing with – honestly it wasn’t that high on the priority list, so today just ended up being the first convenient time for him to mess with it. πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈπŸ‘·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ He makes it all look so easy… especially to someone with a left arm that’s basically worthless when it comes to any kind of manual labor. πŸ™„πŸ˜ Didn’t take him long to get new 2x4s up where they’re needed and the new springs installed.

(There was more to it than that, w/ the cables, guides, track aligning, roller adjustments, etc… but yeah…)

The only glitch (for the moment) is that he wasn’t able to find any springs locally that match the ones that were originally on it. πŸ˜• These days, garage doors are made of super light material… but my garage door, a “two-car garage” garage door… is made of thick wood and weighs too effing much. πŸ˜„ So despite buying the strongest springs available, the old 1/3 HP garage door opener just wasn’t having it. It can lower the door, but to raise it again it requires someone giving the door a manual boost for the first part of the raising cycle.

But his suggestion sounds good to me. New garage door opener. The one that’s installed now is probably at least half as old as I am, and wasn’t really meant to handle a door as big and heavy as this one even when it was new. So I’m gonna look for a more powerful replacement over the weekend, and between that and the new springs – we’re pretty certain everything will work as it should again. 🧐🀞🏻 And like many things in this house, it was probably past-due for replacement anyway, so I’m all for this solution.

Talking with him while he worked… there’s not much he hasn’t done when it comes to building, remodeling, installing roofs, electrical work, deck builds, garage doors, well installations, etc. You name it, he’s probably done it. In fact he just recently quit his job at Lowe’s to completely go into business for himself. 😯 That takes some balls, but he knows the right people… not only to have continuous jobs lined up, but also having a good group of folks that he can pull into those jobs depending on the needs or specialties.

Plus, Amy will be able to work from home, helping with the behind the scenes stuff like scheduling, accounting, and much of the other You have to do this now.” legal / payroll / insurance / etc type business stuff. πŸ˜πŸ‘©πŸ»β€πŸ’ΌπŸ’»πŸ–¨οΈ Really hoping this works out for them, ‘cuz it’s gotta be a pretty good feeling to work when you want, where you want, on what you want, while having only yourself and your clients to answer to. πŸ™‚πŸ‘πŸ»

Vicarious Eavesdropping

That little nap yesterday afternoon…Β πŸ˜’Β screwed up my entire night. Didn’t fall asleep until about 3am, and I was up and down almost every hour on the hour from then on out. I don’t know if I was dreaming, since I was watching a huge storm front going through Illinois and Indiana as I was getting sleepy, but it was either that or I just barely slept through what sounded like a huge downpour. πŸŒ§οΈβ›ˆοΈπŸ‘πŸŒ§οΈπŸŒ§οΈΒ As if someone was spraying a hose against the side of my house. (Probably just my imagination.)Β Meh… now I’m just tired and grumpy and have a friggin’ neck / headache again, but hey… at least it’s Saturday. πŸ™‚πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ

Took my morning meds and some Aleve, so I’ll be feeling better soon. Also, I’ve got a package on the way. 😯 And how can you be in a shit mood when you’ve got a package coming? 😁 Before bed each night, I usually spend a while listening to the scanner, and relaying any interesting bits to Amy, my night-time / insomnia texting wife. 😏 We use that term jokingly, of course… but everyone (if they’re married) has a real spouse, but then you often have a “work wife”, an “internet wife”, a “texting wife”, etc. Anyway, the scanner is great, but I’m far enough from town that reception is sometimes a problem. πŸ€¨πŸ“»

So I found a cheap, wide-band, glass mount antenna with the bitty SMA connector that my Uniden HomePatrol 1 uses – and it’s supposed to arrive today. Hopefully by one of their delivery people that has the GPS system where it’ll pop up a little map, showing where they are, and how many stops until they reach you. πŸ€“πŸ§­πŸšš Gonna tuck the antenna behind the curtain on the picture window, which somewhat faces towards town, so hopefully it’ll give me just enough boost that I’ll stop getting garbled transmissions.

At this point, $20 was about the limit that I was willing to throw at a possible solution, but I did also consider that my metal awnings could possibly used with a magnet mount ground plane antenna. But not only does that start to get outside of my wheelhouse when it comes to antenna knowledge, but they’re also more expensive, and I don’t have an easy way to run the connecting cable into the house. Besdies, I’m not sure I care enough about “perfect reception” to bother doing whatever I’d need to do to get it perfect. 😏 Most services in the area have gone to digital broadcasting anyway, so I imagine it’s only a matter of time before they start using encryption as well – which would make my receiver useless. πŸ˜• Gone are the days of getting a $20 “Bearcat” scanner at a yard sale that would give you access to almost everything you’d wanna listen to.

Okay, enough rambling… just wanted to bang out an entry to help me wake up and get my day started. I doubt I’m gonna be out of the house much over the next couple of days, having no appointments or obligations (and also wanting to avoid the bizarre 90 degree “fall” weather), so that gives me even more reason to anxiously await the arrival of that antenna for one of my toys. πŸ€“πŸ˜Œ It’s honestly too cheap, so I’m not expecting much, but if it gives me just enough gain re: these two specific channels it’ll have been worth it.

Makes me wish for a “Fall Hamvention” … but I probably wouldn’t go to that one either. πŸ˜…Β I miss Hara Arena.

Absorbing Someone’s Happy

Had to get up early, but for good reason. πŸ™‚ I took Bri to sign the lease for her new apartment and do the walk through with her. It’s an amazing little apartment. I’m literally jealous of the nice carpet, huge windows, tiny modern kitchen… she’s on cloud nine, and I can’t help but absorb a bunch of her “happy” as we went throughout the process. It’s crazy how many of her “big events” I’ve been a part of in one way or another. 😏

We’re hoping that Ryan can come out here with the big van tomorrow to pick up the bed, a couple little tables and stands, a lamp, etc… just that extra stuff that not only was she happy to get, but I was happy to get rid of. But if Ryan and Bub come tomorrow, we should be able to get it all moved in over there in the one day… just in time for Bri’s next surgery on her foot. 😟

That girl has been, and is stillΒ going through so much shit… but she’s facing it head on and is so far winning. 😊 Birthed a baby a week ago, got an apartment today, getting surgery on her foot two days from now… and she’s less twitchy about all of it than I would be on my very best day. πŸ™„πŸ˜πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ So proud to see how far she’s come and how much she’s taking care of without even flinching.

How Could I Not?

Here I’ve been, telling my friends “Nah, I’m not going out for Black Friday. I can’t even think of anything I need, and especially if I have to be out among the sea of people.”Β and I thought I was telling them the truth. 😏 Actually, most of those two sentences are still true… because no wayΒ would I consider going out to fight with the thousands of other assholes at the crack of dawn come this Friday – but it turns out that I did need something, and I didn’t even realize it until a just few minutes ago. (Deja vu… heh)

I’ll go ahead and describe the item, then I’ll get to the “deal” part of it. I already have a Playstation 4, and about a year ago Sony came out with a virtual reality headset for it which has been selling for $299. Also known as way too friggin’ much. Well, now that they’re preparing to come out with an updated version of the headset soon, prices in some places are dropping to $199 for the current model. Still expensive, but much more reasonable.

For me, any VR gaming that I end up doing will just be a bonus. Because, to be honest, I couldn’t tell you the last time I’ve played a game on that system. πŸ˜• Things over the past couple of years have warped my brain, taking away the desire to do many of the things I used to find fun… but anyway…

I had actually given the PSVR system a brief look when it originally came out, but mainlyΒ  because of the photo and video applications. I have a 3D television, but I’ll now be able to watch 3D movies or videos on the headset. Same thing with 360Β° virtual realityΒ videos. 😎 Does anything start to sound familiar? πŸ€” At this price point, this thing sounds perfect for me since I’ve got a cheap 3D video recorder and a camera that can shoot 360° photos and videos. Honestly, the thing is made for me to own.

But it wasn’t even floating around in my brain as recently as 15 minutes ago, that is, until I saw a post from Cheap Ass Gamer that showed the system available at Kohl’s for $199 – plus for every $50 that you spent, you’d earn $15 in Kohl’s Cash which can be used for in-store purchases later. So I hit the site, put the PSVR in my cart, added a $1.00 foaming face mask (to push the total to just over $200) and boom… $60 in Kohl’s Cash, effectively making the final price only $140. πŸ€“ Giddyup.

This should really encourage my shooting in those alternative mediums.