August 26, 2011

Closing one door, opening another

Today is kind of a big deal. It's the last day at my job of nearly two years… but really it's ending a chapter of my life that started more than seven years ago.

In early 2004, I stopped mucking about and decided on a career path. Time to stop all this mucking about! I thought determinedly. I'm 26 now and it's high time to be an adult! I then promptly began to go about it in the wrong way.

I went to community college and plowed my way through a year of generals just to get them out of the way. My second year of school I was working a 40-hour week, taking 16 credits at another school 50 miles away, and commuting four days a week to go between the two. I look back on that year and honestly, I have no idea how I didn't go completely mad. (I reserve the right to assume I'm not mad on my own blog, so there.)

By the third year I had begun to realize that I wasn't doing as well as I wanted to in school (despite quitting my full-time job and moving much closer to school). But I had already invested time and money, and I wasn’t going to just give up. I graduated by the skin of my teeth and started to slog my way through a field that was showing its true (and not so pretty) colors. After two years of clawing and scraping, I backslid into a position which was related to my field, but not doing what I had been aiming for.

I've spent most of my time at this job slowly and painfully coming to terms with the fact that I had failed at what I wanted; that I'd wasted my time and money on a career that was not meant to be.

Fear not, faithful reader, this isn't one of those tragic emo stories.

With the help of a therapist, I finally figured out that I already knew what I really wanted to be doing. Writing. Acting. Creating. I discovered that all those dreams I'd had when I was a kid were still there, they'd just been buried under years of defeat and self-doubt and forced adulthood. So I dug them out and dusted them off and put them back on. The coolest part was that they still fit, even though I hadn't worn them for the better part of two decades.

The end result of this seven-year process is that I'm starting over. I'm off to school at the University of Minnesota, entering as something between a Freshman and a Sophomore. Because one thing my first try at school gave me, besides a hell of a lot of hindsight perspective, was enough credits to skip most of the boring stuff (like Math… we hates Math, yes we do precious). I'm giving myself a few years off from being an adult to give my childhood dreams a second – well, really, a chance.

All of this has been about six months in the planning, and now this denouement is at an end. I'm about to turn the page on this chapter after a long, long time. Too long, perhaps; or maybe just long enough. I cannot wait to see what the next chapter has in store for me.

August 19, 2011

Working things out

I've decided to ditch the attempts at regular posting (Life on the Couch & Geek Weekly), because me + deadlines = fail. I still intend to post about my life and my geekery, but I'm not going to try to keep up with a schedule that I clearly can't deal with.

Relax, I'm not beating myself up about it... I'm being realistic. It'll be more fun for all of us if I'm not blogging just for the sake of blogging. I want it to be about telling stories and sharing observations and hopefully being funny. I want to start seeing things with an eye towards sharing it with my readers (all six of you).

The idea will be to blog as I get ideas. This may be once a month, once a week, or three times a day. Inspiration can strike AT ANY TIME, people.

Now you'll have to excuse me, the pain meds + muscle relaxants are making the fluorescents turn purple and green. I need to stare at them (and occasionally do Crazy Eye) to make sure the dragons don't escape.

August 18, 2011

The hazards of being awesome

Last Friday I changed the broken taillight in my car. I don't just mean the bulb, I mean the whole assembly.

Yeah, I was pretty impressed too. Although, to be honest, we shouldn't be. It was ridiculously easy: lean into trunk, pull back fabric, remove a couple of screws; once the taillight pops out, unplug it. Then plug in the new assembly you got on Amazon (yes, they have everything) for $50, pop the taillight back in, replace the screws and fabric, done.

Seriously. It took me all of five minutes to do something that probably would have cost me $500 to get done at a shop. Needless to say, there was much manly flex-posing in the Treehouse that night.

Unfortunately, there was a price to pay for the cheap and ease of doing it my own damn self; my out-of-shape 33-year-old body decided it wasn't about to take that leaning-into-the-trunk crap without some retribution. By Saturday afternoon I was barely able to bend, stand, or even sit in one position for more than three minutes without a shit-ton of pain. My entire lower back felt like a giant clenched fist... one that was ready to reach up and punch me in the back of the head for my hubris.

Over the weekend I tried a number of techniques to banish the pain, from a slow walk through the neighborhood to a hot bath to fistfuls of ibuprofen. Nothing was helping. So Monday I gave up and went to urgent care.

The doctor I saw seemed to be a specialist in muscle and bone stuff (orthopedics? I'm not a medical expert, ok, stop judging me) who couldn't seem to stop telling me to "be more active." By the end of the five-minute consult I was ready to slap his active face right off his active head, because MY BACK HAS FILLED ME IN ON MY SHORTCOMINGS ALREADY, THANK YOU.

Ultimately I scored some muscle relaxant and Tylenol-3 (with codeine!), which I gobbled the moment I got into my car (after taking a second to admire the shiny new taillight). I've been taking both pretty regularly ever since, and here's what I can tell you about muscle relaxants + prescription painkillers:

1. Dry mouth is annoying. Even immediately after brushing my teeth, my tongue tastes like used socks. Bad side effects are bad.

2. The first few times I took both at once, I spent the next few hours alternately nodding off and dropping things. One of the side effects listed in the Tylenol-3 description was an "exaggerated sense of well-being." Indeed! It's a good thing I don't actually drive my car to work. Or have to pay attention at work.

3. Tomorrow night will be the true test of chemical reaction: what happens when you mix muscle relaxants, prescription painkillers, booze, and karaoke.

I'll leave it up to you to imagine what horrors this combination will bring forth.