I'm a little heated these days. I can't fucking wrap my mind around what is happening in the world. As Peter Griffin would say "You know what really grinds my gears?" Here are a few things that have percolated to the top of my brain:

Conservative assholes. Listen if you want to be conservative, be conservative. But don't be a fucking asshole and try to put that shit on me. Don't try to cram it down my throat. When did people in this country get so sensitive? (On both sides, btw. This isn't just an issue with the right or the left.) I'm an atheist. I don't try to convert my Christian (or Buddhist, or Muslim) friends to my way of thinking. I figured it out for myself. I don't stand on the street and scream "There is no god!" into a loudspeaker like a lunatic. I don't tell them it's cute that they let their little imaginary friend in the sky dictate their entire life. (Most conservative people seem to be of Christian faith, so sorry if I'm painting with broad strokes here.) And I've got news for you Conservative people, no one is coming to take your guns away. So quit pretending and stop using that argument to stockpile your weapons cache. Just call it what it is... A dumb hobby. I own 8 guitars that I barely play, and you know what, I could go out and buy 4 different ones today if I could. Why? Because each one would be slightly different and offer a utility that the others in my collection didn't offer. And also they're fucking cool. If a gun owner came at me with that same logic, I would totally get it. But the government isn't coming for my guitars any more than they're coming for your guns.

N8WLKR's cancer. First of all fuck cancer. Second, I hate that my friend is going through what he's going through. The guy deserves so much more than the hand he's been dealt. I tell you what though, he's handling it better than I would be handling it. The man is incredible. We spent the weekend in Vegas a couple of weeks ago and we had fun. Even with our wives in attendance with us! He even kept up with my eating everything everywhere! I was impressed. We got drunk. We rode a water slide through an aquarium full of sharks. Drunk. We got to talk. Like real talk. He gave me good advice. It was nice to feel a sense of normalcy. For both of us. He's going to accuse me (again) of using his cancer for my own personal gain. But I don't care, I just need to get it off my chest. I just love that guy. Also, fuck cancer.

Animated gifs. Now I don't have a problem with the technique itself. It can turn a funny meme into a hilarious meme. So please don't get it twisted. What really grinds my gears is my Mother's use of them. See, when I post on Facebook, she feels that she needs to reply. Ok, fine. Feel free to reply. But she will add an animated gif to every single Facebook post. EVERY. SINGLE. FACEBOOK. POST. Go ahead and check out my feed, look at the comments, you'll see a comment from Char every time. And a cute little animated fucking gif. Go ahead, I'll wait............... And now my mother-in-law is starting to do it on my posts. UGGGGGHHHH!!! I fucking hate it. Old people need to cut that shit out.

Obnoxiously priced lab tests in a hospital setting. My pulmonologist asked for an ABG test. Which for those of you who didn't go to medical school is an Arterial Blood Gas. This is where they crack open an artery and measure the oxygen and carbon dioxide levels. From what I understand it's a pretty gnarly test that hurts like hell. I wouldn't know because I never got one. You can't just go to a normal lab to get it done. It has to be done in a hospital setting (typically). Well, come to find out, because I didn't know where I was supposed to go to get it done. But after 2 trips to the hospital and 3 phone calls to the pulmonologist, they helped me figure it out. So finally I'm checking in at the hospital and the gal runs my insurance card and says "You have a $5,000 deductible on your insurance and this test is $2,100..." I said Wha, wha, what??? Come again? Twenty-one hundred? She offered to finance the entire amount and I still said Good day to them and their $2,100 test. At my pulmonology follow-up appointment, even the doctor thought that was crazy. It was all much to do about nothing in the end. Basically, they told me my CO2 is high because I'm a shallow breather. I need to retrain and be conscious of my breathing, take deep breaths, and exhale fully. So I'm working on it and with the few readings I've done with my pulse ox at home, I've seen improvement.

Skates that don't fit. I have been watching Arden learn to ice skate and he's doing so well. But every week that we arrive at the arena it just makes me want to get out there on the ice with him. One of these days we'll make it to open ice where we can skate together. But in the interim, I thought to myself, you've got inline roller hockey skates in the garage. (Badger State Games - Silver Medalist - Adult inline hockey - 2003(?)) So why not dust those babies off and go around the block a few times? It's good exercise and what's the worst that can happen? Broken wrist? Skull fracture? So this morning I did just that, I strapped in and headed down the driveway and onto the sidewalk. I got to the end of the block and had to walk home in my socks because my left foot was not having it. It was really hard to get them on, as to be expected after almost 20 years. But it was so incredibly painful on the side of my foot, below my big toe, that I couldn't even wear it back home. It was fun to get back on my legs, even for half a block. I might try to find a new pair and start skating again. I'm definitely going to take Arden out on the ice this summer.

My doctor's enthusiastic optimism. I don't see a doctor, but rather a nurse practitioner, we'll call her S.S. She is a friend of mine's wife. I also consider her a friend, but I've known her husband first and better. He and I have lunch all the time. I wonder if he mentions to her that we went to lunch and they talk about how much I ate at Korean BBQ that day. Probably not, but one wonders... Anyway, she's awesome, and a friend, so I have her cell phone number. It's hard to separate the friendship from the health professional sometimes. I try not to bother her too much but sometimes it's easy to just send a quick text with a question. I certainly don't want to abuse things in any way so I feel like I'm overly cautious. I hope she feels differently and would tell me if I overstepped things. Anyway, now that you understand the relationship, here's what grinds my gears... I'm fat. Ok, whatever, obese. I'm working on it. Sort of. I want to, but my ADHD brain gets in the way. So we're tackling that first and foremost. I am happy to say that I'm trying a new medication and once the pharmacy gets it in stock I'll start taking that. I have high hopes. Finding the right medicine at the right dosage is tricky with ADHD. I hope we get it right early. I bought a new scale to track my weight and I love it. (Amazon link.) It has wifi and sends the reading straight to the health app on my phone. I've lost something like 13 lbs since January. S.S. was excited about that. When you talk to her, she is so overly positive and optimistic whereas I'm a glass-half-empty kind of soul. I didn't do much different and after Christmas, everyone has a few extra lbs. And I want to be positive about it but it just doesn't seem like something I can do. I think it has a lot to do with my ADHD. When I'm into something, I'm INTO it. (See guitars, referenced above.) And when I'm not into it, I just can't fake it. So when I hear S.S. talk about things sometimes I want to be like, come on. Be real. Just tell me I'm fat and gonna die if I don't do something different. I don't know, if she was blunt, I'd probably hate that too.

I could go on but that's all I have time for right now. Until next time...

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