TIL 8: Dad Crying

Did you know there’s such a thing as Dad Crying?

No?

Me, either!

And I’m not even a parent.

It’s so humiliating.

Definitely not cool.

Or grumpy.

But it’s a thing, and I think I fucking have it.

This isn’t what I planned on writing about today.  You’re just going to have to wait to hear Myrtle’s latest attempts on my life.

Soon, though.

Because right now, I gotta get this out of me.  I think it’s been a thing I was aware of for quite some time, dating back to Rib’s accomplishments in Culinary School.  It was a slow trickle then, these feelings.

But it’s getting worse.

Mostly, this phenomenon occurs in darkened theaters, thank gawd.  The last three movies I’ve seen have opened the tap.

Speaking of taps, no…I wasn’t drinking during these shows.  Well, soda.

It started with Love, Simon.  This gay teen coming of age slash love story made a reasonable case for my tearing up.  

I wrote about it, and that link above will take you there.  But one of the comments I got on that entry made me think – which I like.

The point made was that Love, Simon Glee-coated thisbperson’s coming out story and wasn’t representative of the traumatic experience coming out can be for many gays…check that, many LBGQTI peeps.

It’s a valid point.

Totally.

But I think why I liked it was exactly that.  Sure, he struggled with coming out to himself and then his friends and family…and then it wasn’t that bad.  He’d – or the writers – had built his fears up to something larger than they were and the process was resolved in tidy fashion.

I know the feeling.  Luckily.

But I know that’s not always the case.

Given the political climate in America, even the world, where equal rights for LBGTQI people aren’t the default, the stories of bravery and struggle need to be told.

At the same time, I think part of what got me emotional about this flick – besides that I’m a total sucker for a good chick flick…key word, good – was that it was Glee/washable.

Acceptance isn’t the default, not by a long shot, but the work of previous generations has gotten us to the point that at least this type of movie can be made without being relegated to the LOGO network or an art house only release.

But then Ready Player One got ahold of those same heart strings and played me.  It had to be a fluke of nostalgia, right?

Testing that theory, I went and saw it again when I couldn’t get it off my mind.

Nope.

Played those same strings.

Harder.

Fighting those same urges to go see it again, I went today to a matinee of Blockers.

John Cena was brilliantly funny in his role as a stay at home Dad with hair trigger water works…and I left the theater with a name for my affliction: Dad Crying.

I also left the theater with a salty residue on my cheeks that wasn’t  from the popcorn I shame ate.  Don’t make that dirty, Diezel.

Thank gawd I was in the theater alone!

I have prepared for and accepted two truths about the back 9 of my life:

First, I’m going alone; and,

Second, I’m going to get grumpier as I go along.

EOG paradigm: shattered.

And this after being reminded that my “only” nephew graduates from high school this June.  I hope that takes place in a dark room, too.  Just in case, I better go sunglass shopping.

TIL 8: Dad Crying

The Red Shirt Diaries #18

I’m back from coffee with the Silver Fox, our normal Thursday/Friday ritual, where I announced undramatically that I thought I had colon cancer.  It’s a legit back-of-mind concern as I enter the year of the colonoscopy, but The Fox downplayed my announcement.

Oddly, cancer came up again later when I mentioned my stomach had been a little wonky since our beer date last night.  We were at our favorite watering hole, The Big Legrowlski, enjoying a new IPA option from our collective favorite brewery, Barley Brown.  It was an unfiltered IPA called Feast From the Yeast, or something thereabouts.

Anywho, that yeast was doing a number on me.  In addition to feeling tipsy after just a few sips, my stomach just began feeling fluttery as I quaffed.  Not a general flutter, a focused flutter, which is what made it weird.  

Of course, I didn’t let that stop me from enjoying a second pint!

But when I told The Fox about my 14 hour strong stomach flutter, he put me at ease by diagnosing me with pancreatic cancer.  It’s like we were playing hypochondriac poker.

Fortunately, the acid from the two cups of coffee pretty much killed – and then escorted out – whatever it was that was funking up my gut.

Instead of thinking about how cancer or heart disease will probably be my ultimate undoing, I thought I would share another of my less-likely-lethal ends while I sat here uncomfortably on my couch with Mistress Myrtle, who is in an uncharacteristically cuddly mood.

Sacha once corrected my comment about one of my irrational fears by telling me that all fears are irrational.  I disagree, I think my fear of heights and falling a distance is a healthy fear.  Darwin would be proud.

My fear of sharks is irrational.

Fully.

It’s not that I’m a frequent diver off the Australian Great Barrier Reef or South African Coast or even off Hawaii…then, perhaps, a fear of sharks would be quasi-reasonable.

I’m afraid of a shark attack in any body of water.

Ocean.

River.

Swimming pool.

Jacuzzi.

Bathtub.

Irrational.

I blame the Jaws movies.  Well, watching them at an impressionable age, at least.

Seriously, how cute is this?

So, after seeing those films, I became aware of a reluctance to put my head underwater in a swimming pool.  It was a discomfort that remained a fairly stagnant dis-ease as I rarely swam.

However, after Sacha left me and I came out of my post-breakup funk and dipped my toe back into the dating pool, I met this guy who called himself frigginfantastic online and we went on a few dates.  He lived on Hayden Island here in Portland and invited me to go kayaking with him on the Columbia River.

I went.

It was cool.

And disgusting.

Sitting in a kayak, you’re only a few inches from the filth that floats atop the river’s surface.  Discarded styrofoam from a decade ago, plastic, that gross foam and natural debris like twigs and leaves all combing to create a stinky, frothy, disgusting barrier that is quite un-see-through-able.

That lack of visibility awakened my fear of being caught off guard and general vulnerability.  I vascilated mentally between being grabbed by Jason from Friday the 13th and pulled under or just being attacked by a shark.

This was not too long after a news story of a confused shark swimming upriver, so…y’know, top of mind.

Not too long after this, The Fox and I became friends.  We took a trip to his family beach house about a year after meeting and spent a night there as well as at his ex-wife’s house about an hour inland.  I remember standing on the bluff at the beach, watching the surfers bob idly on their boards, waiting for a rideable wave.  Their feet dangling off their boards into the water…I shudder just thinking about it, a shark grabbing their lower leg.

When we got to Sallory’s place the next night, I was confronted by a more tangible challenge to this runaway fear of mine: a drink in the hot tub.  

At night.

The view of the night sky in this rural part of Oregon was awe-inspiring.  Leaning my head back against the side of the tub allowed me to enjoy the celestial view while also completely freaking out about my entire body being underwater and a potential target.  Mentally, I envisioned being bitten in half by a mammoth great white, legs and shoulders being all that was left, bobbing in the hot, frothy, bloody hot tub waters.

I felt the same discomfort last year sitting in my gym’s jacuzzi.  Because I’m obviously deranged.

The apex of this personal terror came during a vacation with Rib.  We’d rented a yurt on an island in the San Juans.  He was all jazzed about renting sea kayaks and paddling out to a nearby island, oblivious to his own mortality like only a 26 year old can be.

Irrational fear of sharks plus kayaking in legit Orca territory equals fuck me.  My heart was pounding so hard the entire time that I’m quite surprised that I didn’t end up with fractured actual ribs.

But, survive, I did.  Fear:  confronted.

Speaking of actual fractures, this was a couple of years before I fractured my tibia running.  The first occurrence.  My doctor decreed that I was retired from running and suggested a less stressful form of exercise, like swimming.

Yeah…no.

The Red Shirt Diaries #18

Staycation

Admittedly, this is not as exciting or fulfilling as my August vacation with the family.  To be honest, this vacation is the result of my testing the new vacation request system at work so I knew how it worked.

But, The Boss approved it…so, Bob’s your uncle.

Speaking of uncles, mine flew in on Wednesday from Houston.  Coming to Oregon from Texas for some dry weather, I reckon.  I didn’t get to see him when he landed because I had a meeting that ran long.  I’m not entirely sure when I will see him, actually!  Mom-Donna threw out a few weekend ideas for get togethers, but I had commitments both days and had to pass.

Of course, both things fell through, because this is my life…where the Galby Effect originated.

So, here I sit.  Balancing bursts of housebitch activity on this vacation Saturday with bouts of couch surfing…and now WordPressing.

Couch Surfing round 1 was Miss Congeniality.

I’ve got Miss Congeniality queued up and ready to watch, but I’m not quite ready to commit to that…yet.

Which means, a lil vacay update for you all instead of finishing one of my two dozen blog drafts.  

It’s my vacation…rhymes with procrastination.

Let’s not pretend that’s a surprising development.

Let’s see.  My vacation started after a six day stretch at work, which ended only an hour later than I projected.  Good thing, too.  That gave me just enough time to get home, change and let The Silver Fox cajole me into an inaugural vacation beer before the hotel tour I had arranged to see the guest facilities of the new hotel next door.

I’d see the bar, that’s for sure.  Besides serving one of the best Oregon beers – Breakside IPA – Turner Creek Tavern also offers up some pretty tasty morsels.

Some of them are even on the menu,

But after watching my view over the last 18 months go from this

To this

To this

And, finally…this

I felt like a view from their rooftop patio was in order.

Plus, The Fox has a great nephew that is going to PSU and he’d love to have the boy’s parents stay so close by when they visit.

You could say that our recent twice weekly and now this tour was recon.

It was a good start to my work break.  It’ll be my last break until probably March/April next year.  I’m hoarding the last two weeks and rolling them over into 2018.  I’m not sure I’ll stay in my present job later than that – it’s frustratingly dysfunctional and I simply don’t earn enough money to secure my financial present and future on my salary.  So, if I leave within that timeframe, I’ll have four or five weeks of vacation time – and hopefully a bonus – to take with me when I leave.

Anyhoo.

A few days before my vacation started, I’d told The Fox that I had been thinking maybe I should date again.

If you ask him, he might tell you I was trying to kill him by saying that to him.  But, it’s about time.

After Sacha left me on our “seventh” anniversary (it was our sixth) I was alone for six years before meeting Rib.  He and I were together for four.  I released him back into the wilds of Capital Hill three and a half years ago, so…math.

Math says that it’s time.  My process is complete.

Actually, when I broke up with Rib, I did so with full cognizance of the fact that it might have been a reasonable assumption that he’d be my last boyfriend.  I’m gonna be 50 in a few months.

Maybe – definitely – I was past my gay expiration date.

But that’s another blog.

Maybe.

Having said the words out loud, I wasn’t surprised to find myself attracted to the guy giving us the hotel tour.  What did kind of surprise me was that in my thank you email, I gave him my phone number and offered to take him out for a beer.

That also afforded me the opportunity to creep myself out, since I’d basically hit on him at work…breaking my dating rule about hitting on guys in their work place.  Obviously, that’s what Missed Connections are for!  

Sure, it was just an email and a fairly innocuous one, at that.  It’s not like I told him I wanted to put my Tab D into his Slot B. 

It’s just a beer.

And he’s new in town and said he loved IPAs.

Speaking of dating rules – well, this is more relationship advice – get one that’s new in town.  Especially small towns like Shittatle and PDX.  Less cross-pollination.

Unless his boyfriend followed him to Oregon.  But I’m pretty sure that only happened to him because he and I would eventually cross paths, share an attraction and this is my life.

Of course he’s going to be in anunfilfilling relationship.  Because that’s what could possibly go wrong.

But, we’ll still have a beer.

It’s not like I have anything else to do this weekend since I’m on vacation, my weekend plans fell through and The Fox is out of town.

I can’t watch Netflix the entire weekend!

But, I can go do my recycling and then hit the sofa for round two of couch surfing for today.

I am going to potato my couch so hard…

Staycation

MAX Blog Challenge

Allow me to explanationize myself.

I spend a lot of time during my commute with no responsibilities concerning paying attention to anything.  Unlike you driving-type people.  I ride the MAX, which is the light rail train here in Portland, OR, for those of you from not around here.  In case it ever comes up in a pub trivia, it stands for Metropolitan Area Express.

See how clever us Oregonians are?

Ever moreso than our big sister city counterparts up north, not only because our light rail name is way cooler than their Link Light Rail.

<yawn>

But also because we had the good sense as a city back in the late 70s-early 80s to say “Yes, please” to the federal money offered to us for light rail.

Seattle – apparently – said, “Nah.  We cool.  Look at this major freeway running through downtown and our floating bridges!  Trains are old school.  Did we mention our freeway has a park over it?!?”

Alas.

Anyway, our MAX gets me to and from work on the daily and that leaves me with some downtime where I don’t have to worry about silly things like steering and not hitting other vehicles.

So, what do I do?

I watch a lot of cat videos.

And the Facebook.

And the Words With Friends.

And the Instagram.

Until my brain is pretty much dripping out both ears.

Ergo, the purpose of this little MAX Blog Challenge is to use my 35-ish minutes to toss off a few brief blog entries.  Such as this or this.  Just something to keep the old bean nimble.

It’s especially helpful when waking up my little gray matter for my early work mornings, I can tap out a quickie on the way to work and be quasi-alert upon my arrival.  Plus, my post numbers are way up.  Win!

On the Sunday morning that I started thinking about this self imposed challenge, I was flashing back to the leisurely Saturday morning the previous day.  I’d hit my favorite local coffee roastery for my weekly treat and instead of my usual Iced Hazelnut Latte, I was feeling like an Iced Mocha.

I was tres conflicted.

One of the coolest baristas in Portland noticed my uncertainty when I was asked if I wanted my usual and asked what was wrong.

Or if I wanted-slash-needed a quad shot.

I told her about the source of my conflict and she immediately offered to do a mocha with hazelnut syrup for sweetener instead of the normal vanilla.

“A Nutella Latte?” I ejaculated.

Sure, she responded, chuckling uncertainly.

How could I not?

I mean, really.

So there I am, 16 ounces of iced latte magic in hand, walking down NW 13th, happy as a pig in chocolate and hazelnut syrup.  I have a literal pep in my step.

Oh, yeah…I went with the quad shot, too.

Then it happened.  The Latte Song just happened.  Popped right into my head, it did.  The music it was set to was Rainbow Connection from The Muppet Movie.

And, it’s official.  I’m the biggest dork on the planet.

But, a well-caffeinated dork.

That was the story that I wanted to write for my first official MAX Blog Challenge.

But I couldn’t.

As soon as I started, my phone vibrated to let me know I had an incoming text.

T-Mobile.

I’d used all my high speed data for my billing cycle.  No biggie.  I usually have a couple of gigs in my data stash.  Then I saw it – the dreaded LTE in the upper left hand corner of my phone screen.

And it wasn’t going away.

Another text from T-Mobile, which usually follows telling me that I was going to switch to my stash.

I’m awash in relief.

“You have used all of the 3GB high speed data in your T-Mobile monthly data plan.  You will continue to experience slower speeds up to 128 kpbs until 05/05/2017…”

khan

kpbs…what type of actual BS tech is that anymore, anyway?  Could I also get a couple of tin cans and a string, please?

Being fairly easy going – shut up, everyone I know – I decided to just roll with it and keep typing along.  Then my mind started churning on the low speed data thing.  When I went to save or post this blog entry, it was gonna take a year and a half to update and complete.

Hard pass.

I could tough this out.

It was only…seventeen days.

Seven-fucking-teen days?!?!

Harder pass.

How was I going to make it?  I needed to get me to a T-Mobile to add a free range gig of data to get me through.

But how did this happen?  I never burn through both my 3 GB of high speed data and my stash.  Never.  It’s how I end up having a stash of data in the first place.

Rib.

He and his boyfriend had popped into town two weeks prior for a real fun weekend and had been talking – over our three bottles of wine before The Silver Fox and I split for an evening of Lauren Weedman fantasticness.  Well, it was supposed to be fantasticness, but not every slugger hits a home run every time at bat, right?

Whoa.  Sorry about that last paragraph.  It was very Weedman of me!

Nevertheless, during our full evening of fun packed into a 90 minute pre-funk conversation, they were mentioning the podcast they had listened to on their drive down from Seattle.

S-Town.

s-townIt sounded good.  Entertaining and thought provoking at the same time.  They had mentioned their podcast listening on previous trips down, so on the Sunday after their visit, I opened up my podcast app and started the seven episode series.

And finished it in four days.

Which apparently takes a lot of data.

Who friggin’ knew?

Who.

Friggin’.

Knew?

Ok, it was totally worth it.  But that’s a different blog.  Maybe.  If I remember.

Today I finally get to walk into a T-Mobile for that free range gig of data.

Which they no longer offer, because this is my life.  Gone are the days of a $9.99 gig fix for the data poor.

Great.  Now what?

As it happened, I needed to get me to a T-Mobile today for other reasons.  Namely, my phone contract is on a Jump! plan and on that plan, my traditional 24 month payment plan became an 18 month lease, where I could Jump! to a new phone pretty much whenever.

But I never did jump.

Oh, and did I mention that the 18 month lease ended with a balloon payment for the remaining balance of the phone cost?

Oh, yeah.

Who friggin’ knew?

So, I had also in this data crisis gotten a text saying that I needed to either get to T-Mobile to Jump! to a new phone or I was going to have a $164 balloon payment on my 4/28 bill, in addition to my normal $60-ish phone bill.

Balloon payment.

Does anything strike greater panic into the heart of a senior citizen?

I didn’t know what I was afraid of, it’s just some uncontrollable, throwback panic.

Quite beyond my control.

But, I like my phone fine.  One of the reasons I never Jump!ed in the first place.  Why not just ride it out?

Except.

My phone started giving me that “Storage Almost Full” crap and the “Cannot Take Photo” gas in the interim.

Well, I could use a little larger capacity on my phone…let’s see what the options are.

I head on down to my local T-Mobile.  Leaving myself not enough time to pull the trigger on anything before my 11:00 lunch date with the parental units.

Did I mention that I waited until the day the payment was due to hit my checking account?  No?  Because, I did.  I’m there learning that my free range gig was no longer available, but that there is a comparable unlimited plan available with unlimited data for $70, all taxes included.  Which would make my phone bill about $4 more per month compared to my current unlimited data plan where taxes are extra.

“Unlimited data”, <wink, wink> I say to the sale person, Kristina.  No…unlimited high speed data.  For real, she assures me.

It’s an attractive plan.

But, help me with my storage problem, I beg.  She shows me some external drives that…I stopped listening.  Another device, I don’t need.  I already have a brick of battery life that I think I’ve charged once since I bought it.

Lesson learned:  I don’t use the external tech add ons.

Basically, my options became to buy Cloud storage or buy a new phone.

This, of course, prompted a Grumpy Old Man rant about how I don’t even know what’s currently in my fucking cloud, nor do I know how to remove anything from said cloud.  I’m the victim here!  It’s all a big con.  Now I can’t take pictures.  I hope “they” are happy!

Grumble, grumble, grumble.

I back burner that decision while giving Kristina some whiplash and tell her that I’ve decided to go with the new data plan.  She parries with the information that she can’t set it up until I decide on paying off my old phone or getting a new one.

A few awkward seconds follow where we stare each other down.

The store’s phone rings.

And rings.

And rings some more.

I cock an eyebrow at her and she excuses herself.

like this woman.

My dad texts that they are leaving a bit late and will see me in an hour.  Great.  What Impulsive Xtopher didn’t need was enough time to complete a phone purchase.

When she gets off the phone, I tell her that I’ve decided to get the new phone, but to use the traditional 24 month payment plan versus the Jump! plan, since I didn’t.

Jump!

“The base 32 GB will be fine for you.  I mean, every time your phone updates, it will eat a little bit more of the storage because”…I’ve stopped listening.

“I’ll take the 128 GB”, I say, “Let’s see Apple update me out of that much storage!”

She tells me that I have to pay the $100 price difference up front, and I’m fine with that.  What I’m not fine with happens a few moments later when she realizes that she can’t stop the draft for this month’s payment.  What that boils down to isn’t a big deal, the $160 for the old phone will just appear as a bill credit next month.

It’s important to note that I’ve been short-handing the amount of the balloon payment on my old phone.  The actual amount of the buy off is $163.99.  It’s a shorthand that I now find myself regretting.

Because

She says, “Or, you could just wait and trade this phone in after the bill clears your account tonight” going on to elaborate – after my encouragement – that my trade in value would be <keyboard tapping> $160.

<Grumpy Old Xtopher to the stage, please>

“So, I lose $4 on the deal?” I manage to grumble and laugh at the same time.

Kristina the Sassy gives me a look that suggests that I’ve had a couple of weeks to complete this transaction that would have pre-empted the draft we are now discussing.

“Or you could just sell it yourself”, she tosses out.

Yeah, right.  My inner voice says.  I’m pretty sure I know what my face is saying to broadcast that thought.

Then my mouth says, “Yeah, I think I’ll do that.”

And I bought a phone.

I know that I don’t have enough time for her to set my new phone up for me, and this should bother me, since I’ve never set up a phone in my lift.

There’s people for that.

Smart people.

Smarter people than I, anyway.

But, here I am.  Backing up my old phone and restoring that data to my new phone while I type out a blog about how this insane adventure all began in the first place.

I can at least take solace in the fact that it only cost me $100.  Well, $100 plus the $4 my phone bill went up when I switched data plans from limited unlimited data to unlimited unlimited data…

On the upshot, I can reset my old phone to factory settings, get it unlocked and then sell it – with the Mophie battery pack that doesn’t fit my new phone – for an easy $250…so, really, I make out ok.

Because I’m a grumpy middle aged white guy and that’s how my shit rolls.

MAX Blog Challenge