Life Update: April 2017

An exceedingly spooky end to a hike in the Blue Ridge. “Welcome to the family, son,” as Rob has said literally every time he’s seen it.

Blogging is hard, guys. Focus is on the decline these days, and boy is it frustrating. I started writing an article about various updates in early February and got pulled away to other things, so instead, here’s one for April!

I laid out a number of goals for myself in a blog post earlier this year. Here are some updates! Exciting! Exclamation!

Budget Update: Budgets have been updated! Rob and I worked on establishing an updated set of goals for our money for 2017, and as we’ve rolled into the year, I’ve put that into action. Roughly 30% of my take-home pay is going to bills and shared spending, while another 40% is going into savings (both shared and individual). That leaves me with about 30% to budget towards food, gas, health, travel, and general spending, and I’m pretty happy placing that tension on my day-to-day budget while direct-depositing the rest. The money’s still available if I need it; now I have to justify needing it, rather than blindly spending it. It’s worked pretty well so far this year, even with the frequent travel.

Vacations: Vacations have been planned (and many taken by this point)! Trips this year: all Florida state parks (many trips in the bag already!), Jekyll Island (was awesome), a Appalachian-flavored road trip (fantastic and fattening), a tour of the Florida Panhandle (just got back), an extended weekend through SW Florida (May), a classic High Springs swimming trip (Sept), the annual week in the Blue Ridge (Oct), a few days in the Keys (Nov), and (probably) Chicago to round the year out. There are a couple potential slots left to explore (early June and July 4th weekend), but I’m pretty happy with being able to have so much of the year plotted. I’ve found that having something to look forward to helps get me through my down periods, and it also helps me be content with not always doing so much in my free time in-between.

Work: Some mild success to report! I had lunch with my department’s director (over Jimmy Hula’s, of all things) to discuss my situation. He agreed that a hybrid role between project management and development would be a great fit for me for the next year or so. As of the end of March, both the leaders of our PMO and Development teams have been informed of my wishes and should be reaching out to me soon. I just scheduled a lunch with the Development head, so after this week I should have a better idea of where things are going. Here’s hoping!

Blogging: I tried the article-a-week approach (50 sessions of light writing a year didn’t sound like too much), but it ended up being really difficult to fit into my life. It’s been pretty disappointing; I underestimated how much focus is needed to really sit down, block out all the distractions, and write, especially when that time is usually after a full day’s work. Instead, I’ll be writing when inspiration, time, focus, or opportunity presents itself, while working on ways to improve my focus when needed. If anyone wants to read anything specific from me, please let me know!

LASIK: I scheduled an appointment with LasikPlus and was given the green light for normal LASIK surgery. My quote wasn’t cheap but was about what I expected ($~1800). I scared myself a bit Googling around about it and possible side effects, so with all of the vacations and travel I want to do through spring, I bumped the decision out to summer.

Back Problems: I’ve been seeing a chiropractor for an adjustment and deep-tissue massage on a bi-weekly basis since December. It’s been helping a bit, so I’m going to stick with it for another month or so before making any changes. It hasn’t been a magic bullet; my joint still appears to be hypermobile (pops in/out multiple times a day), despite daily stretching. I’ll be discussing possible next steps with my general physician soon, but spoilers, it’ll probably involve more exercise.

Child Paper Backlog: Last year, I moved my parents to a new house, and they gave me a bunch of my older papers they’d saved from my grade-school years. I bought a large binder and a bunch of paper protectors, sorted the two boxes worth of papers chronologically, and filed everything neatly. It took a few weeks of off-and-on work, but now I have a nice, sorted notebook of memories.


Here are some smaller goals I’ve completed or made progress on, in a roughly-chronological order:

  • Filed taxes in February! Already got my refund, and it all went to savings.
  • Made it to PSN level 19! Working my way to 20, on a streak of earning a trophy for 100+ days now.
  • Purchased and acquired a Nintendo Switch, and loving Zelda to death! Currently over 100 shrines and all four beasts defeated.
  • Tracked the Samsung KS8000 (4K HDR TV) for months, snatched it cheap on eBay. Had a bit of a snafu integrating it into the living room, but it looks fantastic.
  • Installed Windows 10 on my MacBook Pro, finally giving me an out if I need portable Windows.
  • Revisited my favorite childhood park (Ronnie Van Zant Park) with Rob and Erik and played an 18-hole disc golf course that had been placed throughout the park.
  • As of this week, I’m down 25 pounds from my doctor’s visit in August 2015. A slow-and-steady burn, mostly fueled by the elimination of all sugar from soda and coffee (and most drinks).

On Deck

  • Digital Life Clean-Up: I’ve got files, photos, documents, and old assets stored all over the place. I want to centralize it, come up with a good backup strategy, and de-duplicate.
  • Pops Oral History: Been slacking on this one. Need to get a plan together to do this. I am stuck on the best approach for coming up with questions, mostly because I feel like the questions will really dictate how much good, interesting life stories I hear.
  • Vacation Planning: Need to book stays for the Blue Ridge and FL Keys trips. It kind of sucks having to pay so much up front, but as we experienced last year, the best places are mostly gone even a couple months out.
  • Develop Core Workout Routine: It’s the one component of this back-problem-solution that I haven’t implemented yet. I need to find a short 10-15 minute routine that I can reliably repeat 2-3 times a week to shore up the muscles around my pain points.

And after procrastinating on posting this for weeks, that’s that! Thanks for reading, and hopefully I’ll write a little more often.