It’s been awhile since I’ve done one of these status updates! My home and work life have been kind of turned upside down since the end of Spring and I haven’t devoted much time to writing, so let’s catch up!
It’s that time again! Just got home from our monthly Budget and Goals dinner and I’ve got some updates on goals!
Entered Sweetwater Cabin Lottery: There is a small, private spring and cabin in the heart of the Ocala National Forest, rentable by the week. It’s one of the only springs I’ve never been to in Florida, mostly because you have to win a lottery to even pay to reserve it. Threw in my entry for this year–here’s hoping!
Posted Weight Loss Blog: In case you didn’t see, I’ve lost a lot of weight in the past few years! Read about it in my recent blog post.
Finished Reading Leaders Eat Last: As part of a work book club, I finally finished reading Leaders Eat Last: Why Some Teams Pull Together and Others Don’t. A common selection for leadership, it’s a really good basic look into what powers actual motivation and how you can respect that in your leadership style. Worth a read for sure.
Performed Some Car Maintenance: Typical stuff, but changed the oil in the Fit myself for the first time (thanks for the assist Erik!) and had the tires rotated and balanced (a good combo with oil changes as a rule of thumb). Next month I’m rolling it into the shop for some major, milestone work: all new brake pads and rotors, a brake fluid replace, a complete transmission fluid flush and replace, and new spark plugs.
Planned Charlotte / Blowing Rock Trip: In an effort to see some possible move spots, I’m taking a trip with Vic for an extended weekend to see Charlotte for a couple days and chill in Blowing Rock in between. Too much driving but should be a good time.
Budget Updates: In our efforts to continuously approve, Rob and I augmented our budget tracking to include a record of our amount over/under budget for each month. We also added a “now” column to record the actual amount in each savings and checking account just to stay aware of the bigger picture.
ART and Massage: I’ve been kind of on-and-off-again about massages; they seem to help by lower back issues but they’re a little expensive. To try to get back on track, I got a handful of one-a-month visits scheduled through summer. On the kind and helpful advice of one Colson, I also kicked myself into gear about finding a permanent solution to these nagging pain issues. After searching around for an ART provider I came across a PT in a sports medicine / gym facility and attended an eval session that really could not have gone better. She walked me through everything, sated my appetite for a high understanding of the issue and way in which we were going to tackle it, and her prescribed exercises assure me it’s being taken seriously. Also a bit expensive, but looks like I’ll be hitting that 2x a month for a little bit.
New Videos: I released a couple fun project videos in February: a Celeste video walkthrough of a difficult level and a montage of footage from all of my Florida Springs trips from the past several years. I probably need to commit to a little less editing and perfectionism for the actual ROI I get out of this, but I’m glad to have made both. Check ‘em out!
Car Maintenance: One of the larger goals I have this year is to get my 2010 Honda Fit all of its appropriate high-mileage (80k+) maintenance (and I’m still figuring out all that entails). This month I tackled some easy stuff: new engine and cabin air filters and a new battery.
Landscaping Refresh: I put a good bit of work into redoing the landscaping around the front and sides of the house in October 2014, but I haven’t really had to do much since then other than nips and tucks here and there. This winter we had a few freezes and it was enough to knock out most of the potted plants. We all spent a Sunday picking up several new plants (mostly crotons) and rearranged the original brick tree ring. I don’t know how long it’ll last, but it looks really nice right now!
New Dentist: The state dropped my normal dental insurance last year and forced me to choose a new provider. I made sure my current dentist was on the supported providers list and signed up during open enrollment. As soon as the new year kicked in, my current dentist dropped the plan. That launched me on a fun adventure of calling around, surfing a terrible provider listing, and finally finding a small family practice north of campus. Only, I couldn’t actually make an appointment until I called my insurance, “selected” them as my provider, and waited for them to fax a form to the dentist proving my eligibility to schedule an appointment. Insurance!
Hey all! Some quick updates from me, trying to get in the habit of reflecting on what I accomplished or did in the month prior.
- Built Go-Bags: In an attempt to make travel a little less painful, I built out a couple “go-bags”, one for electronics and one for toiletries, that are already packed with anything I’d need to stay overnight for a few days anywhere. I used them on a quick trip to St. Petersburg to see the Final Fantasy Distant Worlds concert (which was excellent!) and they worked out really well.The electronics bag: lightning cable; micro USB cable; portable battery pack; 4-port USB wall charger; iPad 12v wall charger; Nintendo Switch USB-C car charger; an Apple Watch charging cable; and a pen. The toiletries bag: clippers; toothbrush, toothpaste, and floss; deodorant; a razor; a small mirror; band-aids; a tiny tube of sunscreen; a microfiber cloth; and a seal-able wet bag.
- Taxes Done, Refund Received: I’m usually pretty fast on this, but I don’t think I’ve ever done it fast enough to receive my refund in January. 100% of it into savings, as usual.
- Held a LAN Party: Taking advantage of my boycott of the Super Bowl, I threw together a quick Halo: Master Chief Collection LAN party Sunday night instead. I was prepared for my rosy memories of chaos, hushed whispers of tactics, and cries of excitement to be let down, but despite all odds I felt transported back to the heights of our church meet-up LANs and generally had just a complete blast. I hope to be able to put together a larger and longer (heyo) attempt with MCC, especially after the next patch.
- Nights and Weekends Planning: Off to a good start! Using our “Home Nights” board (over only three nights a week), we completed games 2-7 of Charterstone, played through the main story in Celeste, sat through Baby Driver, started Stranger Things S2, watched half of Planet Earth II, played through both expansions of Forza Horizon 3 (that 4K patch tho), and dove back onto the Wii U to play through New Super Mario Bros. U. Likewise, our “Weekends” list has helped us plan for and sync on visiting Kennedy Space Center, hitting up all four Disney parks before our passes expired, catching Pokemon Go community events, planning dinners with friends, and even cooking meals. I’ve found it pretty stressful when my night comes up and nothing calls to me, but it’s something to work on.
(And now that it’s 2/19, I should probably go ahead and post this. >_>)
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!