missives from mid-america

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New Year, New Outlook

Well, it sounds good, anyhow. My primary focus this year will be on setting up for the future. I feel like we’ve been forced to react to things a lot in the past year, starting with a broken knee cap at the end of 2014. There was a compounding effect, and while it seems like I’m prone to whine these days, it was not the easiest year by a long shot.

In reality, there is room for a bit of a shift in perspective. My plan for this year is to move forward in a more positive manner. I bemoaned a lot of what was happening this past year, but we’re through the woods on a lot of it, and while we leave 2015 with a significant loss, we have the prospect of some significant positives in the coming year.

It’ll all start with a donation to a benevolent fund for animals in Jennie’s mom’s name, which she would have loved. She will help some animals even now. If things go as we expect, we’ll be able to shore up some of the remaining trouble spots in our house as well We like the place, but new siding or paint should make a big difference.

We’re in a purge cycle with regards to junk we’ve carried from house to house. And now we’re tasked with clearing out another house which has at least 2 houses worth of stuff packed into it. It’s daunting at the moment, but each time we dig through, we find more useful stuff or memories.

Eli kicked off his return to kindergarten with his BB-8 robot at show-and-tell. He got to show how he can make it move in any direction, say things, light up different colors – and he was in his glory. The first half of his first year of kindergarten has been a serious success and we expect more of the same as he finishes up and then moves into 1st grade. He’s in ninja training classes with Connor and might get into soccer or legitimate music classes this year as well.

I ended the year by losing 5 pounds. We’re all going to put more attention toward getting more healthy, and my take in that is “aggressive weight management” as required by my new doctor. I’d like to finally get under 200 pounds for the first time since my 20s. I need to burn fat and gain muscle. The yard should provide some earthy exercise this year.

Philosophically, there’s only so much I can do in a day. Work is a challenge, but I need to contain that to a reasonable work day. I’ll need to focus more and get more done, but I’ll probably also need to find a new career sometime this year.

At home, we need to walk Jolene, start some kind of routine at the YMCA, eat better food together at the table, and sleep better. I work better with a routine, or boundaries, so it’ll be pretty imperative to establish those early.


Enough Is Too Much

It’s not that I can’t multitask – I can. If it gets too hairy, I actually write down all of the elements currently brewing so that nothing slips through the cracks. But this week is getting away from me. And the exclamation point is the fact that both Eli’s birthday and his last weekend before entering the public school system officially are upon us.

Balance is the key to most things. One way to balance is to split into so many slices that it’s nearly impossible for any one to have a greater weight. That method is untenable for extended time. Certainly not more than a week, and that’s what’s happening currently.

As ever, this too shall pass, but I don’t want to let important things slip – like Eli’s concerns about a new school. I want him to go in with confidence and excitement, but he definitely plays off of our emotions. So, the best thing for everyone is for me to get a grip and be the rock. Get ahead of the work that needs to be done. Add some levity. No big deal…

Home Improvement

So, Jennie went back to school and I went through a bit of an employment renaissance over the past few years which put us in a bit of a financial bind. Not insurmountable, but definitely tough. With the economy scraping bottom in the past year or more, it’s been especially nerve-wracking.

Luckily, school went well and Jennie is now fully employed (and making more than me!) so we’re on the road to recovery. We have a long list of projects we want to do in the house as soon as possible. It’s crazy how much joy can be derived from just the idea that we will be able to do this stuff. We’re not looking to do a complete remodel or anything, just upgrading stuff that’s needed it since we moved in a few years ago.

Here’s a list:

  • Electrical stuff: new outlets downstairs, new outlet in kitchen, fix switches upstairs
  • New microwave mounted above stove
  • Mulch for all around the house and all of the trees, new plants for the bare spots, new garden box.
  • New kitchen counters, sink, faucet
  • New floors on kitchen/dining room half of downstairs
  • New bathroom vanity tops, faucets, floors, shelves
  • Fix drywall and paint again (everything – stronger colors this time)

I can do all but the first item, and the electrician (a friend) is coming out tomorrow. The rest would be a little expensive to do all at once, but spread out we have the ability to continue to pay down other debts while we make improvements.

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