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2017: A look back

December 31st, 2017 at 04:05 pm

Whew, what a year. Besides my goals, my family and I did TON of traveling:
- I had 4(?) business trips to Memphis, 3 overnight and one for 3 days
- I took a solo trip to NYC for 4 days
- AS and I went to Wisconsin for 3 days
- We all went to a lake up north for 5 days
- We all went to Va. for a week
- NT went to Chicago overnight
- NT went to England for 10 days
- AS went to NYC for 4 days
- AS went to Va. for 2 weeks to take care of her mom
- AS went to Nevada for 4 days for work

I think that's it, anyway. Like I said, whew! This was the first time we tried taking solo trips for the adults (except required business trips) since we were married, and it's been really positive to indulge some of our individual interests. That said, I still love family trips, but I think we'll continue this solo-trip idea in 2018!

I felt like I developed a lot of healthy habits over the year but I also started drinking more, starting in mid- to late 2016 with the stressful election and continuing with the constant stressful stream of bad news out there. But I know that's not going to end any time soon, so I can't just self-medicate until it's over. Reducing the drinking will be one of my 2018 goals. I also have been glued to my phone the same amount of time, due to the same factors. Another of my goals will be to consciously unplug a little at a time, hopefully increasing over the course of the year.

I got way back into music over this year, mainly one band, but it also reawakened my love of older favorites and made me start listening a bit to new acts as well. I'm going to continue seeking out my favorite band and new acts, because it gave me a lot of joy. I'm even going to try guitar lessons and see if I like making music as much as I like listening to it!

I really feel like I acquitted myself well at work and gained a lot of visibility and respect with both co-workers and clients. That said, it didn't translate to any material gains or title change, so I'm really hoping this is the year for that. I'm getting much more involved in our huge client's annual report this year, which is a high-visibility project, and another client from that same company has been asking for some really creative stuff including videos that will hopefully get me even more attention. So I feel optimistic and determined to keep upping my profile, but what I really want is more money and a higher title.

The rest of my family is doing incredibly well too. NT got a new role at work at the end of this year that he's excited about, and he's been selling his hats and now T-shirts at lots of shows, which has a double benefit because he also has gotten to see a lot more live music. He hasn't made a ton of profit but it's at least a fun and challenging self-funded hobby.

AS had her lowest income in three years (only by a couple grand, so not much lower), but it was after she quit accepting jobs from my company for a while because they were really bad about paying. They've gotten better and she's agreed to work for us again, so this next year looks really promising. Anyway, what she made this year was totally sufficient, so anything she makes above that will just be icing on the cake. She also added another college where she teaches editing; she thinks there's an opportunity to package some of the things she teaches at her publishing and editing classes into one-off seminars and/or speaking engagements. I think that would be a really smart way to repurpose the great material she's worked so hard to develop for her classes. Even though the teaching doesn't pay too much by the hour, it's a really prestigious and challenging part of her work.

SL started kindergarten and absolutely loves it. She reads at probably a 2nd grade level, while our 2nd grader AA reads probably more at a 3rd grade level. Both have gotten more into art and AA joined the school choir. SL might be a mathematical genius, as well. She definitely has a grasp of time, dates, addition/subtraction, and geography that's well beyond where I was in kindergarten. This will be our last full year at our daycare, which is very sad, but I can tell our kids are really growing up fast, so it makes sense. AA will probably do something else for the summer but we'll have SL go there one more summer. When school starts again in fall 2018, we might use the school's after-school program for both, or see what the YMCA near their school offers. So August 2018 might be the end of our time at the daycare. Sniff! I never dreamed we'd find a place that we'd gladly keep our kids at forever. But we'll keep in touch with them; they're like family at this point.

Our extended family has hung in there this year; AS's mom having open heart surgery was scary, but she seems to be recovering for the most part. It's still up in the air as to whether she'll move to Minneapolis (more on that in a later post in a few days, probably). My mom and dad are doing pretty well, about where they were last year. One niece got married and another got engaged! NT's gran and dad are both having health issues but it doesn't seem to be too serious. His gran's boyfriend passed away, which was sad, but she seems to be hanging in there.

Living with our downstairs neighbors is still going well, though a few things are frustrating here and there. First, that they wouldn't consider turning the basement into an accessory dwelling unit for our other friend; even though they've only used it as a guest room about three times in the three years we've lived here. And the fact that the one who's a lawyer still hasn't given me a rough draft of the agreement to purchase their share of the home. I feel like I'm being fairly generous letting them veto the ADU idea even though they don't have any ownership and pay below-market rent for their unit. I'm not even sure it will work out, although I hope it will, but I need to get the agreement in front of a lawyer before I know for sure. I hate to have them draw this out forever and then maybe it doesn't work out and they're stuck deciding whether they just want to rent from us indefinitely or get their own place. They asked about getting a permanent bed for the basement and I told them not until we get the purchase agreement worked out, so hopefully that will spur some movement. I also don't intend to sign anything until I'm satisfied that back-tax issues have been cleared up, because I'm not tying myself financially to someone who may face future issues with the IRS. But all that said, we get along really well and work well together on various things, and we usually have dinner together twice a week. Plus we get free babysitting from time to time, and cat sitting! And we just love them like family, so even with the frustrations, it's an incredibly rewarding living arrangement.

I'm sure there's more to write about, but those are the highlights of the year as I'm thinking back on it right now. I hope everyone had an overall good 2017 and will have a wonderful 2018 too!

2 Responses to “2017: A look back”

  1. Dido Says:

    Sounds like a good year, all told!

  2. Carol Says:

    It sounds like a great year with the girls doing so well. ( former teacher here). I also found the news stressful and decided I needed to "take back my life. " It is probably important for those of us who are news junkies to unplug.
    Good luck with 2018!

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