So I finally have secured a company to rescreen our pool cage. This is after I told the first place no thanks after the owner tried to justify pricing more than double the going rate 8 months ago.  The quote I got from this other company would have been $1600 less if I went with normal screen.  I decided to upgrade to the high quality polyester screen with a 10 year warranty and still came in $600 less than the first quote with regular fiberglass screen..  If I wanted the polyester screen with the original contractor they would have charged me an additional $2500.  So yea, I am happy I was able to wait and find someone not quite so eager to profit heavily off of storm remediation.  The wait time isn’t as bad as I expected, they should be able to do the work in around a month.

Yesterday Cindy put her artistic ability to good use, painting the “porg” from Star Wars that I 3D printed.  Not only did she do a nice job with the painting, she also fixed the print which had several defects in the model, including one arm that fell off.   Cindy also glued together my first 3D printed knife.  Of course it isn’t designed for heavy duty use but it will get the job done if need be.

 

Friday night I finally decided to dig into my Creality Ender 2 3D printer kit.  I already own three 3D printers but none of them were a kit, where you are assembling most components yourself.  I was both excited and apprehensive about the project.

As far as kits go, the Ender 2 is on the easier end of the spectrum but even so I had a lot of challenges to overcome, most due to just my unfamiliarity with the process. This was not helped by the woefully inadequate instructions which consisted of seven pictures.  I supplemented with a couple videos I saw on YouTube to help me through.

I did have some conventional problems like a stripped out screw that I had to drill out and replace and some binding of the Z axis screw.  I managed to address these problems and complete the build.  I actually did not complete everything on Friday night, I burned another hour or so Saturday morning until I had the printer actually spitting out it’s first object.  I gave myself a nice virtual pat on the back for being able to turn a box of parts into something functional at the end.

I was going to run Saturday morning but I decided to postpone it till Sunday because my lower body was still very sore from Wednesday dead lifts and it was still very cold, with temps in the lower 40’s once again.  I instead opted to stay home and headed outside to do the must do’s around the yard.  Jeans and a sweatshirt were required apparel.

Cindy and I took Elsa for a mid-morning ride to Rural King and Home Depot.  I picked up some mulch to finish off the two landscaped areas I neglected to refresh several weeks ago.  I also got my second load of 15 bags of topsoil in as many weeks to dump in the back of the chicken coop.  My hope is that if I keep dumping dirt back there slowly over the winter, when wet season arrives I will have a ground level in some spots that is a few inches higher, hopefully giving the hens a little more dry ground this summer.

Katie’s birthday was Friday but Cindy was doing a surprise party for her on Saturday.  She rented a spot in a make your own pottery store.  Not only did Cindy invite her side of the family but also her ex-husband and his family who live on the east coast.  Katie was blown away that so many people showed up to celebrate her birthday.  I only showed up for the last 30 minutes or so since I didn’t really care to make an art project.  It was nice to be able to finally meet Katie’s extended family which includes two brothers and a little sister.

After dinner we went to Outback for dinner.  The theme of the experience was sloooow.  They were slow to seat us, slow to take our order and slow to serve our food.  Despite this everyone had a fun time with lots of laughs and smiles passed around the table.  My $50 Outback gift card I received for my birthday came in handy when it came time to settle up.  I do like the 22 ounce draft beers at Outback, I must say.

Sunday morning, despite it still being quite cold I got my 13 laps in around the track.  I wore shorts but did decide to sport a long sleeve t-shirt to give me at least a little protection against the cold air.  It took around a mile of running until my internal heater had cranked up enough for me to not feel frozen solid.  Even when I finished my last lap I didn’t have a drop of sweat on me.

It was too cold to ride in the morning so we spent most of the morning indoors working on stuff.  We went out for a coffee run and then stopped at Michael’s so Cindy could grab more supplies for her Cameo crafting, something she is really enjoying.  Elsa and I went into the pet store next door briefly to kill some time.  We did several laps around the store as Elsa nervously examined her surroundings.  She is funny to observe as she hops back and forth between scared and excited and then back again.

We didn’t get out on the wheels until mid-afternoon once it warmed up and when we did it was only briefly around the school parking lot.  Cindy was still a bit cold and tweaked her knee a bit.  Plus we both had things we wanted to futz around with back at home.

Sunday evening we watched my latest Netflix rental, Baywatch.  The movie was unapologetically silly and it’s R rating meant there was some very adult humor and visuals.   That being said, it was funny, making both Cindy and I laugh out loud throughout the flick.  As long as you aren’t a prude, it’s a solid B level rental all day long.

I am taking this upcoming Friday off to give me ANOTHER four day week.  The best news is it will also be a four day long weekend as our office closes for MLK day on Monday.  I hope to accomplish several things during those four days highlighted by my first ever attempt at changing the front brake pads on a Prius.

So last night I spent an hour and a half walking around the house reconfiguring all  of my multitude of wifi connected devices to connect to my “new” wifi network, which was really the old network, just a reestablished version of it.  It’s a pretty tedious process where you have to first wipe out each device’s config and then connect to it with your phone to reassign it wifi credentials.  I was finishing up just as Cindy got home from teaching class.  Almost everything is fixed at this point except for a couple webcams.

Ali’s boyfriend came out to pick up Sadie last night whom we have had out at the house for something like three weeks straight.  I think it was the longest she has been at the house since Ali and I split.  She quickly becomes a staple of the environment and to have her not there last night felt strange. I felt down right sad when I looked over at Elsa and saw her moping on the couch obviously missing her favorite companion and playmate.  She loves Sadie so much.

This cold blast we have been experiencing down in Florida has been pretty severe by our standards but of course pales in comparison to what is going on up north where snow is backed up by arctic, subfreezing temps with horrendous wind.  I feel lucky that although temps at our place touched the upper 30’s, we have not had the widespread frost which is what does the most landscape damage.  Our garden seems to be unaffected which is great.

So the latest disaster for the Trump presidency broke yesterday with the announcement of a book filled with insider information of the circus that was year one of Donald’s presidency.  Some of the quotes I heard were unbelievable but the most damning things are the ones from Steve Bannon, Trumps campaign “CEO” and chief strategist, until he was let go.  Bannon of course is as trustworthy as Trump is, meaning not at all, but still, the things he said were so damning that if they even are only partially true, it’s incredible that Trump is still sitting in the White House.

There is a lot of dangling corruption in the Russia involvement with the US election but at it’s core it seems it was all about money.  Russia was offering assistance in the election in exchange for Trump business entities assisting in a massive and long standing Russian money laundering operation.  Do a little digging on the subject and you will be amazed and disgusted at just how deep this rabbit hole goes.

I can only hope that my friends that voted for Trump can at least pause for a non-partisan second and analyze what kind of person they actually voted for and how he got to where he is.  It isn’t a negative thing to reconsider your position on topics when new information becomes available.  It’s what a modern society is supposed to do, evolve.

This weekend agenda, stay warm, do stuff, and celebrate Katie’s birthday.

So I inadvertently opened a very large can of worms yesterday when I tried adding a new wifi range extender to my network.  The purpose was to give my Ring Spotlight Cam a stronger signal.  With my current set up connection to that device was inconsistent and the video stream wasn’t great.  The Netgear repeater is supposed to act as a middleman, you connect it to your existing WiFi and plug it in somewhere in between where your router is and where you want to reach.

So without boring you with the technical details, while I was in my wifi router admin interface I applied the latest and greatest firmware update.  Well the end result of this was my wifi config getting wiped out.  Even though I went back in and changed things back to how they were, as far as my huge collection of wifi enabled devices are concerned, the network they were connected to no longer existed.

It was too late for me to fix it all by the time I realized that pretty much EVERYTHING in my smart home was now dumb.  Unfortunately tonight, which I hoped to spend working on assembling my 3D printer kit will instead be filled with going around the house and reconfiguring wifi on a couple dozen devices. It’s sort of crazy that there is not an easier way to address this but it surely makes me very hesitant to want to swap out my wifi router anytime soon.

Last night I did my second YouTube live stream.  Cindy was home so she jumped in as well during parts of the broadcast.  It’s sort of fun directly interacting with some of my channel subscribers from all over the world.  I hope to do it more often.

 

Even though I just came off a couple extended holiday weekends I feel like I wish I had a few more of them to do stuff.  I just received a laser engraver and a 3D printer kit from GearBest that I would like to assemble and test out.  The items are my first free spiffs from them which are given in exchange for video reviews of the products which include linking the product on the GearBest website.  I am looking forward to digging into both and wish I could take a few days off to tinker with them.

I always have my my constant overhead of other projects circling overhead.  I also ordered a set of front brake pads for the Prius which are due for replacement.  I have done pads on a number of Toyotas but never a Prius so it should be a good learning experience and video opportunity.  If I could just find a way to swing a permanent four day work week I’d be set.

The weather this week is going to be pretty frigid by Florida standards with a forecast low possibly dipping into the upper 30’s at some point.  This isn’t a one day and done cold snap, it is forecast to be quite chilly all week long.  Hell there is even a chance for snow in northern Florida.  In the past I would put a lot of effort into trying to protect potentially cold sensitive plants in the landscape.  However in my experience, typically the effort is not worth the end result as I still had stuff die or get badly damaged after wind blew apart the insulation that was attached.

The heat was on last night and will continue to be that way as long as the forecast lows are in the 40’s or less.

So my three day New Year’s weekend has come and gone, just like the year it marks. Cindy and I crammed a lot of things into that 72 hours, let’s see if I can remember them.

Friday night we watched Alien Covenant, a movie Cindy was less than thrilled with seeing going in.  It turned out to be B+ good in my book.  Even Cindy said she sort of liked it, except for the being scared shitless part.

Saturday morning I got up and got my run out of the way.  The cool December air makes the experience much better for me compared to July/August.  It always has it’s mental struggles regardless as I countdown the 13 laps in my head but I completed them in a workman-like fashion.

When I got home Cindy had a present sitting on the fence post of the chicken area for me. I caught another mouse in my live trap I had set up in the coop run.  I wasted little time before I transported the unwelcome coop inhabitant to the same general area I let the last mouse go several days earlier.  Maybe, just maybe they will meet up somehow.

On Saturday I also did something earlier than I have done probably since moving to Florida, took down the Christmas lights, trees and decorations.  I NEVER do this in December, I typically enjoy the Christmas lights well into January.  I remember one year I think I didn’t take them down until the third week in January.

You would think this year would once again be the case.  I really liked the 2017 version of Xmas both visually and emotionally, it was one of the best I have had in awhile, hence you would think I again would leave the stuff out for an extended period of time.  Well for whatever reason I was just ready, something in my head clicked and once it did it was time to de-Christmas.  Cindy was teaching class Friday morning so I pulled down all of the exterior decorations myself.  When she got home we were able to restore normalcy inside the house in 90 minutes or so.  There always is a sense of sadness for me when putting the holiday stuff away but there also is a comforting feeling when things are back to normal.  Once we finished it felt good that we got that task knocked out at the front of the three day weekend instead of waiting to do it later. I did decide to leave the lights up on the chicken coop, the chickens told me they really liked them.

On Saturday night we were going to a party held at a friend from the running club’s house.  Technically it was supposed to be a cornhole tournament although Cindy and I were not participants in that aspect of the party. Well an hour or so before the party was supposed to start our friend sends out a message on Facebook that they just lost power and it wasn’t due to be restored for a few hours.  She asked if anyone had generators, especially one that can do 220.  We told her we did and could bring it.  All of a sudden showing up casually late was not an option, they asked if we could get there asap.

So things got thrown into fast forward mode.  I loaded BOTH of my generators into the back of the Tacoma along with a gas can and extension cords, unsure of what the needs would be.  When we got there we just unloaded the big generator.  I used it to power their well equipment and some of the lights in their backyard.  They had the yard decorated beautifully for the party, evidently a holdover from their daughters wedding a week or two prior.  Luckily power was restored after around an hour so it wasn’t a huge problem.

At the party were a bunch of people that I have not seen for a long time, some of them dating back to when I stopped race timing two years ago.  It was nice to see old familiar faces, many of whom were surprised to see me since I have pretty much steered clear of any and all running club activities since I left.  The spread of food and drink was impressive as well, I indulged in it.

The party was held outdoors and the outdoors were feeling quite chilly as the air temp dropped into the upper 50’s.  We were planning to head out soon.  I was sitting on a cooler by the pool edge talking to Mark, whose dog Petunia was nearby.  Petunia is rather old and looked a bit unsteady as she walked.  All of a sudden I heard a splash and saw the dog had fallen into the pool.  I immediately sprang to the edge of the pool.  She was not coming up on her own so I dunked my left arm into the pool and pulled her out.  As soon as I sat her on the deck she ran away, scared, cold and very, very wet.  Mark thanked me for my efforts but it was really not that big of a deal.  If I didn’t do it there were probably another half dozen around the pool that would have acted the same, I just happened to be closest.

We headed out around 8:30, we were both freezing by that point.  Even though I was lukewarm about going to the party in the first place I wound up having a nice time and it had the bonus of counting as our NYE celebration, at least in my book.

Sunday morning after cleaning the coop and paying the bills Cindy and I headed over to the school to ride some more.  Cindy wanted to do some more practice on the Mten3 and I just wanted to practice in general.  I brought three wheels along to do so.  We had a fun little session that Katie and Daniel dropped into at the end of.  It’s cool that Cindy is working at getting better at riding.

I had some mild urgency to get home to watch the final Eagles regular season game against the Cowboys.  The game was meaningless in the big picture since the Cowboys were out of the playoffs and the Eagles had their spot locked up.  Still it was Eagles/Cowboys….  Well the game was in a word, awful.  The Eagles sat many of their starters and it showed.  Even with back ups the Cowboys did not fare well with the game remaining scoreless into the fourth quarter.  The Cowboys wound up winning 6-0.  I am not sure how or why I even sat through the entire game.

After the game Cindy and I did a late run to Home Depot.  I wanted to get parts to make the electrical box under the sink useful.  The unterminated box was put there in case I ever wanted to add a garbage disposal to the sink.  Well I never did that but I recently got inspired to turn it into a regular power outlet.  The reason was so we could move the brand new Echo Show to the kitchen counter and supply power from under the sink.  Installing the outlet was a bit of a struggle as working on the back wall under a sink tends to be less than ideal.  In addition to supplying the power for the new location I also 3D printed a lazy susan for the Echo Show that allows us to spin the unit around as needed to see the screen.  The simple model uses airsoft BB’s to provide the rotation action.

Our NYE was tame as I preferred.  I played WoW and then during the last 20 minutes before the ball dropped I watched Ryan Seacrest freezing his ass off in NYC.  We celebrated by drinking some of the apple pie moonshine Cindy made last week.  I also drank my last Zima which I was saving in the fridge for months for the occasion.  Cindy was acting very silly from the couple drinks, it was entertaining.

Monday we “slept in” till 7AM or so.  After completing the chicken maintenance I asked Cindy if she was up to riding to Dunkin Donuts with me, meaning both of us on EUC’s.  She was not but actually countered with her possibly riding her road bike while I rode.  She has said for awhile she was interested in getting back on her bike to see how she feels to compare it with the spin classes she teaches several times a week. That sounded good to me.

 

Before we went Cindy wanted to redo the wrapping on her handlebars.  I bought her new tape to do so for Christmas but she had not gotten the chance to replace it yet.  I helped her a little bit, serving as an extra pair of hands during the process.  The new stuff is thicker and brighter than the boring and worn out black tape it replaced.

Early on in the ride Cindy was in the lead.  The steady headwind made her agreeable to me taking the wind breaking spot about three miles into the ride.  The air was a bit chilly but more and more comfortable as the ride progressed.  Overall Cindy did quite well despite not riding her bike in more than a year.  Hopefully we get to do more tandem riding in the future.

Monday afternoon I cranked out my second and third videos of the day.

The first video was me testing the strength of a new 3D printed EUC stand my buddy Mathias designed.  It uses a lot less plastic than the original design so I was worried it would not be strong enough to support my biggest wheels.  If you see the video you will see the new more stylish stand did indeed hold up to the 60 pound+ behemoth wheel.

I have had a replacement battery for my Iphone for a couple weeks but had not gotten around to installing it.  I had seen a couple videos on the swap process and of course they made it seem straight forward and simple.  Well of course, for me, it was not.  Getting the phone apart was not difficult however I was amazed at just how ridiculously tiny some of the screws were, they looked like little specks of metal sitting on the desk.

The real difficulty began when it came time to remove the old battery which is held on by two sided tape, extremely strong two sided tape.  The video I saw demonstrated using the attached tabs to pull out most of the adhesive strips to make battery removal easier.  In my case, the tape ripped almost immediately, leaving most of the adhesive locking the battery to the case.  To get the old battery out I had to use the heat gun to heat the adhesive and then use some ugly prying that left the original battery bent and mangled.

Installing the new battery itself wasn’t bad but I struggled mightily getting the rest of the phone together, specifically some of the micro connectors and the microscopic screws.  The screws were the biggest joke.  I lost two or three in the process and gave up trying to get a couple of them back in.  If you watch the video you should get a good sense of my frustration.  In the end I got the phone together and functional.  Hopefully the new battery will get me through to the point where I get a new phone.  It wasn’t an experience I am looking to repeat again anytime soon.

Monday evening was pretty chill with me WoWing again while Cindy did her thing.  Over the weekend she did a lot of playing around with her new Cameo and produced her first cut and drawn projects.  There is a lot for her to learn but once she does the things she can do are pretty endless. Today should be a huge day at the house package-wise there are no less than a half dozen items all slated to show up at the door.

 

 

 

 

Last night after work I did my first ever YouTube live streaming session, something you are seeing more and more of.  It is YT’s version of twitch.tv I guess.I went into it with no real agenda other than to express my appreciation for the support I have gotten over the past year and to talk about any topic presented to me.  It took a few minutes until things got rolling but overall I think it went surprisingly well. I will definitely be doing more sessions in the future.  Getting Cindy in on some of them would be funny I’m sure.

Today marks my last blog post of 2017, a year filled with a lot of ups and downs as I tried my best to document yesterday.  We get to enjoy our second long weekend in a row, getting off Monday for New Years Day.  We have not made any definitive plans for NYE.  Although I have gone out on NYE quite a few times I am just as content letting the year pass under my own roof.  Of course I have things I want to accomplish over these three days and I hope 2018 to be a slightly new and improved version of the year before.

Another 365 days have raced by once again which has brought my dreaded 50th birthday into the light.  I guess it’s time to recap the year and as always I start that by seeing how I did with my goals I set from last year.

Home Improvements – Address the roof maybe, resurface pool deck, replace the bathroom vanity in master bathroom. Well there was plenty done around the house but not what I expected although the roof will be redone during next summer thanks to Hurricane Irma.  Instead of the master bathroom getting a new vanity Cindy totally redid the guest bathroom including paint, wainscot and a new quartz countertop and sink which looks great.  Pool deck is still lack luster but oh well .

Financial goals – pay off primary mortgage, check!  That was a cool accomplishment that now gives me more income to apply to other bills and goals.  Getting Cindy a new Prius, well sort of.  Instead of a new Prius she bought a brand new Hyundai Ioniq and I bought her old Prius, allowing me to have a good daily commuter and giving us the luxury of a third vehicle in the household.

Fitness – Don’t die and more regular running, races.  I’m not dead and my fitness/strength has taken a slight uptick I think from last year at this time.  The aches and pains have not been quite as bad, the addition of CBD oil to my regimen certainly helped that.  I have been able to run consistently pretty much all year which is cool.

Travel – Do a road trip again, yep we did our first Florida to Maine road trip which was really awesome in some ways and terrible in others.  We rode our EUC’s up and down the east coast as I hoped.

Interest in buying a Jeep Wrangler – nope the 2007 Prius filled that spot, not as much fun but surely much more functional.

Growing my YouTube channel – YES.  I am now just shy of 3000 subscribers and have over two million views.  In addition to monthly ad revenue which is currently in the neighborhood of $250, I am also getting spiff’s via my affiliation with an EUC store, an electronics store (GearBest), and through my Amazon Affiliate links.  I am now damn close to bringing the same if not more extra income as when I was doing race timing which is pretty awesome and a lot more fun.

Ok so what else happened….

Well let’s get material objects out of the way.  In addition to the home improvement projects mentioned I also built a new fenced in area for the chickens around their coop.  The initial reason was because of Katie living with us with her dog Bowser whom could not be trusted with the chickens.  The fence had the side benefit of containing the chickens destructive powers to a small portion of the property.  During the wet season it was not ideal as the back part of their area was flooded out more often than not which sucked for all parties involved.  We also added an expensive whole house RO system which provides super clean water to every outlet in the house.  It was a very pricey upgrade but something I decided to do when our six your old system started to leak.

Cindy had a big year in ownership, not only buying the Ioniq but ALSO a new 26 foot Coleman trailer that is residing in our backyard.  The primary intent of the trailer is to serve as Cindy’s “she shed”, a space that is entirely her own to do whatever she wants with, something she has wanted for almost as long as she has lived with me.  She has tried to convert the small shed and spare bedroom into such spaces in the past but it never was that great.  Of course she wants us to try to take the trailer out on the road for some conventional RV camping which is not high on my priority list but I paid almost a thousand bucks to equip the Tacoma with the hitch and electric brake controller which is required to do so.

I once again spent heavily on my electric unicycle hobby, buying three more wheels in 2017, the Gotway Monster, Mten3, and Segway S1.  I still LOVE riding and added the ability to ride backwards to my skillset this past year which was a physical and mental challenge.  I have not gotten to ride as much as 2016 but still love getting out there as much as possible.  Cindy actually finally learned to ride an EUC this year as well after getting scared off from a bad fall when we first got the Ninebot One.  As you can tell from the video I posted last night of her starting to ride backwards, she has made some great progress.

2017 was a year where I picked up ANOTHER major hobby, 3D printing.  I approached 3D printing with similar enthusiasm as I did in 2016 with EUC’s.  I started out with a FlashForge Finder which we made some amazing things on, especially considering how new we were to the hobby.  The most notable was the Widowmaker rifle that consisted of 30 something parts that Cindy carefully assembled and painted, resulting in a pretty amazing end result.

Since then I have added two more 3D printers to the collection, a Creality CR-10 and Dagoma Neva.  I have something being printed most of the time.  I have had my fair amount of frustration with the hobby, especially with my CR-10 that frustrated me for awhile with several issues, some of which I created myself.  There is just something very cool about being able to create physical objects,  often quite useful ones out of nothing.

There was a very sad tragedy in the household this year where my stupidity caused the death of Tuki, our long time Senegal Parrot.  I thought I was doing him a favor not making him stay in his cage the entire time we were dog sitting my buddy’s dog.  Instead that decision resulted in the dog killing Tuki when both Cindy and I were in another room.  I still regularly feel great guilt and sorrow when I think about how it all went down.

One of the biggest events of 2017 was of course Hurricane Irma, the massive storm whose eyewall literally passed right along our house, resulting in significant damage and a lot of fear as we sat bottled up in the house with the sounds of horrific wind battering the house for hours.  The 10 days of no power that followed were a test of patience and ingenuity.  Two hour gas lines became a regular everyday thing and dealing with the widespread carnage was something we don’t care to revisit anytime soon.  I mentioned the roof damage but there was also a lot screen damage to the pool cage that is yet to be repaired as well as a lot of landscape that was torn up.

The most miraculous thing was the chicken coop survived the storm more or less intact despite the structure only being rated for a max of 75 mph winds. (we hit somewhere around 130)  I spent copious amounts of time reinforcing the coop and surprisingly it worked.  The chickens were unhappy but safe in the garage during the storm.  Riding out a direct hit hurricane is not something you really want to do, I’ve now done it twice.

I haven’t done as much ranting this year but one of them again has been hurricane related.  Dealing with my insurance company on storm remediation was painful and frustrating as hell.  The experience was filled with weeks between call backs and tons of outright apathy by the insurance sub-contracted claim adjusters towards returning my requests for information.  It took me between two and three months until I got a check in my hand that was for an amount that was reasonable for my damages.  I am going to be eating the difference in price to go for a metal roof this time, something that should outlast me and save us a lot of energy costs due to the reflective properties versus heat absorbing asphalt shingles.

Sure I could rant for days about the first year of Trump’s presidency.  I didn’t think it was possible but it has (to use one of his favorite words) been more of a disaster than I ever imagined it could be.  He has made us the laughing stock of the global community, put us on the brink of armed conflict, and dimmed our future in so many ways.  However at this point I mostly just shoulder shrug to it all and just hope we survive until 2020.

2017 was our last year as Florida Tarpons fans as they decided to pack up and move to Lakeland in the off season.  Even though the games have always been sort of a joke, it’s where Cindy and I had our first “date” so seeing the team vacate the area was sort of sad.

There continued to be significant mods done to the Tacoma in 2017, the biggest of which was the installation of a 3-1 leveling kit on the truck.  I love the higher stance which will eventually allow me to equip the truck with larger/cooler wheels and tires once my factory tires wear out.  Installation of the kit was special as Chuck, a fellow YouTuber and Tacoma enthusiast actually drove down from Maryland and helped me do the install, it was epic.

I felt like I had to pinch myself when they announced that Zima, my all time favorite alcoholic drink was back for a limited time.  Cindy grabbed as much of it as she could and she actually became a fan of the beverage as well.  I sadly only have one bottle remaining, which I have been keeping for months in the fridge to crack open on New Year’s Eve.

2017 was our first full year with Elsa.  It’s funny how I went to being more or less opposed to having a full time dog in the house again to where I am today.  Elsa is such a huge source of fun and joy in our lives.  Her quirky personalty where she can be so shy and scared one second to crazy and affectionate the next is endearing. Cindy and I both love her so much.

This was likely the most challenging year I have had at my job, ever.  We initiated a full office renovation project that presented me with endless challenges as we moved our staff out of our building to temporary office space and back again.  I had my hands in so many things at once it made my head spin at times.  To make things more challenging we had Hurricane Irma thrown into the mix which closed our office for over a week and severely damaged our Everglades City office which I had to get up and running in a trailer until repairs can be completed.  This year was a tough one for sure at work but we have now emerged from the other side and are enjoying our significantly modernized and updated work space.  2018 is going to have a different set of demands on me as we will be ripping out our back end systems and migrating to a cloud based solution, fun.

My year wound up with a whirlwind trip to PA for my 50th birthday which included a surprise party with an even more surprising appearance by Cindy, whom I thought was in Florida tending to things.  It really was an amazing trip and likely the most memorable birthday of my life.  I guess being old as dirt has it’s advantages.

Alright that is enough recapping, let me quickly see if I can come up with 2018 goals.

Home improvements – As I mentioned by this time next year I should have a shiny new metal roof on the house.  I also will eventually find someone willing to rescreen the pool cage without drastically overcharging me for their services.  I don’t have other big projects in my head but surely there will be plenty of little ones to keep me occupied.

Fitness is sort of THE goal as opposed to setting numeric milestones at this point for me.  My direction is always to press on with consistency which hopefully results in incremental gains while avoiding serious injury.  I want to keep running, not because I like it but because it’s challenging.

I am hoping to keep expanding my YouTube efforts.  I have grown my income stream more than double in the last year.  I am looking forward to see if I can keep building on that momentum.

I expect my hobbies to continue to grow although I don’t know that I will need to buy any more EUC’s in 2018.  I think five is enough.  I do expect to get more 3D printers and I MAY actually start creating some objects that could be sold on a limited basis if demand is there.  Cindy is hoping to dive deep into crafting, learning how to use the Silhouette Cameo 3 I got her for Christmas.

I don’t have a lot of specific financial goals outside of now working to pay down the home equity line of credit so the house is truly free and clear of debt which would be amazing.  I am thinking of opening a Roth IRA as well even though I already have two retirement accounts through work I am funding.

I would expect Cindy and I get out for some sort of road trip this year although I am unsure what exactly that may be.  My work schedule this year is not going to be amenable to prolonged time off this summer.  At some point we will need to get the RV out on the road to see how viable the Tacoma is as a tow vehicle.

As always I have internal goals to keep trying to do my best to shape my decisions in a way that continues to lead to happiness.  I have a long history of sometimes reacting to things strongly, unnecessarily so at times.  As I get older I realize that although it may feel good for a few moments to just unleash energy the moment something that annoys me happens, the reality is that in the big picture, I am often much better served to reflect, think and choose differently.  Many battles I thought were worth fighting in my youth just do not seem remotely worth it anymore.  Briefly reading my book of 2007 blog entries made that more clear than ever.

I hope your 2017 was equally memorable and 2018 holds promise, joy, and possibilities for you.  If you aren’t always working towards something, what’s the point….

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cindy surprised me by suggesting we get out and ride a little bit after work last night.  Of course I was down with the plan.  We loaded up the three smallest wheels, the S1, Mten3, and Inmotion V5F and headed over to the school.  Cindy had not done much EUC riding recently because of some foot and ankle issues, most of the time she has been riding her Segway MiniPro.  She was a little shaky at first but got re-accustomed to one wheeling pretty quickly.

Cindy took turns riding all three wheels but it wasn’t until she got on the Mten3 for the second time that the magic happened.  From watching and hearing Katie and I talk about how much fun the Mten3 is to ride, Cindy wanted to really try to get the hang of the tiny 10″ wheel that felt very awkward to her initially.

She was doing significantly better, able to control the Mten, riding slow, and even doing S turns back and forth.  All of a sudden I glance up and she had stopped and reversed directions for a short distance, wtf?  Yep evidently Cindy decided she was going to experiment with backwards riding, another thing that to me seems much easier on the little wheel.  Over the next 5-10 minutes she kept trying and was doing incredibly well as she got more confident.  Quite a few times she was able to change directions repeatedly without stepping off the wheel.  She was all laughs and smiles, proud of her progress and rightfully so.  Shortly before we finished she went close to 20 feet backwards, it was awesome.  Cindy officially loves the Mten3, that makes three of us.

So I need to start working on the year end recap blog which is always somewhat arduous although I don’t sweat the details as much as I used to.  If I leave out a few things, oh well.