2015, overall, was a pretty good year, both outside and inside the Terrordome. Not a lot of exciting social events happened for me but that wasn’t always a bad thing. However, there were quite a few peaks, valleys, plateaus, barriers, and roadblocks that I had to navigate over, around, and through. In no particular order, these were some of the happenings:

  • A miss on an entire year G.P.A. of 4.00 by 7 points, on a 1,000-point scale, in one class. I ended up with a 3.69 for the Spring and a 4.00 this past Fall. Allow me a small, self-back-pat. 😉
  • I got accepted into the Computer Information Technology online program at Western Kentucky University. I am eligible for some GPA-based scholarships… a bonus. However, I found out LATE that I am 1 credit short from an Associates in Arts from JCTC; I have to wait until Monday to see what class I can take at WKU and/or JCTC to earn that credit and degree.
  • I finally grossed over $8,000 at my job; I’m going to end up netting somewhere around $7,600. As much as I love this job, the team I work for, and the people I work with, I have never earned this little for a year (not counting my surgery year), for a job where I worked at least 5 months, in the 19 years that I’ve been a part of the work force*. It’s been a struggle to stay afloat because of it; family has bailed me out more than once with bill and bus fare help. I cannot afford not working almost 7 months in 2016.
  • Speaking of work, I improved a section of my work grade, got removed from a different section, re-instated to the 2nd part, and have tried to maintain a consistent grade. Some improvement was shown but it is a work in progress.
  • I got a scale for Christmas last year. I had been tracking my weight and conditioning since my 2014 birthday in July. Via a lot of 1-3 mile walks, a major cut back on soda, joining Planet Fitness in March, eating earlier, and trying (and failing) to fall asleep earlier, I had lost about 15 pounds coming into 2015. As of December 30th, I had lost a net of about 15 additional pounds this year (at one point, it was 18 pounds), fit into some clothes I hadn’t worn in 4+ years, and trimmed down a little. I need to get back to Planet Fitness (I hadn’t been in weeks). I would like to use a few more pounds but the main thing for me now is to exceed the conditioning I was in in both 2005-2007 and 2013.
  • I did not get to go to any Thunder Over Louisville or New Year’s Eve party/event for the first time in probably 15 years. Thunder at home wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be; NYE was much worse, in terms of sheer boredom and frustration. Now, I am not a club or bar guy (unless it’s with a group), and I very rarely drink, but one of those options, and others, would have been welcomed on 12/31/14 and/or April 2015.
  • I got to pick up a Euphonium and play again, for the first time in nearly 2 years. To the one who set it up: you know who you are – thank you!
  • I skipped going to the NHRA U.S. Nationals in September (money) but my younger brother and I took my Dad to the Dayton Air Show in June. It was the first time that Dad and I had ever been to Dayton or seen that air show – it was a close to a true ‘vacation’ that I’ve had in years.
  • I got to see some good college friends for the first time in years but also lost contact with other work/school friends. Facebook has helped reconnect with other friends that are out of town.
  • Health-wise:
    • I had a bad stretch of days where tendinitis flared up in my right knee (strangely), my right ankle, and both heels, all at the same time. Once that was brought under control, pain in my left wrist/hand (from an old injury) and right hand got kind of bad. Other than those, I didn’t have many physical issues, thankfully.
    • I caught a nasty virus 2 weeks ago that is just about gone. No other moderate or major illnesses.
    • My INR – a ratio of how slow my blood clots – is supposed to be between 3.0 and 3.5; 0.8-1.2 is “normal”. I get it checked every 4-6 weeks, depending on where it sits. If my INR is under 2.0, I run a risk of blood clots; under 1.5 and there’s a good chance that I’m spending an afternoon in the hospital. If it’s over 4.5, I then start to run the risk of a stroke. For the most part, the INR has stayed around 3.5 this year, which is pretty good. I had a couple of moments where it spiked to 4.o-4.2 and once (late November) where it dropped to 2.1; right now, it’s 4.1. There are dozens of factors that can raise or lower my INR, including: my lifetime daily dose of Warfarin (adjusted by my doctor), illness (raise(+)), Vitamin K (lower(-)), Vitamin E (-, slightly), cold (-, slightly), heat (+; a lot, if dehydrated, too), and alcohol (+; greatly, at times). It can be exhausting, trying to eat this, not eat that, stay cool and hydrated in the summer, warm (but not overheated) in the winter, and everything else involved with watching my INR.

*In 2013, I was unemployed until March 5th; I then worked 2 jobs (including the current one), while in and out of town from March til July, until early June – I went on LOA from the second job and the first job was a month deep into a slow down with work until September; I netted less at the first job than I did in 2015 but made overall more for the year with the second job’s totals.

I don’t know if I will make a Resolutions List for 2016. There are too many outside factors that can derail resolutions, and any deadline dates with them, pretty quickly. Instead, I’ll list some things I would like to accomplish. They include:

  1. Increase my library. I’ve always liked to read, so I would/should raid Half-Priced Books, or another  local book store, and see what I can find, whether it’s an old series that I’ve owned before (David Eddings’s Elenium series, for example), some books that I’ve read before (some of Larry Bond’s books), or that look interesting.
  2. Get down to 215 pounds by my birthday. That would put me close to the weight that I was before my heart surgery in 2010. Right now, I’m at 234 pounds.
  3. Sign up for classes, and get at least a 3.50 GPA, for Spring 2016. I have to pay for an online Orientation to get this ball rolling.
  4. Change the money situation. I don’t know if it will require a 2nd non-seasonal job, a 2nd job that makes my current job the “supplemental income” job, or a new primary job, but something has to change, and immediately.
  5. a) Reconnect. A lot of this depends on #4 (can’t meet up with friends and go out/take someone out somewhere, if you can’t afford it) but I would like to get out of the house much more.
    b) End a handful of “streaks”. Let’s just say that it’s been way too long for these streaks and I need to find ways to end them. 😉
  6. Learn Ruby. It’s a programming language that one friend in the programming industry recommended that I learn. He also suggested that he had some freelance work available in Ruby that he would offer to me (if still available).

For those who have read these posts, I wish you a Happy New Year’s Eve night, a Happy New Years, and a happy, fun, and successful start to 2016!