The First Half of 2016: Recap Plus Follow-ups on Some Earlier Blog Posts

I will give 2016 this: there’s been more ‘good’ and ‘great’ moments throughout it than 2015, especially 2015’s “Summer Of Discontent”.

  • I made 7 resolutions at the beginning of the year, after a change of heart: Completely change, and improve, the money situation; Get an Associate’s Degree; Have more fun by improving the lack of ‘social’ life; Learn Ruby and get my A+ certification; Get down to 215 pounds by my birthday (July 29th); get an apartment; and Walk 3+ miles, at an average pace quicker than 15:30.
    So far:
    1) The money situation has gotten WORSE.
    2) I got the Associate’s Degree!
    3) This one is a work in progress. Overall, it’s been better than ’15. I still try to get out of the house for WWE Raw (most Monday nights), Team Trivia (almost every Tuesday evening), and now Game Nights (Thursdays). I went to a very surprising-in-a-great-way John Paul White (with the Secret Sisters) concert Sunday night. More on that in a later post. Other than those weekly events, and a handful of baseball games, it’s been a struggle to either get to places or have the money to go somewhere.
    4) I earned the A+ Certification when I got #2. I’m still learning, and tinkering with, Ruby.
    5) Also a work in progress. I’m at about 235 pounds, virtually the same place as January. I’ve got just under 5 weeks to drop 20+ pounds.
    6) HA!!!
    7) This one has been the pleasant surprise. I’ve walked over 3 miles a few times, and have had some mile paces in the 15:20-15:30. The walks over 1 1/2 miles have been at about a 15:45-15:55 pace (estimate). I have some foot issues – again – so it might be some weeks before I can get back out and see if I can drop down to 15:30, while possibly increasing the distance.
  • I enrolled, un-enrolled, then re-enrolled at Western Kentucky University. Finding classes has been a pain but I current have 12 hours for the Fall semester. I’m now hoping to graduate in December 2017 (with some Summer 2017 classes).
  • I have had ALL KINDS of problems with job searching: first, with finding a second job that’s not retail; next, finding an internship w/o the AA degree; finally, with finding a second job, a new first job, and/or an internship or co-op with the AA; at least 16 applications have been put in since the end of January (4 at GE alone, for 3 different positions). Almost all of it comes down to “experience”. How does a potential employer expect for candidates to have ‘experience’ IF THEY WON’T TAKE THE TIME TO TRAIN THEM?
  • From my Spring Break post, I finally saw “Deadpool” (a little later but well worth the wait!!) and had one entire ‘video game day’ (surprisingly, it wasn’t the entire Break). Other than that, a lot of Spring Break was spent job-searching, with some walking, video games, family time, and errand-running sprinkled in.
  • I predicted 65 wins for the Cincinnati Reds and 82 wins for the Atlanta Braves. I horribly overestimated those wins, so far. Is it CFB and NFL time, yet??
  • The West End Crime Plan that was proposed in April? Don’t see any tangible proof that it is working. Louisville is close to surpassing 2015’s homicide rate, with the majority of them happening in the West End. Why did it take the death of Muhammad Ali to stop crime for one day?
  • Another trade show or convention – “SkillsUSA” – announced that it was leaving Louisville next year. They are heading to Atlanta; the reason? “In Atlanta, everyone will be in eight hotels, all within walking distance of the conference.”
    ‘But… but… The OMNI! It’s part of the Downtown Hotel Boom!’

The highlights of the first half of 2016, so far, have been the awards and diploma that I received from Jefferson Comm. and Technical College, along with getting my Unemployment Insurance issues fixed. It’s going to be really hard to top Graduation Day. Getting the UI fixed was a big weight off of my shoulders and came at a time where money has started sticking its toe into the “desperation” end of the pool.

The lowlight of the first half of 2016 is not close, unfortunately: Kinetic. Here’s how:
– If the workload is average or above, I can have up to 32 hours a week (this is not a negative). Multiply that by 2, and you roughly have a full pay check (64 hours). Since some pay periods can have an extra day in it, that pay check could have 72 hours.
– We can earn performance-based bonuses, but I will not add them into the calculations.
– Per month,  at max hours, I could have a 64-hour check and a 72-hour check. With a 30% tax rate deducted (I’m not sure that’s correct, but it’s close), and not sharing my hourly wage, I would make about $857/month; for 6 months, that would be about $5,140 (again, no potential bonuses added). That is the maximum potential of what I could earn, if I worked on Monday, and at 32 hours a week. Add it to what I’ve already earned this year, and I am over $1,000 under what I made in 2015 (2015 was the lowest amount of money that I’ve made for any year where I was employed at least 6 months of the year), unless the hours are bumped up to 40 per week. I’m in worse financial shape now than I was at Target in 2011 and 2012, with the big difference being that I don’t have an apartment to lose this time.

There are still events that I’m looking forward to in 2016, such as the Summer Olympics (I LOVE the Olympics!) and a gathering of close friends called “Formal Night”. The NHRA U.S. Nationals in Indianapolis or a weekend bus trip to see the Minnesota Brass compete (if either are affordable) are possibilities. I found out that I just won a free night’s stay at Horseshoe Casino in the month of July – gambling might be out but a hotel party may not be.

I do know that things need to be tweaked. The restlessness and dissatisfaction are REAL and are each the size of The Big Show (Google him). It might be my reluctance to go back to retail – maybe I go back for the summer? The window for the Summer CIT/IT/CS internships and co-ops is about closed – maybe I change my focus and start looking for entry-level, permanent jobs in other fields, until I can get my foot in the door? The personal weight isn’t a huge issue but maybe I start a different workout/walking routine – maybe change locations for my walks, to start?

July starts this Friday. I have another foot examination in the upcoming days, this time to see what can actually be done about the ridiculous pain: different inserts, more stretching /physical therapy, surgery, or some combination of all 3. The Fourth of July is in a week. My brother’s birthday (15th) and my birthday (29th) are this month. I should have a LOT of work coming in to Kinetic and/or I should hear back from more companies about jobs by the end of the month. Let’s see if July can start the 2nd half of 2016 on some great notes!

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