2017—Year In Review

Here we go…

What did I accomplish this year?

In terms of things I actually put out into the world, there was very little this year.

  • 2 podcast episodes
  • 4 blog posts
  • Website remodel: nathanleegreen.com
  • Website remodel: ocsplora.com
  • And possibly a short story, Umberrica, but that might have been last year

There were a few things I worked on this year, but did not finish.

  • My next novel, Cloudrise (I wrote 8 chapters and published 5 on Wattpad.com)
  • An untitled memoir (2,265 words…so…sort of missed the 50k NaNoWriMo goal)
  • 2 interviews recorded for podcast (in addition to the 2 already published)

If we talk about what I accomplished in terms of physical, unpaid, non-media work, it looks a little better. (This was almost all with help, not by myself. Not in chronological order.)

  • Cleaned out most of an entire house
  • Took down cabinets and counters
  • Repainted and trimmed multiple rooms
  • Tore out carpet in master bedroom
  • Refloored master bedroom and bathroom and closets (laminate and tile, including removing and replacing toilet)
  • Replumbed washer hookups and installed washer and dryer
  • Cleaned and rearranged garage multiple times
  • Put up shelves in garage and living room
  • Removed flooring in back porch
  • Took down old wooden fencing beside garage
  • Cleaned out utility trailer (then filled it back up with scrap wood and pipes)
  • Removed wooden walls added onto trailer for raised garden bed
  • Pressure washed front and back of house and inside porch
  • Got rid of tons of crap
  • Patched 3 holes in ceiling (one that I made, one the A/C guy made, and one that a tree made half a decade ago)
  • Helped put in new air conditioning tubes (?), boxes (?), returns, and thermostat (and one of the holes in the ceiling)
  • Redid brick walkway next to driveway
  • Cleared and placed front patio pavers, then removed and redid in a different pattern (awaiting a big concrete job to finish front patio)
  • Lined new patio area with foot-tall bamboo wall
  • Added sandbox area between new patio and new brick walkway (for the boys)
  • Replaced dryer vent
  • Set up birdhouse (twice) and hung lights across part of backyard using it as anchor post
  • Put strings of lights up on back porch ceiling
  • Put up gutters in back porch to channel leaks (sort of works)
  • Moved canopy frame from side of house to backyard to create a roofed shed-like area (no roof yet, waiting for tarp back from neighbor)
  • Cleaned out porch and area behind porch, reorganized and rearranged
  • Reinforced old water damaged workbench (moved to area behind porch)
  • Pruned, pruned, pruned…and finally burned up all the pruned debris on New Year’s Eve
  • Got mulch (like, a dump truck full)
  • Distributed some of the mulch (much more to do)
  • Fixed water dispenser in fridge (but not ice)
  • Fixed garbage disposal

So, not a lot of creative work to share with the world this year, but tons of work around the house we’re living in.

What went well this year?

We embraced our move to Florida and our new lives here. We haven’t complained much or talked about how things might be better somewhere else or about what is next in our lives. We’re very present here and very content here, which is a nice change for me, I have to say.

I’ve had a lot of help with the boys this year, between Mom and Dad and Wendy’s parents and Liz and Darius. There has been much more of a ‘takes a village to raise a child’ feel to this year than the past 3 years since Asher was born, which has been a lot of upside for me, with not much downside.

As a result of the above, Wendy and I have had chances to hang out together without the boys, which will kind of culminate in our west coast trip in February, which will be by far the longest we have been away from the boys ever.

Work-wise, I learned a ton about home repair and remodeling. And, though I did not accomplish a ton of creative share-with-the-world work, I think I did set myself up for a great 2018 if can keep things moving.

I’ve got a book in the works, a podcast just getting started, websites redone and ready to go, a couple shirt designs ready to get printed, a nice routine going with working at Starbucks a bunch of times per week (like now), four podcast interviews under my belt and a few recorded conversations with Wendy to get me a little more confident, some opportunities to do work for Mom and Dad, and I think a better outlook on working on lots of different things at the same time (without the need to consolidate or force a schedule or attempt perfection).

So 2018 could feel like a very productive year on the back of 2017.

Everybody loves the boys and praises them pretty frequently, which makes me feel like I’m doing an okay job as a parent, even though I don’t often feel like it in the moment. I think my patience has been better towards the end of the year, but I’m hesitant to say for sure because it could’ve just been based on situations, or who knows what. I do think Wendy giving me the okay to get out more while she’s home has helped quite a bit. I feel much more at ease now than I did a month or two ago.

Also, I started waking up early to run, got up to 3 miles every morning, and have been really aware this year of what I’m putting into my body. Sometimes that has not meant I’ve been any healthier than before, but often I have done really well staying away from dairy, wheat, processed foods, and now meat. I’m not being super strict about it, but I am very conscious of it, and I feel like I’m on a good path moving into the new year.

What did not go well this year?

My writing has not been consistent this year. When I think about how much farther along I could be with the Brinnati book, I feel a little disappointed.

It’s been a tough year for that and I haven’t had the same motivation I had with Greysuits, but I do think I’m coming to a point now where I’m ready to drive ahead with the book and not be so attached to what the book used to be in my mind—to let it become whatever it wants to. I think I should map out a few major plot points that I can write toward.

My shoulders and elbows and back have been in rough shape, especially later in the year as I’ve been moving mulch and stuff. The running is great, but I need to get back to my upper body workouts, whether climbing, pull-ups and push-ups, or going to the gym to use equipment. I need to get serious about it so I can keep my body from getting old and decrepit.

This was our first year without a pet since 2008 when we found the kittens in the garage. I don’t know exactly what to think about that, except that I do miss Elvis (a few years ago we had to put Daytona down suddenly because of a disease I can’t remember the name of) sometimes quite a bit, and it would be nice to have a pet or two again. But I just don’t know if we should be taking on that kind of commitment or whether we should get a dog, two dogs, a cat, two cats, a dog and a cat…or a goldfish.

I’d hate get into a situation where we have a pet who is a menace to us and everyone who comes over, and only causes us grief, or even if it’s a great pet, causes us to not be able to travel as much as we’d like or go out for a whole day to do fun stuff or things like that.

I think we’re probably in about as good a situation as we could be in for getting a pet, but it’s hard to pull the trigger. And it’s more money, up front and over time.

Conclusion

2017 was a crazy year for the whole world and it was a crazy year for us.

We left Florida in the summer of 2008, just as the country was in the throes of a somewhat crazy (although tame in retrospect) presidential campaign cycle, stayed for all of the resulting president’s 8 years in office, then returned to Florida after the craziest election of my 37 year life, in February 2017, just as one of the most stressful years of America’s young history was beginning.

It was a messy year for the world, and especially America. And it was a messy year for us, in a way, because we moved into a house full of junk, dust, and family history. And like our country, we cleaned house. We got rid of everything we could, moved the rest into the garage, stacked floor to ceiling like a storage unit, and proceeded to make a house which had sat empty of people or life for 5 years into a home full of family, friends, and fun. That’s where the metaphor breaks down, of course.

Or maybe not. Our house is still a mess. There’s one whole room we haven’t even touched yet. As I said, there’s still tons of stuff in the garage, so we can’t really use it for parking cars or putting lawnmowers or anything useful like that. The yard is far from attractive, though it’s coming along. And there are all kinds of small things that still need to be done. Trim that needs to be painted, nail holes that need to be filled, walls and doors that need painting or touching up, pictures that need to be hung, gaps between rooms and hallways that need thresholds, a kitchen that desperately needs remodeling…and so much caulking that needs to happen. So. Much. Caulking.

So, leaving the metaphors behind, 2017 was crazy, but fun. And Florida has been great for our family, immediate and extended. Very excited to be starting new year, full of hope and projects and possibilities!

Photo: BOSSFIGHT

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