Checking in

So, just sent off my passport for renewal.  It doesn't expire until May, but I have this irrational fear that I'll suddenly have somewhere awesome to go last-minute for Memorial Day and won't be able to because it'll have just been mailed off for renewal.  As it is, I'm now in a low-grade stress on the (totally unlikely) possibilities of work needing me to travel somewhere in the next few weeks.

Yes, folks, this is what OCD is really like.

In other news, taxes are filed.  I'm getting almost $3000 back in total, which is nice and more than pays for my birthday vacation.  I'm also doing more consulting; not a huge amount, but $1500 a month or so at this point.  The woman I did the huge job for a couple years ago has stated she might want to use me for a slightly-smaller-but-still-decent thing this summer, and the guy I'm doing the stats analysis for wants us to keep going at least until the end of April.  Plus, I'm still doing some work for my old employer; that's mostly tapered off for the moment, but they're going to want me to help them with an upgrade in a month or two, and that's likely to be 30-40 hours of work over a couple months.

If I start getting steady enough income through consulting, say after-taxes $1000 a month or so, I may bump up my 403b contribution at work.  Max for us folk under 50 is $17,500 a year; I'm at about a third of that now.  I doubt I'll max out unless I start making $2k or more after taxes each month on the side; that being said, money that goes to the 403b (it's like a 401k, but for non-profits) is pre-tax, so every $100 only "costs" me about $75 out of my paycheck.  Something to think about, certainly.

I also have to think about setting money aside for a new car at some point.  That's a long ways off (unless someone dumps $40k or so in my lap), but it's still something to plan for.

Photos aren't selling, but hey, not too worried about that.  Doesn't really cost me anything to leave them up on the site, and I keep nudging them every now and then.

I'm still working out on the rowing machine every day.  I'm definitely getting results, though it's obviously slow.  I've also decided that, starting in March, I'm going to try one of those beginner at-home Yoga things when I get bored/have free time/feel like it.  Definitely, being able to exercise in my own time in my living room is a huge huge thing for me.

I'm also going to try to get into swimming once the weather really warms up; it's supposed to be in the 80s on Saturday, so I may see about getting in the pool a little then.  I can swim - my dad never would have let me on the boat if I couldn't - but I've never really liked doing it.  I think it's time to try to get over that dislike if possible.  I've got swim goggles to help out.

Let's see, money, fitness... oh, yes! Cooking...

I've pretty much switched to eating at home all but one night a week.  Really, that's being "forced" by my working out: I do so as soon as I get home, so I can't really stop and get food on the way home.  Once I'm here, it's just easier to eat in than go out.  I've gotten a little more into cooking as a result, and I've also gotten back into munching salads a couple nights a week.  Eating better, combined with the workout, means that while I'm not actually losing much weight, I'm actually losing body fat slowly.  So, yay for that.  Plus, it ends up being cheaper, so some money saved.

This whole "being an adult" thing is a little dull, but I guess it has its advantages.  Still, after writing all that crap above, I feel the irrational need to finger-paint the walls.

Plowing the carpet

I have callouses on my fingers. Even with gloves, they still develop.  I think of them in a joking way as a badge of honor.

So, it's been about three weeks since I started rowing every day - just 10 minutes to start with, though I've been ramping up the resistance.  I'm definitely getting broader in the chest, but that's not necessarily saying much: this is the first time in my life when my chest hasn't been defined primarily by my ribcage.  At this point, I'm going to start increasing the duration bit by bit, working my way up to a 20-minute session hopefully; most of what I've read puts this as the practical "cap" for even extremely-fit people.

And, yes, by "every day" I mean every day.  I've long tried to abide by the "work a single muscle group once or twice a week" method, and while I've had some results with that over the years, it's never really worked well.  This is showing a significant amount of improvement in a relatively short period of time.  I doubt it will progress as quickly in the future, but I'm off to a decent start already.

(Just for the record, this is what I have.)

So far, I haven't changed my diet at all, but I'm losing a little bit of weight (with the extra mass and calories burnt, that's not unreasonable).  I figure I'll keep this up until the end of February, give or take, and then start working a little more on eating better.  I doubt I'll be in any condition to go to the white party (which is 3/31), but I'll hopefully be pretty well off by my birthday at the end of June.

... Oh, right, birthday.  Just booked my annual pilgrimage to Hawaii. This time, I'll be spending 7 days just south of Kona before heading to my usual spot on Maui for the 4th of July (and a few days after).  This'll be the first time in years that I haven't been on Maui for my birthday, but I'm a little conflicted about the changes they made to the resort: they look decent, but I don't know how they'll play out in experiencing them.  We'll see.  They also jacked the prices up a fair bit (like, 20-30%), so that's a consideration as well: I'm spending more on 4 nights in Maui that I'm spending for 7 in Kona.

I also had to do the flights in 3 separate reservations to minimize the number of miles I'm spending, but I'm basically getting first-class fights from LAX to Kona, Kona to Maui, and Maui back to LAX for a less than $400 total.  Looks like all those years of booking my own business travel at the last company were actually useful.

Uhm, dating-wise, nothing in a while.  No worries on that - I don't think I'm the kind of guy most guys are looking for.  Doesn't hurt to leave the page up, though.

Finally, best-friend's wife is preggers (yay!) but not necessarily doing well (boo!) - she already miscarried once, a year ago or so, so they're really worried about this one.  But, as a result, he's really thinking about getting a job closer to home (he's about an hour away now).  There'll likely be fallout from that, but oh well.  We'll manage.