30 going on 31

I usually break up my year in review in July and not December 31st, because if I’m going to catalog my experience, my birthday is actually the start of a new year. A little narcissistic, but isn’t it true?

I’m writing this in August as the year hasn’t been especially kind, but that doesn’t mean it was especially unkind either. It’s been an extremely busy year my 30th. Started out fairly normal with a very nice vacation on Sunset Beach with friends. I read a lot on the beach, and that was great, and it was a trend I continued throughout the year. Taking personal time to read and relax was definitely a good thing to re-incorporate into my day to day. I read some large short story collections, works of fiction, and it’s now an evening tradition to read a bit before bed. Current book on the night stand is The Last Temptation of Christ by Nikos Kazantzakis.

Come about the middle of the year things started heating up. At work we took on some very large building projects at work, but tragedies struck with sudden deaths of family, and things crawled along as we tried to finish projects while trying to keep up with everything else. It’s not been great on our emotions or energy levels…. but, things have improved by dramatic levels on a variety of fronts. The business growth and maturity improves by leaps and bounds as the old is improved or replaced with new. I very much suspect that when we do end of year reports our 5-15% growth rate will be sustained for 2017 even with the difficulties.

The most dramatic improvement that most people will notice when visiting L&B will be improved parking. We rushed 328 cars, cut down about 25+ trees, moved tons and tones of dirt, and are currently spreading milled black top over the entire parking area. The effects of all this work is quite dramatic. Haha, I want to give a play by play of it all, but I’ll have a post by itself with a lot of pictures of the construction/destruction.

With all the activity going on I’ve stripped down some of my own activities and tried to focus on limited priorities, primarily the customer experience when coming in for service. I’ve not purchased a car purely to re-sell for my 30th year even though I’ve gone through a lot of cars.

I’ve been trying very hard to strip down my activities and prioritize not only at work, but also in my day to day. Mostly that’s trying to come to a realization of what things bring meaning and joy to my life vs which kill time, like mindlessly scrolling through social media. I’ve blocked nearly everyone that is not family from my news feed and tried to spend more time creating meaningful content.

I’ve felt a bit self-conscious of growing my hair out since the death of my brother/cousin, but now approaching the two year mark I think I’ve managed to maintain professionalism through out it’s various awkward stages? I don’t regret it and so far no one has been brave enough to say it looks bad.

 

My wife continues to improve and feel increasingly confident in her ability to interact with the crowded, messy, and demanding world at large. We’ve found a place of worship that we feel at home with and are able to attend regularly again. For my own personal spot of happiness, she’s shown an increasing interest in “high end” cars and was caught bragging when we purchased the Mercedes V12. Her birthday cake this year echoed the theme.

cake

A great persona victory for both of us was that our week vacation in Richmond was great. We got a wonderful Airbnb and spent the week playing video games, binge watching HBO’s Westworld, visiting museums, and doing a puzzle we never finished. In the past vacations were always times of great anxiety for the new place, lack of feelings of safety from being at home, and having the comfort of our wonderful cats. This year though? We made it all the way through without any trouble. After this experience I may have to purchase a PS4 so I can complete Bloodeborne. Haha, that Demon Souls series has had me hooked since they were first released and while I’ve never actually completed a single one, I always like them.

lawn mower
Something that needs a little write up by itself is my lawn mower. I have about 2 acres to mow and that’s been a ongoing frustration for me. I didn’t have money to put into the size of mower needed for this amount of lawn and so I would either borrow my parents larger mower (hauling it back and forth) or cut things in sections with my little push mower. Neither was great options and it was annoying just thinking about it. Well, my brother knew about my frustrations and started watching equipment auctions and got me a Snapper zero turn with a 61” deck and a 28 hp engine. Not only did he do all the leg work to find it, he also handled picking it up and fixing some issues with it. All I had to do was pay for it. Of course because of his resourcefulness I payed only an estimated $.30 on the dollar. The above picture is of the day he dropped it off for the last mow of the year in 2016. Here’s another less awkward photo of it.

mower

It’s made my law care so much easier. I no longer dread having to handle it or prepare to invest hours to cut it. It’s a simple process of starting, cutting, and putting away in quite literally a 6th of the time. That was one of the best gifts of my 30th year. I really have a fantastic family.

camping

Another write up by itself would be going camping with some good friends I’ve made through swedespeed, twice. Those two events are probably the first times I’ve gone camping since I was in my teens. It was fantastic and I hope to do more of it. For my birthday I got lots of camping themed things so that I will look like less of an unequiped fool on my third trip.

pinky
On the last trip we met up at the international car show in Carlisle PA. I drove pinky.

 

A third thing is I usually I have a end of the year most memorable movie list, but I’ll write a separate post for that.
Things to start out my 31st year in a good way!

driveway

I now have a “paved” driveway. It’s milled black top from the road crews and my dad and spread and leveled it. It holds up much better than gravel, looks nicer, doesn’t erode, and is probably cheaper. $500 got me two loads and it was spread and leveled in a couple hours.

xk

I purchased a 2009 XK coupe. I’ve been wanting this car since they were released and in a few days I will have one in my hands. The plan was once I sold my Super 8 to purchase a coupe or convertible. There was much debate over the 2 years I owned the Super as to whether I would get an SL, a 6, or an XK. The SL is actually the best car of the lot, the 6 probably has the best seats, but the XK has the most attractive body and was the one I actually wanted the most. Me and Jaguars, I don’t think I’ll out grow it.

uncle

I created a birthday party for me. My idea of the best birthday party is where I invite all my nieces and nephews over and throw them all a birthday party at the same time. This year it happened and they loved it. I’m pretty sure I shall forever be in the highly coveted “favorite uncle” spot. Hearing 4 year olds try and figure out why they get presents on my birthday was priceless.

 

Here’s to my 31st year being a good one!

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