Forgive me, reader, for I have sinned. It’s been one year and 23
days since my last post.

And my excuse? Well, I’ve been busy….

But really, it’s not exactly the “busy-ness” that wears on me. It’s
the feeling that there are things I SHOULD be doing that I’m not.
that’s something I realized recently as I was bemoaning the fact that
I didn’t have time to do more of the things that I want to do,
including writing in this blog. It’s not that I didn’t have time, per
se, it’s that I had open commitments that made me say “look, if you
have time to blog, you have time to do this other thing, which you
must admit is more of a priority than blogging”. Which, honestly, I
still do, but at least I’ve reached a point where something
substantial is happening with all of the remaining open commitments,
so I’m feeling a bit better, and being that I reached the one year
mark, I figured it was time to do something here too.. and I want to..

Now, I am someone who could probably dive into my memory and write
pretty extensive posts about most everything worth writing about from
this past year, pretty much as if it had just happened. I’d lose a
few details, but, basically, it could be there. However, I don’t want
to spend that much time writing, and I’m sure you don’t want to spend
that much time reading, so… we won’t do that. Rather, I’ll try to
be brief as I present this Year In Review…

On 2007-12-10, I wrote my most recent blog post. The rest of December
was relatively standard holiday madness, mixed with some paperwork
madness (read on…). After celebrating “xmas lite” in Cleveland
(perhaps just as decadent, as if you ordered a 600 calorie dessert at
a restaurant only to find out that that was the reduced-calorie
version), Pri and I flew directly from there to Portland, OR, for New
Year’s Eve 2007. Saw lots of friends I don’t see often, and also
Steven, Kellie, & Hannah. But before the new year could even arrive,
it was becoming clear that my grandmother was going to die soon,
shortly after her 94th (I think) birthday. Steven and I flew back together,
after he pointed out that I booked the wrong return date. Allen
picked us (and, to my surprise, Frank) up in Akron, and we drove to St Marys for the
funeral. Always great to see my family, and this was no exception.
My mom’s words at the service brought everyone to tears. If I gave my
grandmother anything like the tribute she deserves here, this post
would at least double in length. So, I’ll move on…

I then I flew back to Portland, and then drove to Seattle to see Pri sing with Las Tres Gracias. Then back to Portland, where at dinner with Sue and Michael I “formally” proposed marriage to Pri. The proposal was a bit silly, since the plans were all set anyway. But the earrings are nice, and Pri likes them a lot.

Flew back to Cleveland (the car was still there) and told my parents about the marriage plans.
They were surprised and a bit confused, but happy. Drove back to
Cleveland, and started the work year off basically ten days late.
Being self-employed, I keep track of my billable hours to know what my
income is, and starting this late resulted in months of reports saying
that I was behind for the year.

The wedding was a whole week later, so we had time to do a bunch more
paperwork related directly and indirectly to getting married and its
implications for Pri’s residence in the US. There were some social
and familial matters to address mixed in there too. Mostly, though,
it’s pretty easy to get married if you don’t invite anyone. And it
was very nice.

The next day we sent in all of the
immigration-related paperwork to the government, slightly over an inch
thick, I’d say. Then we could get started on the “brochure“. Pri
made this, better than I could have ever dreamt of doing. But I had
to collect a lot of addresses. Wow, that’s a pain. Once those were
in the mail, though, we could go house shopping.

House shopping was fast: working on a bit of trickery to make
searching the local Realtor’s website easier, I ran a test and clicked
on the house we now live in. But, I’m getting ahead of myself, first
we had to put in the offer, which was 2008-01-31, if I’m not
mistaken. Thankfully, the rest of the year was not AS busy as
January, but not exactly calm either.
Moving does not come naturally to my family. It’s not part of our
heritage. Both of my grandmothers lived in the houses in which my
parents grew up until they died. My parents still live in the only
house of theirs I’ve ever known. There have been extremely few sales
of homes among my family members (given that most of us own homes).
So, moving out of my house of 12 years was not easy. Emotionally
somewhat difficult, but practically even more so. Pri and I have
different senses of when some item you’ve been saving is really worth
saving. I successfully “let go” of a lot of things, I’m pleased do
say. And I’m glad for what I held on to. But it wasn’t always easy
getting there. And there was just, plain, a lot of stuff to organize
and move. So, that dominated a lot of time for the next couple of
months. Mixed in with that we also had to make a few trips to
Indianapolis for Pri to meet with governmental officials
and such.
That all went fine too. I won the bet with Pri about when her Green
Card would arrive
, which was in April, even earlier than I thought it

In May our friends and my parents all gathered together to help clean
out of my old house and move into the new one. Again, it went pretty
smoothly, only one injury scare when Rob almost fell victim to the
Victrola. The stress of seeing all of those boxes reduced once we had
the kitchen to where we could cook out of it. Then we could start on
our bedrooms. But, before we could get very much unpacked, we went to
Brazil, spending a few days in Sao Paulo with Pri’s family and
friends, before driving toward Rio de Janiero on a “trip within a
trip”. While in Paraty, Brazil (a little “historical” port town half way between those
two huge cities) we checked in with Michael V to see if our new
countertops were on schedule to be installed. He said yes, but also
informed us that the storm of a lifetime hit Bloomington in early June
and we apparently took on roughly 2 inches of water in the entire lower floor
of the new house. Remember that a substantial percentage of everything we own
was in cardboard boxes, roughly half of which
were in the basement. An amazing group of our amazing friends got
together and dealt with some of that muck to limit the degree to which
this pile of wet muddy stuff would turn into a pile of wet muddy moldy
stuff. I think I will always feel a bit indebted to them.

Once we returned, we started cleaning. And tried to get back to our
normal working lives, in between cleaning, throwing away more stuff, and dealing with the insurance company. But, surprisingly, I did not have a lot of work
waiting for me. Which made it easy to get distracted by all that house
stuff when I should have been focusing on work. I solved that problem by
signing up for a big new work project in July (The Indiana BizCafe,
which I wrote about on my business site). I’m quite sure I made more
money in July of 2008 than I have in any other month of my life. But,
of course, I did that by working like crazy. And of course, this was
also the month of our house-warming/we-really-did-get-married party.
That was grand fun. But naturally, kept us busy, both before and

As the dust was settling on the BizCafe project and the party (oh, and
the quick trip to Colorado, where I performed the wedding ceremony for
Frank and Sarah!), I think I was entering the malaise of 2008 which (I
hope) I am just pulling out of. Basically, the feeling was that I had
many large commitments that needed to be completed but on which I
terribly behind schedule. This was bad. Almost certainly, part of my
awareness of this was reading a fantastic book called “Getting Things
, which emphasizes awareness of all commitments and practical
approaches to actually completing them. So, being aware of my big
commitments, I started tackling them.  And trying to stop taking on new ones…

One has been a thorn in my side for almost two years: officially
dissolving HoosierNet, Inc. Even though the organization is no longer
functioning, no longer making or spending any money, and really
basically dead, it’s still on the books as an organization. And, for
a small but persistent number of reasons, it cannot easily be gotten
rid of. So, it’s still there. But, with a not-insubstantial amount
of effort on my part and that of many others, there are fewer issues
still remaining… and hopefully we’re wearing down their
persistence. In any event, for me personally, it’s definitely less of
a pressing concern, and the ball is not in my court at this point.

So I could then turn my attention to, say, selling my old house. I
actually had a deal on the table at one point, but after some
questionable interpretations of the language of the contract by the
potential buyer, the deal fell through. I’m not going to get into it
at this point, but suffice to say I was back to square one. Or maybe
square two. My original plan had been to just put up a “for sale by
owner” sign and see what happened. I thought this led to a deal, but
not really. So, then I decided to get more serious and actually do
some stuff to get the house ready for sale. I figured I’d take it
easy on myself and hire someone to do the dirty work. That was
probably a bad choice. All of the contractors I contacted were very
busy (which also explains why we weren’t making much progress on
getting some of the water damage in the new house fixed, although we
did succeed at getting things dried out and cleaned up). Finally I
met with a couple of guys who I clicked well with and who I thought
had a great understanding of how I wanted to approach the repairs.
Sadly, the day that I met them at the house I found a tree on top of
the roof.

Ok, not a whole tree… just the upper half or so. It seems that
Hurricane Ike did a number on one of my trees at the house. I’m
pleased to report that the damage to the roof was actually minimal,
especially given how bad it looked and how bad it could have been.
But, all the same, here I thought this meeting was going to cross
something off the list, and instead it added something to it.

Oh, and the other problem: those contractor guys I clicked with? They
never got around to giving me an estimate. Just too busy, it seems.

I bet you thought that when I said “the other problem” that I was
going to talk about the housing-bust-inspired financial crisis and the
subsequent worst freezing of US’s credit industry since the Great
Depression. Good guess. And that hasn’t made the process of trying
to sell my house any easier.

Meanwhile, the good people at the Bloomington Playright’s Project, to
whom I volunteered my help in late spring so that they could overhaul
their website, were thinking that I really didn’t care about them
afterall. Or at least, that’s how I felt, like they must have thought
that, since I was making so little progress on their project amidst
all of this confusion.

So, I was feeling a bit down on myself, like I must be lazy because
how else could so many of these projects be not nearing completion, as
Priscilla and I drove to Cleveland for my 20th High School Reunion.
The good news about the drive there is that no people were injured in
the accident. The bad news was that my car was totalled. Although,
not until several weeks later, when closer inspection revealed more
damage than previously suspected. Anyway, the basic cause of the
accident is that a reckless driver switched into our lane as if we
weren’t there… which, of course, we were. Several eye-witnesses
confirmed what we perceived, that we were essentially run off the
road. We actually collided with an innocent truck behind us. The
reckless car drove off, although the Police Officer at the scene said
that someone had called the police and tailed the villain until they
could pull him over. So, for whatever that’s worth. He apparently
wasn’t insured, surprise, surprise.

By the way, the rest of the reunion weekend was great. And the rental
SUV my insurance paid for turned out to be pretty handy in hauling the
wood that I chopped off of my old house with my brand-new chain saw.
So, we have a pretty good collection of firewood now. Of course, once
the car was declared a total loss, we had only 5 days to return the
SUV, which meant a blitz of car shopping. Car shopping is in general
not enjoyable. Last time I had no time pressure at all, this time was
the exact opposite. It was not enjoyable. But, I ended up buying a
2007 Ford Focus from a private seller that I found on eBay, and I’m
quite happy with it… moreso than I ended up being with the 2004
Saturn, but that’s another story.

We picked up this new (to me) car in Indianapolis the night before
Pri’s mother arrived for a two week visit. (Thanks, again, Fiona, for
putting us up (again) that night). It was good to spend some more
time with her, and I’m glad she got a good taste of where we live and
why we like it here. Plus, an added bonus: Pri’s brother snuck in a
short visit while he was in the States interviewing for a new job…
So, that was especially fun. And he got the job, so we might be
seeing a bit more of him as he makes occasional trips to the US
headquarters of the company he’s working for now in Brazil. Oba!

Pri’s mother departed Indiana on November 5, the day after Indiana
voted for a Democratic presidential candidate for the first time in my
lifetime (Barry Goldwater was the last Republican presidential hopeful
to lose the Hoosier State). I actually followed the race pretty
closely, in some ways I felt like it was a tether to reality… like
“yeah, if my life were more normal I’d be paying attention to this,
just like I am now”.

Anyway, that practically brings us up to current events. The normal
holiday craziness made sure that I wouldn’t really be able to feel
settled even I was finally starting to get the upper hand on my
responsibilities. But, I still believe that I was making that kind of
progress. My house is due to go back on the market in the next few
days, and next week I’ll meet with the Playright’s Project about
moving from “design phase” to “launch phase” on their new site. And it looks like
we even have someone hired to work on the damage the water did to the
new house. So… good…

And, as I get ready for bed at the end of the first day of 2009, I can
say without hesitation that so far this year has been more relaxed and
less stressful than last year was at this time. I’m hopeful (and
optimistic) that that trend will continue. In which case, you all
should be hearing a lot more from me on this blog. So… Here’s to a HAPPY NEW YEAR!!