January 2020 Resolution: Returning to Semi-Weekly Budget Check-ins

WHEREAS I had this really cool system for checking on the state of my finances on very regular intervals, and

WHEREAS for unknown reasons I abandoned it in 2019, (probably because I let my job eat my time), and

WHEREAS this is a quite-achievable task for me to begin anew, and

WHEREAS it will just be easier to start with a list of accounts and start with them at their most recent 2020 statements,


  1. I create a new database in Banktivity (my app of choice) for our personal finances by no later than 5-Jan 2020.
  2. I will review and update this financial outlook every Tuesday and Friday. (I used to do Sunday/Wednesday, and that proved to be awful because we get paid on Fridays, so I would just shrug my shoulders.)
  3. I will not stress out over the values in my Thrift Savings Plan or Individual Retirement Account.

Pareto or Monte Carlo analyses of this are outside the scope of this resolution. Also, we don’t have to worry about government shutdowns until October.

The Return of Monthly Resolutions

I saw an acquaintance list dozens of goals today for 2020, some of which weren’t really goals. Back in 2006 and 2007, I did monthly resolutions. This brief interaction sparked me to return to the monthlies. It was a good process, mostly, even if my success rate was pretty low. I haven’t done New Year’s resolutions in a while, so this might be a good change.

The cool thing about a new year is that we get Day 01. Well, both my wife and I were born on the first of the month. (It’s one of the many fun things that we share.)

So let’s start anew, shall we?

Lastly, to mid-2000s me: I’m by no means perfect now, but boy were you a Grade A fuck-up back then. I’m glad you grew up a little.

An Update on the Jan 2007 Resolutions

Well, I’m officially breaking my make-to-be-broken resolution tonight; I’m behind enough on laundry that I won’t be laying anything out tonight for work. It’ll still be in various states of being laundered when I go to bed [an hour fast approaching, honestly]. In fact, it’s a strong possibility that I’ll be 0-for-3 on the resolutions, but … that’s okay. Doug called Dad and I “my right arm and my left arm, and most days, my right leg and my left leg” the other day. That’s enough for me. Silly resolutions pale greatly in comparison to being there when your family needs you. And boy, did we need to be there.

I take it as a matter of faith that y’all will respect the radio silence around here. I’m still finding words for the thoughts going around in my head. And all this feels very cheap to write, because, well … you know, I’m not Doug right now, who has a far heavier burden to bear. He’s not bearing it alone—thank God for that, quite literally—but it’s a heavy burden.

God? This sucks. But you didn’t promise us a bed of roses.

My January 2007 Resolutions

I’m sorely tempted to have the doomed-for-failure resolution to include going for a walk every night, but … nah. I mean, I’m going to take more walks this year, but I won’t bet on an every-night thing. Even if it’s destined for failure—working late, rainstorms, alien abductions—I want something with a chance to succeed, and right now, I’m not very inclined to go for a walk. [Should’ve done that earlier today as I’d intended.] So, that’s out. But here’s what’s in:

  1. Fixing the plumbing tasks around my house that I’ve been slacking on. These are: replacing the guts to the toilet tank in my bathroom, replacing the diverter valve in my tub, and replacing the cold water feed line in the sink downstairs that’s got a tiny pinhole leak in it. That’s one motivated Saturday or three mildly-motivated Saturdays.
  2. Move the CD storage area out of the loft and build a better queueing system than piles on my desk and in the filing cabinet. This sounds easy, but it’s not going to be, given the sorry shelving state of things around me. I’ve been keeping them close by the computer for ready access, but letting that stay as it has resulted in overflowing [because I’m acquiring bootlegs at a crazy rate] piles around the one tiny bookshelf that’s being used for them. At this rate, I’m best served by moving both bookshelves into my bedroom, pulling all the books out of the bigger one, and storing all the CDs in the fully-available shelves. Doing this would open me up to build those bookshelves that I never built last year.
  3. DfF: Every night, before I go to bed, lay out the clothes I’ll wear the next day. This is part of an effort to start every morning, weekday or weekend, parked on a downhill slope. If I have stuff all laid out for me, my first considered action in the morning is going to be to bathe and then get dressed. It won’t be, “Go read the email and feed items that came in overnight,” or “Read some of this month’s Esquire,” or “Go back to bed.” It’ll be, “Get up and start the damn day already.” Case in point: if I’d done this task last night, chances are that I wouldn’t be wearing a hat to cover up last night’s bedhead still. Granted, I did go ahead and start the damn day already, because I was up at 0630, but I also got back in bed for a while mid-morning without going back to sleep.

So, there we go. Let’s test my resolve!

The 2007 Resolutions

Well, last year’s resolutions were, uh … not really a success. :chuckle: By my estimate, I achieved three of them, semi-achieved two more, and wholly failed seven. Meatloaf never sang a song about that, though. [Bastard!]

[In case you want a review: I did get organized with Quicken and Pocket Quicken, I did get my taxes filed early, I did take a vacation, and I did end up buying a new car, even if that wasn’t really my intention as 2006 dawned. I had some technical issues with Quicken, though, and after April, I really … didn’t keep up with it. As to the other one, I never built SandraMcCracken.org/info, but I did help build squarepegalliance.net. I would like to fiiiiiiiinally build the Sandra site this year, but I’m not making any definite plans.]

As I mentioned elsewhere today, I’m going to focus on more short-term stuff:

As for my resolutions this year, I’m going to take a different tack: monthly goals. I found that, as the year progressed, my view of the goals I’d set at the beginning of 2006 grew dimmer. Also, I find myself a strong believer in repentance and staring anew, and a more regular focus is what I seek. I’ve always been great at short-term goals due to my procrastinative nature: the thrill of the deadline provides all the adrenaline that I need to succeed. I’ve also generally done well with long-term goals, which I pursue blindly and seem to just … sort of achieve. [I think I’d title my memoirs to date How I Became an Aerospace Engineer Without Really Trying.] But the medium-term stuff—the stuff that I’ve long held is the glue that really builds upon the short-term stuff and makes the long-term stuff happen a lot faster—is something I’ve generally sucked at in my life.

That’s the idea, anyway. How am I planning on handling this? Well, the idea I’ve rolled around in my head for the last week, but specifically today [mainly while watching the Space Race documentary on the National Geographic Channel that I’d TiVo’d seven months ago and finally got around to watching today, heh] it’s been this: three goals to resolve upon doing per month. One of them will be a resolution designed for failure—an idea I loved the moment I read it.

Come the first of every month, I can then come back here and flagellate myself for your amusement and mine. Sounds like a plan to me, largely because I do good to know what I’ll have time to do more than a week or two out at the time. Work is just that much fun right now. [I only mean that slightly sarcastically; it really is fun. Sometimes it’s just fun, y’know? I’m betting it’ll be fun tomorrow, though. The good kind.]

Anyhow, back after a few to post January’s threesome.

Resolution Shakeup

If one of the earlier resolutions proves to be unworkable by its scheduled date, you could swap it out with this one, as this is probably the easiest resolution to accomplish that you’ve posted thus far.

Steve Talley, 8 Jan 2006

Well, Steve, you were right. First I punted on March. Then April came and went, too. I’ve been getting things done, but not at the rate I’d like, and clearly not working this list down.

So, let’s re-adjust, shall we? [As we say at the office, we’ve never failed to meet an adjusted schedule.]

  • SandraMcCracken.org Launch: I’m slipping this until the end of July. The pressure is off, as squarepegalliance.net is up and running, and Sandra’s album isn’t coming out until August.
  • Office Setup: Because I took my vacation early, money that would have gone towards the desk went towards my plane fare. This is going to slide to September.
  • New Bookshelves: I’ve laid the basic design out [and I will try to get that scanned in at the office this week and posted here for all to see], but with the office un-done, I haven’t done the bookshelves.
  • ShowInfo: I’m pulling this off the schedule. Why? Jeff has built something that will largely do. Will it do everything I want to do? No. But it will do enough, and I’m not going to duplicate efforts here.
  • Vacation: Well, I’ve half-done this with my trip to Portland, and the rest of the vacationing I’m doing this year will be done in two more weeks, post-Memorial Day, as I stalk follow the Over the Rhine/HEM tour through the mid-South. Yes, actually finishing one early. I’ve also got some lessons learned to post when this is complete. I’ll be done with this in June.
  • Bar Extension is going to slide into September and maybe October with the office completion.
  • DirecTV Setup is going to go away unless I somehow get a promotion at the office. Buying an iBook largely took the funds I’d have spent on that. Sorry, Rick.
  • Car Buying Plans are still in progress, and I’ll finish the outlines of the task in October. I’ve decided what cars I’m going to consider already and will do test-driving this summer.
  • All other tasks remain on schedule.


Due to a variety of happenstances—work being really busy, being out-of-town, a server that upgefuchted on me [causing me two days’ downtime and pushing all the work I’d’ve done last weekend to this onw], and increased church commitments—I’m punting this month’s resolution back to finish in April. I’m subsequently pushing April‘s stuff back in to May, as I can re-work the office and build the bookshelves in the same month.

I’ll get the layout done for the bookshelves today; I’m still trying to decide how to lay the office out. I’m putting a [couch|futon|loveseat] up here, and the bookshelves will either go on the short patch of full wall next to the windowseat or along the angled half-walls opposite. I had just about decided which way I’d go back in January, and then I picked up a much-needed filing cabinet in February, and that’s jumbled my thinking. Decisions, decisions, decisions.

However, with the decision to slip the launch of SandraMcCracken.org made, I’ll rest a little bit easier. March has honestly kicked my ass repeatedly, and I need some time to regroup.

Jan 2006 Resolution Report

You’ll remember that, at the start of my 2006 resolutions, I resolved to have greater fiscal tracking. I’ve got it.

  1. Financial tracking software be procured for my home computer as well as my Treo handheld no later than 15 Jan 2006.

    I picked up Quicken 2006 for Mac and Pocket Quicken. Both have been excellent; I find that I only use PQ for realtime balance checking at the moment and not for data entry. I imagine that I’ll use PQ for data entry on business travel and when I’m away from home for more than a day or two. It’s been a good choice—I was already familiar with the software, and it’s working well.

  2. Aforementioned software shall be learned and implemented no later than 20 Jan 2006.

    There wasn’t a steep learning curve to it, but I just barely snuck in under the line on getting the stuff in place—no one sold either package locally, and I couldn’t get a download of Q2k6 for Mac, so I ordered both via for postal delivery. The USPS took their sweet time getting me the stuff—I ordered on the 7th and didn’t get my packages until the 19th. I squeaked this one in under the wire.

  3. A basic budgetary outline [mortgage, house-related expenses, groceries, entertainment, vehicle maintenance, etc.] be completed no later than 31 Jan 2006.

    It’s in place. I’m reviewing it every two weeks—when I get paid, of course—to see how I’m doing. This is a constant revision process, but with some fixed expenses to be sure. I’m liking how I’m doing—the greater visibility has made me far, far more conscious of my spending, and that alone has been a huge benefit.

This has been a great exercise for me to undertake. I’m really happy with how a bottom-up approach has helped me to see the forest and the trees. Personal and professional experience has hammered into me, repeatedly, that bottom-up approaches are how I work best. [I argue that they should be the norm, but I’m also wary of magic bullet solutions and blanket statements, so I’m trying to stay me-specific and not put my foot in my mouth too often here.]

See y’all back here in four weeks.

December 2006: Lose 50 Pounds

A RESOLUTION to Lose 50 Pounds in 2006

WHEREAS I’m really out of shape, and

WHEREAS I’d like to not be so bad next year, and

WHEREAS It’s just a pound a week,

THEREFORE Let it be hereby resolved that I will lose 50 pounds in 2006.

THEREFORE Let it be further resolved that I will tell you how close I got to that goal sometime in January 2007.

RESOLVED on this, the thirteenth day of January, 2006, by the Board of Directors of GFMorris.com, Geof F. Morris, Resident Fatass, presiding.