Wednesday, January 04, 2017

2016 Year in Review

The biggest news of 2016 is that I became a grandfather three times! Our first grandbaby, Clara, was born way back in January on 1/5. Then, at the end of January I inherited another granddaughter when my son, Michael, married Heather. Addalynn turned 8 this year. Finally, it wasn’t long after their marriage until Michael and Heather announced that they were expecting their first baby together. My first grandson, Levi, was born on 12/2. So, at the end of 2015 I had no grandchildren. Here, at the end of 2016 I have three! What a difference a year can make.

On the job front, I continued to contract with Dolese until August. In around June or July the management at Dolese offered me a full time position. At the same time, they let me know that if I did not accept it, then I would need to be moving on. After a few weeks of poking around to see what I could find, I realized that I had a pretty good thing going at Dolese in terms of the work I was doing and the people I was working with. So I wound up accepting their full time offer. The pay is a bit less than I was making as a contractor. But it’s nice to have health insurance and paid holidays and vacation again. Plus, I’ve been supplementing my income a bit on the side. Since about October I’ve been doing some Lyft driving. It doesn’t pay a lot, but it’s fun to see different parts of the city and to meet new people. Plus, the biggest advantage is that it is extremely flexible on when I can work or when I don’t have to. I just turn on the app when I want to give rides, and turn it off when I’m done. For supplementing income it gives a lot more freedom than a second job would. Lyft has a few perks that I’ve been able to take advantage of, like a fuel discount at Shell. The better “side job” I have found was through I’m doing some database programming for a company that does mortgage loan processing, titles, etc. It’s all about real estate loans and processing. This is working very well for me, though I’m hoping that as 2017 starts we can pick up the pace and start knocking 2 or 3 of these projects out a week. They pay on a “per project” basis rather than by the hour. I think this is a great way to do it. It sure gives me an incentive to work quickly and efficiently. For both of these “side jobs” I bought some new tools. For the programming job, I bought another laptop. My previous one was in sad shape. The power port had become disconnected so that I could no longer plug it in while working, or even when I wasn’t working in order to charge the battery. In most cases, that would have been a show stopper right there. But I did find a device on either Amazon, or eBay, can’t remember, that allowed me to charge a laptop battery outside of the laptop itself. So that kept me going for a while. However, in the middle of one of my SQL projects, my battery didn’t charge after leaving it on all night long. I had located a small computer shop that had a laptop that was compatible with my existing one. What that meant was that I was able to take the SSD hard drive and the 8 GB of memory out of my old one and use it directly in the new one. This was convenient as I didn’t have to reinstall any of my software, etc. I just popped my existing drive in and continued programming. Now, I have a laptop that I can actually plug in again. I’m writing this post on it now. Another nice thing is that the guy took $100 off the price of the new laptop since I didn’t use his hard drive. The new “tool” that I bought for the Lyft job is another car. Actually, I bought the car before I decided to do Lyft. So, it’s not exactly accurate that I bought it for that purpose. But the timing was pretty close. I bought the car and about two weeks later started doing Lyft with it. If you read the 2015 Year in Review, you’ll remember me describing Brianna’s Crown Vic Police Interceptor. Hers has worked out well. So I decided to get one myself! It’s a 2005, V-8, black and white, with a long police radio antenna on the trunk. I may eventually hook that up to a CB. I haven’t quite decided yet. I really like it. It’s got lots of power and even has keyless entry, which is rare for police vehicles. Doing Lyft with it has been fun as I get lots of comments.

Church has been going great. As time goes on it’s more and more clear that this is the best place for us. It’s another one of those situations where “if I had it to do over again” I would have attended here from the time we first moved to Oklahoma. The last time I experienced that was much more drastic in Tennessee. When we first moved out there we were involved in a charismatic, non-denominational church. By the time we left, we were attending at Reformed Baptist of Nashville. So, the situation here in Oklahoma is reminiscent of that, though quite a bit different in that all three churches we’ve attended here in Oklahoma have at least been much more Christ exalting and orthodox than the charismatic one in Nashville.

Updates on the kids –
I already mentioned Brittney and Landon having Clara. No second baby on the way yet (or at least they haven’t told anyone if there is!).

I also mentioned Michael and Heather already having Levi. His middle name is Malcolm, named after my grandfather.

Brianna has been dating an Air Force guy named Matt. He seems like a really nice guy and he gets along well with all of Brianna’s little brothers and sisters (and her older ones too).

Justin turned 15 and is counting the days until he can get his driver’s permit. Oh no, not that again. J

Paton is excelling at his violin playing. He also turns 13 in April. So I’m busy preparing for yet another Rite of Passage ceremony.

Sarah is doing very well at her piano playing. She’s also loving being an aunt to Clara and Levi.

Samuel is growing in the Lord. He’s got a great smile and is a joy to be around.

Melody turned five. She also loves being an aunt to Clara and Levi, but she has found a new really good friend in Addalynn. They love to play together.

David is David… He’s quite a handful. But he’s full of personality. He’s still attached to sucking his thumb. He turned three last August. He’s got a great vocabulary as he listens in on everything we’re saying.

I’m still learning on the “grandpa” thing. We’re trying to teach the grandkids to call me “Granddaddy.” I liked “Pepaw,” but my older kids vetoed that saying that Pepaw could never be replaced. (That was Malcolm that I mentioned earlier.) But in getting used to the Grandpa thing I’m not certain how much info my kids want me to share on their kids. So until I get a better feel for those expectations my updates on them will be pretty shallow, not that I gave you a lot of info on my own kids either! J But that’s mainly due to time over conviction. I began this post over the Christmas holiday and here it is January 4, and I’m just now posting it. Better late than never. No promises on posts between now and next year, but here’s hoping that I will.

Have a great 2017!