Growing up, my parents had a wall clock in the basement, two-feet in diameter with a faux-antiqued face in the French Provincial style, next to where I'd sit and play Nintendo. At some point, I noticed there was no second hand on the clock. Then I realized the minute hand was doing double duty, also counting seconds, moving continuously, almost imperceptibly each second toward the next minute dash. It kind of horrified me. There it was, the inevitable march of TIME! I would feel the clock's mechanical gaze as I tried to lose myself in Zelda. And I often succeeded, but this very well may be the origin of my putting more stock in the passing of a year. It's defined, a solid interval to hang your hat on and have a look-see at the year gone by, a societal break in the sly hand's journey around and around the clock. Here are some highlights for me and and my wife Maggie.
Family and Real Estate
Just after the new year, we closed on a duplex that's literally in our backyard. We used a HELOC from our fourplex for the downpayment and renovation (still working on that), and we'll be moving in sometime in February, renting our current unit and the other side of the property. The duplex has been a rental for the last 47 years, so there's no shortage of deferred maintenance and old mechanical issues that need addressed, which have offered lots of learning opportunities.
I also started my first flip last year with a team of friends on a property in midtown. It's a big one—3,000 sq ft—so it's taken some time in planning and construction. If everything goes perfectly, we'll be listing sometime in early March. If not, well, so it goes :)
The duplex and the flip are a bit on the timely side, as we found out we're having a baby boy! He's supposed to debut in late March, and we cannot wait...but we could really use that full amount of time and are hoping and praying he does not decide to come early.
Trips in 2017
Mexico (Puerto Vallarta, Guadalajara and Puebla) — if you've never traveled inland from the resorts, it is well worth a trip that gives you a window into how most of the country lives, and all of the amazing things Mexico has to offer.
New Mexico (Taos, Abiquiu, Santa Fe) — Almost as good as old Mexico, we enjoyed this trip so much, from the local fare (blue corn everything), Earthships, museums, most remote monastery in the west, killer mountain bike trails, and a whole lot more. I really do sound like a travel agent, but it was just a wonderful trip.
Eaux Claire's Music Festival — Cant say too much about it, don't want to jinx the magic. All I can say is Feist, Paul Simon, Chance the Rapper, Wilco, hidden art installations in the forest, glowing cubes featuring NASA archival footage, and that's all I can say.
Rafting down the Snake River in Hell's Canyon — I never understood what the hype around rafting trips was all about. Day 1, I started to get it. Day 4, I was hooked, even though Day 3, we flipped. Such a fun time.
Books in 2017
The Architecture of Happiness — Alain de Botton
An American Childhood — Annie Dillard
The Givenness of Things — Marilynne Robinson
Sapiens — Yuval Noah Harari
The Boys in the Boat — Daniel James Brown
Sacred Economics — Charles Eisentstein
The War of Art — Stephen Pressfield
Stranger in a Strange Land — Robert Heinlein
When Breath Becomes Air — Paul Kalinathi
Bossy Pants — Tina Fey
Mr. Mercedes — Stephen King
The Power of Habit — Charles Duhigg
The Friedkin Connection — William Friedkin
All is Grace – Brennan Manning
Dune — Frank Herbert (would be in the top, but this was a reread. Such a good book.)
Tribe — Sebastian Junger