It's time to take a look back and a look ahead (the title of this blog entry refers to the Roman god of beginnings and endings).
Personal accomplishments in 2010:
6. Another fantasy football title! My San Francisco Slobberknockers--the team that got me my first such title back in 2004--won the BDFL championship for the second time Sunday. (Yes, I know Sunday was the second day of 2011, but the way I see it, the NFL season started a week late and should have ended on December 26.)
5. New gas range - This was item number one on my Shopping List for the Near Future. I had been wanting to ditch the 43-year-old pile-of-crap Montgomery Ward Signature range that had a series of problems (burners didn't always ignite off the pilot light, the oven usually took two minutes or more to turn on, the handle on the oven door was broken, no oven light). Back in July, I finally did. I got a Hotpoint range with sealed burners, electronic ignition, an oven light, a window you can see through pretty well, and an electronic timer for about $340. (On a related note, I also took care of items 7 and 10 on that list: I got a better digital camera and replaced my tires.)
4. Low-cost alternator replacement - Back in February, the alternator in my 2002 Pontiac Grand Prix went on the blink. My mechanic, a very trustworthy guy who I entrust to fix whatever I can't fix, offered to replace it for $300 or so. Thing is, I knew beforehand that the alternator is easy to access and replace. So I did some research and found the step-by-step instructions I needed in order to replace it myself, then bought a rebuilt alternator and installed it myself. Final cost: $65.
3. Low-cost body work: On that same car, a piece of plastic molding on the passenger side had been sagging. The reason: A piece of metal railing under the plastic had turned to rust; the only things keeping the molding attached to the car were four screws--two on the front of the rear wheel well and two at the back of the front wheel well. So in July, I bought a replacement molding rail on eBay (from Ed Morad, a parts dealer in Cleveland specializing in parts for late-model front-wheel-drive GM cars) for $68, and was able to install it myself. Final cost: $74 (I also bought a can of spray paint to repaint the molding). Heaven knows how much Maaco would have charged to get that fixed.
2. Finally, a vacation: The week of Labor Day, I went to St. Louis to cross one item off my "bucket list": Going to the top of the Gateway Arch.
1. Weight loss: You all know about this one because I've been harping on it for a while now. The first year that I started living on my own, my weight shot up as I ate more freely than I did previously. From July 2001 to July 2010, my weight had slowly been creeping up at the rate of roughly a pound a year. (Before that, I was overweight at about 180.) On July 31, 2010, I weighed 191 pounds. Not even my mirror would tell me how wrong that was. It took a picture someone else took of me at a friend's barbecue to shock me into making two changes to my diet: I switched from regular soda to diet soda--a change that, for years, I found inconceivable--and stopped buying junk food (because every time I bought and ate it, however much I liked it, it amounted to turning money into flab). This morning, I weighed 174. My hope is that I can lose a pound a month over the winter, then go back to losing a few pounds a month in warmer months. (On a related note, I've saved at least $38 since August by avoiding junk food items that my younger, not-so-careful self would have bought.)
Resolutions for 2011:
1. Exercise. A year ago, I figured all I'd have to do to get rid of my excess weight was exercise. But then I'd have a hard time running without feeling tired just a 1/4-mile. I was caught in a Catch-22 I created: I couldn't exercise due to the excess weight, even though I needed to exercise to lose that weight. Now that regular sodas and junk food are no longer a regular part of my diet, that Catch-22 is broken. I need to use my aerobic rider more now, and need to run more in the summer.
2. Knock another item or two off my bucket list. I still haven't been to a Lions football game, a Red Wings hockey game, or been on a rollercoaster. (Quick question: Anyone know of a theme park where you can pay for each ride instead of paying a larger amount up front for admission to the whole park?)
3. Take care of another home improvement project or two. Last year, I replaced the range; two years ago, it was the hot water heater; in 2007, it was the fridge. This year, projects I need to tackle include the garage door, the driveway and the steps to my front porch (items 2, 4 and 8 on that "Shopping List For the Near Future").
4. See my younger brother in Texas. He moved to Austin, TX in 2006 and I have not been down there.
5. Lose more weight. I'm still a little "out of shape" at 174. 170 should be no problem. Getting my neck size down to 15.5 and my waist size to 34 seem possible as well; after years of being stuck at 16.5 and 36, respectively, I am now at 16 and 35.
6. Be more organized. I have let my clutter get out of control at times.
7. Keep the house clean more often. I need to act like I have people over more often, even though I almost never do.
8. Look for new meals to cook. My "menu" is seriously limited--Hamburger/Chicken/Tuna Helper, chicken chimichitos, that kielbasa/potatoes/sauerkraut dish, frozen pizzas (Freschetta/DiGiorno/Red Baron only), pasta, canned soups, frozen dinners... and I have a half-dozen cookbooks sitting on top of my fridge! It's time I went through them.
9. Read more books. I've bought a number of books over the past few years with the intent of reading them, but end up failing to make the time to do so.