I'm going to Disneyland! Yes, yes, that's California Adventure, but you get the idea!

Welcome back and Happy New Year!  This is up today, New Year’s, because I will be in Disneyland the first week of the year.  After I get back I will be posting weekly, most weeks anyway.  Maybe more often now and then.

This post is about taking stock.  It’s something we should all do once in a while.  You might call it something different and it may take different forms, but essentially its just an assessment of your life.  Where you’re going, where you’ve been and what you’ve come to enjoy and what you no longer do.  Think of it as a kind of spring cleaning.

This seems to be a popular time of year to do this kind of thing.  I’m not big on resolutions, but lots of folks commit to this or that as the new year approaches.  I find those forced changes fade pretty quickly.  There is nothing magical about January 1st that makes people stick to stuff they don’t really want to do.

On the other hand, this is a time of change.  Winter is upon us and has been for a while and with the holidays behind us, we begin to look forward to the year ahead and spring.  That has an effect on me and I tend to begin making plans this time of year.  I don’t always follow through on all of them, but I do it anyway.

One this I need to do is work on my budget.  I spent too much money last year.  A lot of it was due to my father-in-laws illness and passing.  His estate was a mess and we had to pay for a lot of stuff he should have taken care of.  We were also surprised at the amount of money we spend on our kids.  Damn, they are expensive!  With some better planning we should be able to absorb the costs over time and save ourselves some grief.

With the settlement of the estate early in 2012 we should be able to pay off some bills and pay off some additional debt.  My wife got a nice raise that starts today and that will help too.  I’m also making a little money writing and hope that increases.  I wouldn’t call it a job.  It’s more like I can’t believe I get paid to do it!

During the holidays we had some family issues.  Not immediate family, as in wife and kids, but siblings parents and nephews.  It got ugly and made us rethink who we want in our lives and who we don’t.  It’s a subject we’ve thought a lot about even before this.  Life is too short to spend with people that treat you poorly.  We will do a lot more thinking as the year progresses. I kind of liken it to cleaning out the dingy corners of your home where things gather.  Once in a while you just have to clear the debris.

This year our youngest enters high school.  A little over 4 years from now he will be an adult.  I’m not going to pretend he will be on his own entirely, but it will free us up to make some changes.  My plan is to begin sketching out our future without kids at home.  We know we want to sell the house and buy and RV and see the country.  However, we need to begin figuring out specifics.  Especially how this will work out financially.

We aren’t upside down in our home, but we aren’t sitting on much equity either.  I’m not counting on that changing.  So how are we going to afford an RV and what kind will we end up with?   Research into the cost of living on the road suggests my pension is enough to live and make an RV payment and still have money left over.  If we could work it out so we didn’t have the payment, well, good times!

I’ve been very lax on exercising.  I need to find something I enjoy besides walking.  I was doing calisthenics and enjoyed them, but got bored.  I think changing them up weekly or bi-weekly is the key.  I need to find a way to do that in an orderly fashion.  Between the calisthenics, walking and stretching, I think it’s a good regimen, especially when you throw in fishing and stuff like that.

Other than that I’ve got some projects I need to set aside time for.  I think I might set aside one day a week and dedicate that day to working around the house and other projects.  It won’t burn me out and I won’t just plain forget.  Just because you’re retired doesn’t mean you don’t need to take care of things aroudn the house.

So, that me this year.  Or that’s the plan anyway.  Subject to change, as always.  I look forward to this year.  The last one sucked on many levels.  We’re due for a good one.  Two years ago our house flooded.  Last year Jen’s dad died and we had all the family drama over the last month of the year.  We’re due, but anything I can do to help insure that I’d better do.