Friday, September 30, 2011

Day 30 of 365 - September in Review

September was not a great month for progress on my goals. The exceptional events from the start of the month remain ongoing. My days have consisted of little more than working, doing chores and resting. I have little to show for my time.


1. Lifting - yeah, right. My last two weeks of nights have been spent upright on the couch, hoping my cough will stop long enough that I fall asleep for a few hours. I am weak and de-conditioned. The doctor says all I can do is wait it out.


I'll be lucky if by the end of October, I am back to my condition from the start of September. At least I have the elliptical to help me along now.


2. Eat on $4 a day - September averaged more like $5-$6 a day, largely because I did most of my grocery shopping at Walgreens for the last half of the month. Jack's pizzas are $4 each, so...


I did make some foundational progress here:


- Proved shopping at Aldi and Meijer my most affordable grocery option

- Incorporated Aldi guacamole into a few of my staple meals, adding an inexpensive and healthy fat to my diet

- Finally learned to prepare tofu for stir frys. It is half the price of frozen fake meat.

- Discovered basmati brown rice. It is 50% more expensive than Riceland long grain brown rice, but it actually tastes good.  It is also much cheaper than the corn bread or frozen brown rice I have been pairing bean heavy meals with.

- Became confident in my ability to successfully prepare dried beans

- Changed a pattern around work that ensures I eat out two less meals a month


October is an unusual month for me schedule wise. I'm not even going to try to track dollars spent on groceries. I do expect to make some more foundational progress that will benefit my long-term health and maybe my monthly grocery budget. Flax oil, sesame oil, and homemade deep-dish pizza are all in the queue. It’s also finally cool enough for me to look into a pizza stone.


3. Become competitive at pool - Nope. I regressed for sure. I can't bend over without having a coughing fit. I don't expect much progress here in October either. I'm going to have to prioritize my time carefully and pool is not at the top of the list.


4. Maintain my home - I've set the process in motion for a refinance. It should cut 1% or so off my mortgage rate and shorten the duration by 3 years. I've done nothing else. I have to come up with enough money that I have 20% equity in the home (again, I did this two years ago...), so I am poor now.


I expect to finish the refinance in October. I'd like to at least try some screen repair in the mean time. The housekeeper hasn't been here for more than a month, I guess changing that will count for home maintenance at this point... It would be smart to get the deck and attic taken care of professionally, but I’m not sure I’ll have the time or cash flow to coordinate it.


5. Excel as a quality engineer - I missed 3.5 days of work last month. That's the 15% I might normally spend on process improvement, so nothing major to show here. I did get some training approved that will make me more effective long term.


October is going to be rough on my work schedule and any potential process improvement around software quality. Nothing I can do about it though.


September was pretty lame. October might be better, but I am really just trying to get back on my feet. I have high hopes for November though!