117 rapid-fire memories from 2017

No preamble this year. Let’s get straight to it. Here are my rapid-fire memories from 2017:

  1. Bringing in the new year in the White Castle drive-thru
  2. Buying new couches online
  3. Getting my wife pregnant
  4. Going to my first ultrasound
  5. Going to the second ultrasound and finding out our baby was a boy
  6. Watching Jayden for three months (four months total, starting in December 2016)
  7. Deciding not to pursue foster parenting with Jayden
  8. Releasing “Haunted by a Memory” with Hunchback Whale
  9. Getting our first physical fan mail for Hunchback Whale
  10. Giving out Hunchback Whale cards at the Great Lawn for Thurby
  11. Driving to Erie, PA and back to drop off Gage with his dad
  12. Visiting Revolution Church
  13. Visiting Hope Culture
  14. Visiting Calvary Chapel Syracuse
  15. Going to Sarah Cook’s birthday party
  16. Creating a logo for Super Nano Pro
  17. Building a website for Super Nano Pro
  18. Writing Gage a letter for his KPREP
  19. Washing the siding of our house
  20. Going on Facebook Live
  21. Trying to do the rope course at Main Event
  22. Helping clean up the limb that fell off our tree (and took out the neighbors’ power and internet lines)
  23. Building shelves in our kitchen
  24. Walking to the park to swing on the swings
  25. Getting into a car accident when someone backed into us at Burger King
  26. Riding my bike to work for a week straight while our car was getting repaired
  27. Wrecking my bike on the way to work
  28. Going to Andrew’s every other Monday
  29. Trying elk, kangaroo, ostrich, and alligator beef jerky for Valentine’s Day
  30. Creating Facebook Live videos for Hunchback Whale
  31. Driving from Louisville to Rhode Island in one day with only four stops total
  32. Listening to the audiobook version of Walden on the drive to Walden Pond
  33. Swimming in Walden Pond on Henry David Thoreau’s 200 birthday
  34. Getting stuck in traffic on I-95 for three hours
  35. Swimming in the ocean in the rain
  36. Building Ft. Grennos on the beach in Rhode Island
  37. Floating in our popup pool in our backyard
  38. Seeing Niagara Falls from the New York side with Meagan
  39. Visiting Maine and eating my first bacon covered hot dog
  40. Driving through New Hampshire, twice
  41. Eating at Mystic Pizza in Connecticut (the one from the movie)
  42. Eating littleneck clams in Rhode Island
  43. Eating stuffed quahogs in Rhode Island
  44. Attending the DIY Musician’s Conference
  45. Meeting Rick Barker, Taylor Swift’s first manager
  46. Waiting anxiously to see if the evaluators would choose “Haunted by a Memory” as a sample song to discuss at the DIY Musician’s Conference (they didn’t)
  47. Eating Tacos with Bethany Rhiannon (and her friend), Ender Bowen, and Ted
  48. Seeing The Weeks and Moon Taxi in concert with Meagan while she was pregnant
  49. Learning Moon Taxi’s “Morocco” before the concert so we could sing along to it at the concert
  50. Attending a birthing class
  51. Touring the hospital where our baby would be born
  52. Going to see the Balloon Glow at the Gaslight Festival
  53. Selling Super Nano Pro at the Gaslight Festival
  54. Selling Super Nano Pro all day at the NuLu Festival
  55. Preaching about Job
  56. Driving to Carrollton, KY in the evening with the family to drop off parts for Sonitrol
  57. Listening to Hardcore History while doing dishes
  58. Meeting with Ted on Sunday morning to work on Hunchback Whale stuff
  59. Recording documentary footage with Ted for Hunchback Whale
  60. Walking through the Enchanted Forest Nature Walk at Foxhollow Farm
  61. Talking with Bryce about FBA businesses
  62. Researching FBA businesses with Jungle Scout videos
  63. Purchasing the Jungle Scout Chrome Extension
  64. Running red lights to get Meagan to the hospital
  65. Watching my baby be born
  66. Cutting Lachlan’s umbilical cord
  67. Naming my son “Lachlan Miles”
  68. Feeding Lachlan from a bottle in the NICU
  69. Walking Lachlan to sleep in his Tula
  70. Preaching about James
  71. Quitting Toastmasters
  72. Finally putting in new headlights after my second one went out in my car
  73. Discovering and listening to hours of StoryGrid podcasts
  74. Seeing the two-person Shakespeare play at the Middletown library
  75. Going to the How-To festival at the main library
  76. Going to the art festival at the new library off Outer Loop
  77. Going to Elsie’s first birthday party and finding out Will and Lauren were having another baby
  78. Popping balloons at Elsie’s birthday party to find out the baby was a boy
  79. Buying a Christmas tree
  80. Decorating our house with Christmas lights for the first time
  81. Getting a Christmas bonus check
  82. Making homemade egg nog
  83. Making homemade cranberry sauce
  84. Eating Meagan’s pumpkin bread
  85. Writing a reference letter for a friend trying to adopt
  86. Redesigned the Super Nano Pro logo
  87. Going to the Tom Petty tribute concert with JC
  88. Rearranging our living room furniture
  89. Building a fire so hot in the backyard that we couldn’t roast marshmallows until it died down
  90. Setting up the pop-up form on MarshallJonesJr.com to gather emails for Hunchback Whale
  91. Setting up the email auto-responder for Whale Mail
  92. Trying to go through Rick Barker’s 30-day challenge
  93. Hanging out with the Cohns at Rooster’s
  94. Going to Jeremy and Jacki’s for Thanksgiving
  95. Getting coffee and going out shopping for Black Friday (and actually buying stuff)
  96. Winning lazer tag at Main Event for the Christmas party
  97. Hanging out at my boss’s house for his Christmas party
  98. Hosting Christmas Eve at our house
  99. Melting scented wax on Christmas Eve
  100. Opening presents with Meagan, Gage, and Lachlan on Christmas morning
  101. Swapping out my watchband with the tools Poppy lent me
  102. Playing as many board games as possible before the New Year on New Year’s Eve
  103. Giving Lachlan a bath
  104. Touring Meyzeek Middle School
  105. Touring Crosby Middle School
  106. Going to Gage’s school concert
  107. Watching Pan in the hospital with Gage
  108. Changing diapers
  109. Making coffee in our French press
  110. Going to Southeast’s Christmas pageant
  111. Going to the drive-thru Christmas story at the church in Shepherdsville
  112. Doing camera job inspections for Sonitrol
  113. Cutting Meagan’s hair
  114. Bathing Lyndon to try to get the fleas off him
  115. Mapping out how to visit my last remaining states
  116. Losing everything on my laptop when it died
  117. Writing 10 Marshallogue posts in a little over an hour

Happy 2017!

(Coming soon… 2018.)

My 2017 review: What went well and not-so-well

  1. What went well in 2017?
  2. What went not-so-well in 2017?

This is one of those years where everything felt like it ended up in both columns of the pros/cons list.

Here are my answers to the first question:

  • We had a baby. Hands down, that’s the biggest accomplishment of 2017… and also a top three of the decade. ‘Nuff said.
  • We released “Haunted by a Memory” with Hunchback Whale. We also did some Facebook stuff, started a bunch of other social media profiles, and started work on a documentary. Ted and I went to the DIY Musicians Conference together in Nashville.
  • I wrote a new song for the first time in years.
  • My boss started a side company and brought three of us at work along with him. He spent about $50,000 on the first round of inventory. Once we make the money back on that, I’ll be a partner in the company.
  • I made it to another six states, three of which I got to visit with Gage and Meagan and the other three with just Meagan. Meagan and I also got to see Niagara Falls from the New York side. I just have the northwest (eight states) and Hawaii left on my hit list for the states. Another note on this trip: planning this out in advance helped us get more bang for the buck because not only did we enjoy the trip, we also got to enjoy looking forward to it. (I repeated this with the DIY Conference later in the year too.)
  • We continued to expand our cooking skills this year. Among other things, we made egg nog for the first time, we discovered Red Lobster biscuits at Aldi’s, we continued perfecting our crock pot Spaghetti, and Meagan’s pumpkin bread is en pointe.
  • I continued to be an early riser. In the last quarter of 2016, I started adopting the habit of getting up early seven days a week. I kept it up all through 2017 too. There were days here and there were I slept in more than others, but by and large, I continued to get up early and get things done in the morning.
  • We watched Jayden for about three months, starting in December, 2016. This was the longest we had any of the kids from OCA. We learned more in that process than with any of the others.
  • I got to teach twice at church, both within just a few months of each other.
  • I wrote a little more for my book.

And then here’s what didn’t go so well in 2017:

  • Other than our baby, I don’t know that I did a great job with my family. What goals did we accomplish this year? What goals did we even set? What habits did we form? Are they moving us forward or backward… and toward what?
  • Musically, Hunchback Whale didn’t do a whole lot this year. We tried to do some marketing stuff, but we never played out, only released the one song, and didn’t really get much closer to releasing more music than we were at the beginning of the year.
  • Professionally, I still have the same job at the same company, the same position, roughly the same responsibilities, and the same salary I had at the beginning of last year. Four of us at work started a side company, but we haven’t made a profit at it yet. That will hopefully happen by the end of 2018. I don’t have any side hustles going on. Overall, I don’t feel like I developed much in this area this year. (Not that I had any plan to – I never had any clear goals this year other than trying to start selling some products on Amazon, and that never happened.)
  • Financially, I owe more money now than ever before in my life. Don’t assume that means we’re starving or anything. We just have some medical bills and normal, suburban America debt. I also have the least amount in savings since South Korea. Again, no one’s starving, but it concerns me because it seems like the trajectory is pointing the wrong way.
  • I started some experiments without finishing them. The one called “Stay Standing” comes to mind. Remind me, and I’ll follow up on that. Beyond that, what experiments did I even attempt?
  • I don’t know if I finished reading any books this entire year. Instead, I skimmed through a few and listened to a lot of podcasts. Toward the end of the year, I started to realize I’m probably teaching myself to hear without doing anything about it. At least I started to realize it.

Reading over this, I feel both encouraged at how this year went and discouraged at how depressing the second column reads. That’s a common pattern for these year-end reviews. The good part, though, is that when I review like this, the encouragement typically pushes me to come up with a plan to shore up the not-so-well list in the coming year.

And that’s the point of all this. Do more of the stuff that made the first column and less of the stuff that made the second.

My friend’s response to death

“It doesn’t matter how much money you have. It doesn’t matter how many times you go to the gym. When it gets you, you’re gone.”

That’s what my friend said when I talked to him today, his first day back at work since his brother died last week. His brother was like 43.
Earlier this summer, his brother found out that the lump on his foot was cancer. After some tests, he found out the cancer was in his bones… and all through his body. That was just six month ago.
He didn’t even know he had a problem before that.
Now, six months later, he’s gone.
It doesn’t matter how much money you have. It doesn’t matter how many times you go to the gym.

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