Come To My Senses: May 4

  • Sight: Avengers: Infinity War. Go. Now. Get to a theater. Watch this movie. It’s easily the best comic book movie, I think. A huge cast was handled perfectly. Nearly three hours flies by. The best description I’ve heard has been that it’s a typical three-act movie with three straight third acts. I left wanting to buy every. single. Marvel movie [editor’s note: I just got my tax refund. And I have a Best Buy gift card. So I’m buying them. All of them]. I’m looking forward to Ant Man and the Wasp, which isn’t something I thought I’d say. I’m SUPER pumped for Captain Marvel next year. Feed me all of the Marvel movies. Feel better, Spiderman.
  • Sound: I’ll never forget April 29th, 2014. I had been browsing Spotify for some good music to throw onto my “Best. Songs. Ever.” playlist. For some reason, whatever rabbit hole I was running down led me to a couple of Avril Lavigne songs: Falling Down & Keep Holding On. Most of the playlist is upbeat, catchy songs that get me moving. Think Simple Plan’s Jet Lag. Or The Killer’s Mr. Brightside. Or Bone Thugs & Harmony’s Tha Crossroads. Instead, I got stuck on a couple of “it gets better”, lesser known movie soundtrack pop songs by a Canadian singer stuck in the Hot Topic generation. But I added them anyways. Then a couple of hours later, I saw my cousin make a Facebook post about being a failure, apologizing for ever mistreating anyone, and wishing everyone a better life. I saw his friends and our family members respond and reach out with love and support. And finally, several hours after that, I got word that he had killed himself. We weren’t super close because he was much younger than I am. But he went to Clemson and it was fun talking to him about being on campus. It’s sad. So those songs mean something bigger to me. The lyrics are fitting. And I hope you found the peace you were looking for, Peter.

There’s nothing you can say,
nothing you can do.
There’s no other way when it comes to the truth.
So keep holding on ’cause you know we’ll make it through

[editor’s note: Shoutout to Glee for having the only legit version of this song on Youtube]

  • Taste: Yo. It’s been a fat week, for sure. I went on a lunch date Saturday to Three Amigos. I’ve been in a never-ending search for a solid Charlotte Mexican restaurant but had never been. The food was okay. The date was not. Then I crashed Cookout for a late lunch/early dinner after my Sunday movie. Then JJ’s on Tuesday. Obviously. Their dog of the week was a Cinco de Sriracha Mayo dog. It’s essentially a taco with a hotdog in it. Yes. It was as good as that sounds. My tax refund check’s got me feeling like a big spender, so I swung by Wendy’s on the way home for dinner. Wednesday, our office went to the Charlotte Knights’ day game across the street. Get paid to watch baseball? Yup! Rocked some chicken tenders and a hotdog there. Then Cookout Round #2 was Thursday for dinner. I am not skinny.
  • Feel: Annoyed. Work was crazy busy in April. Now that there’s a LITTLE bit of breathing room, there’s this huge push to get caught up, get analysis done, get ahead of schedule, blah blah blah. I love my job. But I wish I could tell people to calm down sometimes too. I’ve also been exhausted this week. I was up until 1am on the phone with my dad Sunday night. Monday night, I dozed off on the couch only to have Lucy wake me up by throwing up in the living room at 12:30am. So I got up, cleaned it up, and headed to bed, only to find out it had happened on my pillow and comforter too. We finally got to sleep at 2am. In the guest bedroom. Wednesday was hours in the sun at a baseball game. So I’m dire need of some catch-up sleep. And settled down coworkers.

I’ve got big plans this weekend. I need to try and replace a hose bib on the side of my house. And possibly get an estimate for replacing part of my fence with another gate. And if I’m feeling REAL crazy, I may just order some patio furniture for my screened in porch.

Being an adult is dumb. Weekends are not. Enjoy yours!

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Come To My Senses: April 27

  • Sight: I caught Super Troopers 2 at the theater last Sunday. I love the first… three quarters?… of the first movie. It’s hilarious. But it was also released 17 years ago. And I feel like follow up sequels like this are almost always clones of the first movie [Anchorman 2, The Hangover 2, etc], so I was a little nervous. I think it stands on its own pretty well. I still want to see it a couple of times before anointing it better or on par with the first one. But I’d say it’s worth a watch or two.
  • Sound: It’s not new Marianas Trench music [which hopefully is coming soon…] but it’s the next best thing! Josh Ramsay released a new single that’s on the soundtrack to a movie coming out. It’s a bit sugary, happy-go-lucky, indie-ish. And it sounds a lot like Hey There Delilah. Give it a shot. It’s cute.

Laugh about how every good song
that we sing along
they all use the same words
so we’ll make up one

  • Taste: Snagged me some Dominos last Friday. After thinking I ordered it from the South Tryon location, only to realize once I got there that I really ordered from the South Blvd location. Oops? Saturday evening started at Park Lanes for a friend’s bowling birthday party but ended with a 3AM trip to Waffle House with some bar hopping in between. Roulette on Tuesday was Tupelo Honey Cafe. I’m absolutely in the minority of Charlotteans that I know but I think it’s completely overrated, over-priced, and just not that great. But I saved the week on Wednesday by going to JJ’s. Of course. Then the week was supposed to end with a lunch trip to the first Shake Shack in Charlotte but the line was out of control. So we called an audible for Comet Grill.
  • Feel: Good. Just plain good 🙂

Late entry this week… but I was too busy playing Far Cry 5 last night to carve out some time to type anything up. But then I heard Josh’s new song today and knew I needed a place to share it!

Enjoy your waning days of April!

 

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Come To My Senses: April 20

  • Sight: We crashed Clemson last weekend for some spring football. I brought the Charlotte contingency, S&T, FJ & DJ, and one of FJ’s buddy’s family represented Chapin, one of the uncles on my step mom’s side came from Minnesota (I think?), and my dad played home base for the crew. We saw the great football savior that is Trevor Lawrence take his first college snaps in front of a crowd [Spoilers: He’s insanely good. We’re winning a national title with him]. We hit the field after the game, stalked some football players, and got the kids a picture with a cheerleader like they wanted. A day in Clemson to see some football ain’t a bad day at all.
  • Sound: Let’s give a fun, bubbly rap song a shout out! In one of the weirdest pairings I’ve seen, I saw Wiz Khalifa open up for Fall Out Boy back in the summer of 2015. And it as a lot better than I thought it would be. Also, it’s 4/20 and he’s /r/tree-friendly. And I’m incredibly white.

Not saying I’m the richest man alive
but I’m in the game
As long as you keep it 100
I’ma spend this change

  • Taste: Roulette was Mr. K’s on Tuesday. Last minute JJ’s plans on Wednesday. A little RoundPoint Gamers Club [NERD!] lunch at Holler & Dash yesterday. I feel like I’m starting to be a broken record each week… At least I only went to JJ’s once?
  • Feel: Accomplished. This week I checked off a lot from my to do list. Cleaned the gutters out. Funded a Fifth Third checking account for a promotional offer. Contributed positively to a focus group at work with our CMO. Started a new TV show [Silicon Valley]. Did laundry. And dishes. I’m volunteering with work later this afternoon. Just crushing it!

I’ve got pretty ambitious plans this weekend. My truck needs an oil change. My friend’s having a bowling birthday party Saturday night. But most importantly, I’m going to watch Super Troopers tonight then go see Super Troopers 2 in theaters sometime in the next couple of days.

Happy 4/20 duuuuuude! Blaze up! [Responsibly!] [In a state where it’s legal!]

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1st Quarter Report – 2018

What’s going on, April? How are ya doing? Got a little bit of those showers dialed up to go with those flowers on the way?

Spring time means it’s time to check in on my resolutions.

  • 15 Books:
    • 1Q projection – 3.75
    • 1Q actual – 4
    • I snuck this one in just in the nick of time. I finished up The Girl Who Takes An Eye For An Eye by David Lagercrantz [Hey… shorten your title a bit] and Luckiest Girl Alive by Jessica Knoll in January. I slacked a bit in February. Then wrapped up From The Corner Of His Eye by Dean Koontz and Into The Water by Paula Hawkins in March. The Girl nearly cut out Lisbeth Salander completely, which is disappointing since she’s the spice of those books. Luckiest was a meh “this isn’t autobiographical… but all of this happened to me” book. The Koontz book was really good. Into was decent but Hawkins doubled down on the formula from The Girl On The Train. There were too many characters she swapped between and I couldn’t ever figure out the reason behind which characters were first person and which were third.
  • $5,658.91 Debt:
    • 1Q projection – $1,414.73
    • 1Q actual – $4,347.46
    • Crushed this one pretty good. I had to pay off my $1,000 BoA credit card [and we’ll just overlook that the balance right now is over $1,200]. But I got an unexpected bonus at work that allowed me to back fill my savings a bit and gave me the flexibility to start paying a little more than originally budgeted each month. March was my last month paying for Lucy’s training, so that’s officially off the books going forward. I have $349.54 left with Best Buy, $472.40 with Wayfair, and $489.47 with for Harper’s surgery. So in all honesty, this one may be wrapped up by the next update. Totally ahead of schedule.
  • 4 TV Series:
    • 1Q projection – 1
    • 1Q actual – 3
    • I’m cheating a bit here. I finished up Sons of Anarchy in January but most of the legwork was put in last year. After the Winter Olympics wrapped up though, I canceled cable [again]. So my binge watching has spiked a bit since then. I watched the entire series [three seasons] of The Leftovers on HBO. Each season was vastly different than the previous one but I thought it wound up being excellent. From there, I powered through Eastbound & Down. I love Danny McBride and it definitely delivered on the raunchy, mindless humor. Which I parlayed into Vice Principals, that I’m halfway through.
  • 1 Doctor:
    • 1Q projection – 0.25?
    • 1Q actual – 0?
    • The good news? My right knee healed up on its own after taking some rest from running. The bad news? My left knee started hurting a couple runs after my 4 mile St. Patrick’s Day race. The lazy news? I haven’t found a doctor. Or looked for one. I’ve got time.
  • $3,000 Savings:
    • 1Q projection – $750
    • 1Q actual – $2,687
    • Full disclosure… I started the year at $234.93. But I also wasn’t expecting to win my work fantasy football league. Or earn the aforementioned bonus. So I’ve been able to speed up the amount I’m putting into savings. It’s also given me the leeway to play some of my work competitors. I opened up a checking account at Fifth Third Bank last week because they were running a promotion to earn $200 if you averaged a $500 balance for 60 days. My guess, working for the Marketing department of another bank, is that they have figures to prove 60 days is long enough for people to open an account, fund it, then either forget it or become too lazy to close it. The unfortunate news for them is that I do work in a Marketing department of a bank, have a better savings interest rate at my own bank, but have the flexibility to float $500 for two months, earn a 40% return, then close the account and move it back into my savings account. You live and learn, Fifth Third.
  • 12 Cookies:
    • 1Q projection – 3
    • 1Q actual – 1
    • I’m actually a bit embarrassed about this goal. I gave a shot to a mint chocolate chip recipe towards the end of January that turned out spectacularly. They’ve already been moved into the cookie recipe box for permanent rotation. The problem is that I haven’t baked a thing since then. My next opportunity may be the weekend of the 14th in Clemson for my sister in law’s birthday [and the Spring Game]. I gotta get back on this train!

Stretch Goals:

  • 2.9% Equity:
    • 1Q projection – 0.725%
    • 1Q actual – 0.7%
    • I’m trying to get to 80% total equity in my house and have my mortgage insurance removed. I just made a house payment on Monday to help catch me up a little bit. Frankly, I’m further along than I thought I’d be. I feel like I’m miles away from getting down to 80% equity. But breaking this up by quarters puts it in perspective. Once the majority of my credit card debt is paid off, I may move some of that money over this way to help speed up this process. Then once the MI is gone, I’ll keep my payment the same to roll more money into the principal. I’m going to mess around and get this house paid off in half the time if I’m not careful. Fiscal responsibility! It’s what all the cool kids are doing.
  • 100 Pages:
    • 1Q projection – 25 pages
    • 1Q actual – 0 pages
    • Nothing I’ve read this year has kicked my butt into gear enough to put pen to paper for my 2010 cross country trip. It’s weird how I get this crazy burning desire to write my story when I read travel/hiking memoirs. Fortunately, I have Grandma Gatewood’s Walk, Alone on the Ice, and Kayaking Alone on my bookshelf. One day… I’ll get it done.

Whoa. This year didn’t start in the best of places for me. So it just slipped up on me when writing this entry that I’m actually ahead of schedule on four (books, debt, TV series, and savings) of my eight goals, with another (home equity) where it’s supposed to be. I may have to do a little updating come July 1 if I’m still on the same pace.

How’s your year been? Are those goals coming along nicely? Hopefully, you’re making some progress. And if you’re not, I hope you’re aggressively taking it out on your Easter egg hunting crew.

Everyone needs an outlet.

Happy Easter,  y’all!

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Come To My Senses – March 30

  • Sight: My Nashville/Clemson/#Forever2005 buddy works for a record label in Nashville. But she was in town last night with her artist. So I got to tag along for my first concert of the year! It’s a “ones to watch” up-and-comers show from the local country station with Michael Ray, Jimmie Allen, Jillian Jacqueline, Mitchell Tenpenny, and Trent Harmon.
  • Sound: I’m not NOT going to shout out who I saw last night. So check out Mitchell Tenpenny’s radio single. His voice is so good! I’m in love with this song.
  • I’ve been sober ’cause there ain’t no hangover like you girl
    Baby can you come over?
    I always find those words at the bottom of a hundred proof

  • Taste: Rinse and repeat. JJ’s on Tuesday. JJ’s on Wednesday. Some fast food (Cookout, McDonalds. Don’t hate. But also… why did they get rid of my two cheeseburger meal?!) mixed in between. I made another trip to Holler & Dash for lunch Thursday. Then caught up with Nashville at Midnight Diner after we left the show. Nothing too fancy this week.
  • Feel: Tired, maybe? I’ve always hated going to bed. It doesn’t matter what time I need to get up or have an alarm set for, if it’s before midnight, I fight tooth and nail to find something to do before hopping into bed. But work’s been a little hectic lately. There’s exactly one business day in the month of April that I don’t have some kind of message going out to customers. I enjoy the pressure of deadlines to get things done. But that doesn’t mean I’m not drained either.

Today’s a much needed day off. But it’s all in preparation for a day trip to Raleigh for my cousin’s wedding on Saturday. Then doubling up and hopefully making another day trip to Columbia on Sunday. A lot of road time calls for a lot of podcasts. My Facebook friends pointed me in the direction of NPR’s How I Built This, Gimlet’s Reply All, and Welcome to Night Vale. Any suggestions to add to the mix from the blog crowd?

It’s Easter weekend! So hide yo’ kids, hide yo’ wife, and hide yo’ [eggs] ’cause they rapin’ er’body out here!

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Come To My Senses: March 23

  • Sight: So. Many. Things! I’ve seen Clemson make the NCAA Basketball Tournament for the first time since 2011. Then they beat New Mexico State. Then absolutely dismantled Auburn. They play in the Sweet 16 tonight for the first time since 1997 against Kansas. I’m not expecting much but you never know. I beat Mass Effect Andromeda and Super Hot (those are video games, dweebs!). I also visited Detroit for the first time. Our marketing team had an all hands meeting/Spring Fling, so it was good to hang out, see a new city, formally meet several coworkers in person, and get to party with the group. I would like to go back and do some exploring on my own though!
  • Sound: Last time, Kacey Musgraves had just released two new songs. Coincidentally enough, my girl released ANOTHER single yesterday. And it’s amazing. It’s way less country but way more 80s and lounge-y. The more 80s-influenced music I can get, the better.

    I bet you think you’re first place
    Yeah, someone should give you a ribbon
    And put you in the hall of fame
    For all the games that you think that you’re winning

  • Taste: Last time, I typed about going to JJ’s twice in one week for the first time. Coincidentally enough, I did it again this week. Ain’t nothing ever wrong with some hotdogs. Lunch Roulette last week was Midwood Smokehouse, which I’m always on board with. We celebrated a coworker’s birthday with lunch at Mellow Mushroom and had the worst service I’ve had in a LONG time. Last Friday, the Roulette crew tried Holler & Dash, a new biscuit house. I went with the Chicken. Set. Go, which is fried chicken, pimento cheese, and jalapenos. It was incredible. The older I get, the more I appreciate a good pimento cheese. Then for dinner, my brother swung by for the evening and wanted steak. So we gave Carolina Prime Steakhouse a shot. It looked pretty sketchy but the food was surprisingly good. I will definitely make another trip back.
  • Feel: I’m in an eager mood lately. Yesterday, I caught a break at work. My two marketing partners were out of the office. I am ahead of schedule of the marketing campaigns on my plate. (Side note: I calculated that I’ve done 24 mortgage campaigns this year at work. That’s two a week. For three straight months. I need a breather!) So I spent the afternoon crushing my mile-long inbox. Last weekend, I canceled cable. I ran a 4 mile road race. I mowed, edged, and watered the yard. I’m super close to paying off a lot of my credit card debt. I’ve got hankering to put some work into a website I’ve been meaning to put together for a long time. And I’ve got a 1st Quarter entry to start working on!

It’s my last calm weekend for awhile. I’ve got a wedding next weekend, the Bridge Run the following weekend, and my sister in law’s birthday/Clemson Spring Game the next one. And then we’re halfway through April. Terrifying how quick this year is disappearing.

Enjoy it!

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Come To My Senses: March 2

  • Sight: The Lowe’s Lawn & Garden section. With the recent jump in temperatures around the South, I’ve noticed how much nicer a lot of the lawns around my house look. So I dug out the “fescue maintenance plan” from my closing documents that I have completely neglected for the past year and headed to Lowe’s. I’m now the proud owner of 45 pounds of grass fertilizer/crabgrass prevention pellets, 80 pounds of dolomitic lime, and a seed spreader. Quite possibly the most boring, most adult thing I’ve ever done. Yet another unnecessary, unrecoverable expense that comes with owning a house. But at least my grass will (hopefully) be as green as my neighbors’ yard.
  • Sound: My country girl Kacey Musgraves dropped two new singles off of her upcoming album Golden Hour this past week! I’m not super high on Butterflies. But the second one? Space Cowboy? That song’s on another level. I wish I could adequately convey the way songs like this hit me. Everything about this is on point.

    I know my place
    and it ain’t with you
    Sunsets fade
    and love does too

  • Taste: JJ’s Tuesday because I skipped out on Lunch Roulette (stupid work meetings). Then uh… JJ’s Thursday again? But at least it was March on Thursday. So I can officially say I made it two whole months (… that’s a sixth of a year!…) without going twice in one week. Dinner last night was Jimmy John’s, which I surprisingly had to find near my house. How have I not been since moving to Charlotte? The plan for lunch today is Bang Bang Bites, a slider-centric, pared-down version of Bang Bang Burgers that just opened near the office.
  • Feel: Frustrated. Dating in today’s climate is super obnoxious. And awkward. And forced. Recently went on a first date where the girl mentioned recent ex-boyfriends, how she was the mid-30s single woman with a cat, and how disheartened she was since that hadn’t been her plan. I had another conversation turn south on a dime because I currently have longer hair, I don’t drink, and I don’t regularly attend church. She didn’t ask about my religious beliefs or faith. She asked if I went to church and that was enough to sour the momentum because she “wants to raise her children (that do not exist yet) in a Christian household.” People are impossible.

I think I’m finally cash-flow positive on all of my bills and saving. Naturally, that means it’s time to find something else to blow money on. So the plan is to get my football tickets set up on a payment plan and hopefully narrow down a paint color for my main walls in the living room. May even go a little crazy and buy some prints for my walls.

Goodbye money. Hello weekend.

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