Finishing What I Start: The Final Report Card

At the beginning of the year, I gave myself the goal of completing 11 projects in 2011.  I called 2011 The Year of the Completed Project.  Even though there are still a couple of days left in the year, I figured I’d grade myself on my goals.  (F = Nothing done, D = Very little done, C = Some work done, B = A lot of work done, A = Project completed.

1. To Do List Sign – This seemed like an easy plan.  I already had a dry erase board.  All I needed were some hooks to hang i t up.  Easily done by January’s end, right?  Well, unfortunately, the dry erase board is still not up.  I couldn’t quite figure out where to hang it so it’d be visible to me but not a) look horrible on the wall or b) be in reach of the kids.  (Keeping a dry erase To Do list is no use if kids wind up erasing it.)  The boast still sits waiting to be hung and used.  Grade: F

2. Finish My “Packers” Story – This was meant to be finished in October.  I did get some writing done on it.  I now have a "future timeline" for the world mapping it out from the near-present day to the time that the story would take place.  I’ve further fleshed out the factions that would be in conflict in the story, along with their beliefs and motivations.  I also specified some of the individuals along with their motivations and secrets.  I even began writing some of the story.  It, however, remains unfinished.  Grade: B

3.  Math Board Game With NHL – This was to be completed in March.  No work was done on this though.  To be honest, I think he’s outgrown my original concept.  I’m wondering if the entire concept should be scrapped.  Perhaps I should redo it to be an introduction to role playing games where we make up and play monster cards.  We could use the cards we’ve already made and make more.  Still, since no progress was made, I’d give myself an F on this one.

4.  Upstairs Play Room – I actually finished this one (or very nearly did) and since we moved more of their toys up there it’s gotten a bit cluttered again.  Plus, it’s still not the most convenient place to go.  Despite all this, the boys like playing there.  I’d give this a B.

5.  Paint the Door – Didn’t do any of this.  F.

6. Paint the Ceiling – Nope.  Didn’t touch it at all.  Another F.

7. Shred, Shred, Shred – I didn’t shred all of our papers using our shredder, but I did find out about a public shredding day.  I brought a few boxes of papers there (including some stuff from the cleaning of the play room) and they shredded it for me.  We still have more to shred, but it’s just one box (not anywhere close to full) now, not multiple full boxes.  Grade: A

8. Repair Desktop PC – This one’s kind of a cheat.  The dead desktop PC has been moved to our attic, but it turns out that I didn’t need to fix it.  My parents had a space PC that they didn’t need and offered it to us.  I set it up and we now have the ability to do everything our old computer could do.  Well, except print.  It seems that our printer ran out of ink and is so old that they don’t make ink for it anymore.  However, since that wasn’t part of the initial goal, I’m still giving this one an A.

9. How It Works Blog Series – I didn’t do any work on this one.  F.

10. Kids Game Review Blog Series – No work done on this one either.   However, NHL’s turned into quite the gamer so perhaps this is something I could do in the future.  For now, though, it’s an F.

11. The PB Files – I never did any work on this either.  It’s an F for this as well.

All in all, that’s 2 A’s, 2 B’s, and 7 F’s.  Overall grade would be a D.  I didn’t even update my "Finish What I Started" series after awhile.  (Mainly because it would have been a very short blog post: "Still no progress.")

However, besides my 2 completed projects and 2 "significant progress" projects, I did quite a few big freelance projects.  These projects weren’t on my radar when I began the year.  In addition, I conceived of and programmed two Twitter applications: FollowerHQ and Plus Rout.  Therefore, despite the incomplete projects, I’d definitely call this year a success.

Finishing What I Start: Progress Report 2

According to my goals for 2011, my To Do List Whiteboard should have been hung up and I should have published the first of my How It Works blog series.  Yeah… Neither of those has happened.  Lest you think I’ve been lounging around on the couch watching television, I have been hard at work.

First of all, I’ve had a couple of freelance projects that kept me busy.  (One of which was the redesign/rebranding of SimplyCathi’s website to  Freelance work brings in extra money and so gets a bump in priority over blog postings.

Secondly, we’ve been continuing our cleaning of the upstairs playroom.  During my last FWIS update, I mentioned some improvements that needed to be done.  Well, here’s some updates on those:

  • My big desk – We considered disposing of it and buying a new one, but researching desks led us to conclude that we just can’t spend the money on one right now.  Now with other household repairs that need to be done (gutters repaired, ice melting coils installed on the roof, etc).  So my big desk will need to stay.  I did notice something important, though.  Due to the placement of the radiator, the desk was pulled back from the wall.  This made my big desk take up even more room space than it needed to.  We moved it to another (radiator-free) wall and it is taking up less space now.  It’s still a hog, but we can work with it for the time being.
  • Old computer equipment – This has been pushed onto and under the Big Desk for the moment.  The equipment is old, but still workable so I feel bad about just tossing it in the garbage.  Besides, you can’t simply throw this stuff away.  You need to properly recycle old computer equipment.  I’ve been looking into various methods of getting rid of it, like selling it (at a very low price) to local people or giving it away to a charity that might be able to use it.
  • Boxes of old papers to shred – We’ve gone through much of this and realized that a lot of the papers didn’t need to be shredded.  They could simply be ripped and tossed away.  So we went through the boxes and separated out shred items and toss items.  This process isn’t completely done, but it has greatly reduced the amount of papers we need to shred.  (This, by the way, was my Project for August.)
  • Old toys – We cleaned out the play room’s closet and moved most of the old toys there.  It isn’t a permanent solution, but it gets them out of the way so the boys can play in the room.

While the playroom isn’t completely done, I’d say it is about 90% done.  And considering that this was a big item that I didn’t think we would complete until November, I think we’ve made excellent progress.

With our Disney trip coming up, however, I don’t think my March project (complete Math Board Game With NHL) is going to be done on time either.  That’s ok, though.  The due dates were always meant to be flexible guidelines instead of written in stone commandments.

Finishing What I Start: Progress Report 1

According to my goals for 2011, I was supposed to have my To Do List Whiteboard hung up by the end of January.  Well, it’s now February, so how did I do?

Sadly, I must report that the whiteboard remains in its temporary location on the floor.  I couldn’t find the hanging materials I wanted to use at home and repeated snow storms meant that trips out were limited.  This will have to wait awhile longer before it is completed.

Still, January wasn’t a total loss.  One day, I decided to take the boys upstairs.  You might remember that we wanted to turn the upstairs into a play room but it was too crowded with junk.  Well, I had enough space for the boys to play while I cleaned.  Then B joined me and we spent quite some time cleaning.  After taking out a few bags of trash and removing a lot of empty cardboard boxes, I figured out that the mess was more manageable than it first appeared.  By moving the boxes we needed to go through towards the walls, I was able to open up the room a lot more.

We’ve had a few more cleaning sessions and the room still isn’t 100%, but it is extremely more usable now than it was before.  The remaining cleaning seems, in large part, to be:

  • Old computer equipment – I’ll need to go through these and figure out how to store or get rid of it.
  • Boxes of old papers to shred – Too many to do with our own shredder.  We’ll need to wait for a public shredding day and take them there.  Meanwhile, I’m sure we can find some out-of-the-way storage spot.
  • My big desk – Originally, I bought this when I was working from home out of our apartment.  Now, it’s just a space hog when a much smaller desk would do.  Might see if someone would like to buy it, but this would likely have to wait until Spring.  Getting it out will be enough of a pain without dealing with snow/ice during the process.
  • Old toys – There are quite a few toys here that both NHL and JSL have outgrown that are just taking up space.  We’ll need to see if we can donate them somewhere.

The boys have taken a huge liking to this upstairs room and keep asking to go there to play.  I had originally slated this to be completed by November, but, the way things are going and given how in love the boys are with the room, we’ll likely finish much earlier.

Eleven Things I Want To Complete In 2011

Last week, I mentioned that 2011 should be The Year Of The Completed Project for me.  I gave myself until today to come up with a list of projects that I haven’t completed over the years that I will complete by the end of 2011.  Given that this year is Two Thousand and Eleven (and that completing over two thousand items isn’t realistic), I figured that I’d limit my list to 11 items.  Here they are in no particular order along with how I plan to complete them and when I plan to complete them by.  I’m going to try to schedule things so that no two tasks are assigned the same completion month.  They can be completed early, but I don’t want to overload myself to the point that I drop one or more of the tasks again.

1. To Do List Sign – I would often be asked by B to do something only to forget about it later on.  To better remind myself, I purchased a dry erase board and some magnets.  The idea was to superglue the magnets to the back of the board and stick the board on our refrigerator.  Unfortunately, the magnets were far too weak for the job.  Plan B was to hang the board on the kitchen wall.  I have the perfect spot picked out and know just what I need to do… Except I never seem to get around to it.

This is an easy task.  All I need to do is buy some hooks (the kind that don’t leave marks on the walls when you remove them) and hang the frame.  I’m pretty sure we even have the hooks somewhere in the house.  I plan to complete this by the end of January.

2. Finish My “Packers” Story – No, this isn’t a story about a football team from Green Bay, but a science fiction story that I’ve had in my head for over a decade now.  I wrote it out once but was unhappy with the result and planned on rewriting it.  The entire world is mapped out in my head along with conflicts and everything.  I began rewriting it last year but then stopped writing for some reason.

I plan to pick up the writing again and finish it bit by bit over the course of the year.  I’m not sure when I’ll finish but I figure I’ll shoot for October.

3.  Math Board Game With NHL – Last year, I won the Geek Dad book.  Of the geeky projects contained inside, I selected a board game to do with NHL.  We planned it out, made the appropriate purchases and wrote out the cards.  When it came time to make the actual board for the game, though, my initial plan of printing out the board, coloring it in and gluing it down didn’t work out.  I postponed completion time after time until it just faded into the “I’ll do someday” pile.  There was a brief revival when, during one of NHL’s swim lessons, I was struck by the idea of making it a purely card-based game.  Instead of walking around a board, you would draw “terrain cards” that would have certain effects.  These terrain cards never left my notebook, though.

I will spend a few nights here and there with NHL, writing out these cards.  This shouldn’t take more than a few months so I’ll shoot for this to be completed in March.

4.  Upstairs Play Room – When NHL was a baby, we loved going upstairs to let him romp.  The room upstairs was quite big and allowed him more movement.  Plus, in these pre-wireless laptop days, this was where our computers were so we could go online.  At some point, the room became more and more cluttered with old toys and playtime there became less and less of a possibility.  We keep meaning to clean it up, and indeed have spent time up there cleaning, but we never seem to finish.

This project isn’t going to be an easy one.  There are old toys that we should get rid of as the boys have both outgrown them as well as old computer equipment that I need to deal with.  I won’t be able to do this alone, either.  There will be items that only B will know what to do with.  Plus, cleaning time is limited.  We can’t let the boys go up there without it being cleaned up a bit more and we can’t clean up there while the boys are unsupervised downstairs.  I can go up there a few nights a week to tidy things up, though.  Once that’s done, perhaps we can spend a few Saturdays up there letting the boys play in one section while we clean up another.  I’m going to put a long end-date on this to give us plenty of cleaning time.  Let’s say November.

5.  Paint the Door – When we were preparing our house for move-in, we painted all of the rooms.  While painting the door, I noticed that the existing paint was coming off.  I peeled some off, intending to smooth over that area and re-paint it.  But more and more came off.  I stopped when a good chunk of the door was de-painted, intending to come back and finish it up.  You can guess what happened.

This is a task that wouldn’t take long to complete.  Perhaps a day’s work.  Still, it is probably best left for the warmer weather when the boys can be occupied playing outside instead of getting close to any paint cans (or paint chips that may/may not have lead in them).  I’ll give this a completion time of July.

6. Paint the Ceiling – Along the same lines as #5, we had cracking paint in the ceiling of our dining room.  It got so bad that a big hunk of paint was drooping down.  It irritated me so much that I went up there with a blade and sliced it off.  One problem solved, it seemed, but now we had a big bare spot on our dining room ceiling.

As with the door, this would be best attempted during the spring/summer.  I’ll give this a completion time of June to position it near the door’s completion time.  (I could probably accomplish both in one day, actually, but I’ll consider them two separate jobs.)

7. Shred, Shred, Shred – As a victim of ID theft, I’m careful about what I throw out.  Anything with my personal information, signature, etc gets saved to be shredded.  There are just a couple of problems.  The first is that the shredder is quite loud.  This means that I can’t really shred papers when the kids are asleep.  The second problem is that the shredder tends to jam if you shred too much and don’t let it cool down.  The influx of to-shred-papers and lack of shredding time has led to a backlog.  I would need to set some time aside to shred these papers little by little until my backlog is gone.  I could probably complete this sometime in August.

8. Repair Desktop PC – A few months back, our desktop PC died.  The hard drive just went kaput.  Luckily, I had long ago backed up our data to an external hard drive.  However, that PC had performed vital services.  We used it as a file server, print server, and a base of operations to scan photos or documents.  Getting this PC back up and running would entail buying a new hard drive and reinstalling operating system.  This shouldn’t be too hard, but I was considering moving that PC to Linux.  I’ve always wanted to learn Linux and this seems like a golden opportunity.  Given the Linux learning curve (which could be nearly-nothing or could be steep), I’ll put this down as to be completed in May.

9. How It Works Blog Series – Back during BlogHer, Amy of Amiable Life gave me an idea for a series of blog posts.  I would take a technical subject like “How Does The Internet Work” and break it down so that it would be easy for people with a non-technical background to understand.  I had made the graphics for the first one but needed to do some voice over work for it.  Since this would be an open ended series of blog posts, I’m not sure how many there would be.  Thus, I’ll only put a completion date on the first post.  I can get the first one done by February.

10. Kids Game Review Blog Series – Last year, I noticed that NHL was playing a few video games.  Not a ton, mind you, but a few.  This got me to thinking that I should do a regular video game review blog series.  I would focus on how good the game was for children and might even include video reviews.  I’ve done posts along these lines for Math Rider (both a regular post and video review) and Mater’s Tall Tales for the Wii (again, regular and video reviews).  Still, there wasn’t any formulized blog post series.  Like the last item, an open ended blog post series isn’t going to have a real end date, so I’ll just put a deadline on the first post in the series: April.

11. The PB Files – Last year, I received a box of peanut butter from Peanut Butter & Co.  There wasn’t any expectation of reviews or blog posts, but I decided to do a series anyway.  Thus, the PB Files was born.  I completed six of the eight posts, but never did the last two.  Unfortunately, peanut butter isn’t so great on my weight loss plan.  So this will have to wait for a bit.  I should be able to get them done by September, though.

And there you have it.  My 11 projects in 2011.  Some are big and will take a lot of time and some aren’t so big.  Still, by the time the year is out, I should have a few less items on the old “Never Been Completed” pile.

Aloha Friday: Incomplete

On Wednesday, I wrote about my plan to complete some previously incomplete tasks in 2011 and how I plan on finishing them.  Today it is your turn.

My Aloha Friday question for today is: What tasks did you leave incomplete in 2010 (or previous years) that you would love to complete in 2011?

Also, make sure you enter my Eden Fantasys $50 gift card giveaway

Thanks to Kailani at An Island Life for starting this fun for Friday. Please be sure to head over to her blog to say hello and sign the McLinky there if you are participating.

Aloha Friday by Kailani at An Island Life

Aloha #69

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