In short, it was another great year with only a few hiccups along the way. This post is not restricted to motorcycles only. I don’t do these every year, at least not this formally. I did one for 2010 but never published it. Not sure why. [EDIT: Found it. Published.–FJ}
- I don’t generally talk about my personal life, but I started dating again in the Spring, truly putting my last girlfriend behind me once and for all (after having about 9 months off). Met some unique characters but ended up finding someone I’d like to keep around for a while. Nothing super serious. Distance is a bit of an issue at 230 miles. But so far it’s worth it.
- Purchased another Triumph Bonneville America, and although it is a good thing it was for a bad reason (see below). The specs and story are detailed elsewhere, but in short, it’s a great bike. It runs really good, it’s rock solid and gets great mileage. I christened it “Reboot,” as it is the same exact bike as my first America, right down to the original color.
- Finally found the “right deal” on a Triumph Rocket III. I’ve wanted one badly since they debuted in 2005, but was unwilling to sell my original Bonneville America to get one and either my health and/or financial goals always seemed to get in the way.
- Paid off my last credit card. It is quite seriously a weight lifted from my very soul if there is such a thing. I was on track to pay it off in a year or so anyway, but a generous gift from my dad accelerated that process nicely. I have my mortgage and school loan left to be debt free, the latter due to be paid off in 5 years, though I plan to accelerate that as soon as my house is done. I’m somewhat ambivalent about the school loan since I’ve already paid most of the interest. Still, I’m sick of keeping it around like a pet.
- After a couple “issues” late last year, the tankless water heater went in January. It has been a bit of an adjustment but overall I think it’s worth it. Eventually I may add small point-of-use water heaters in my kitchen and bathroom to help with the extra lag in flow. I don’t like standing there for 20+ seconds just to rinse out coffee mug.
- Very late in the year, finally started my bathroom remodel. Work will spill into 2012. The tub was replaced with a shower, the subflooring replaced and a new toilet and floor tile were installed before New Years Eve. The new vanity, sink, faucet fixtures, paint, trim and tile above the shower are slated to be done close to the end of January.
- I inherited BonnevilleAmerica.com, lock, stock and barrel, and migrated it to my ISP successfully. That was followed by a complete redesign of the homepage using WordPress and the “usual” process I use for my side business clients. It hasn’t all been wine and roses, however. Again see below. But the member’s patience and generosity during the process has been exemplary.
- A couple of great trips related to motorcycles. The Southwest Triumph Festival (my second attendance) in Prescott, AZ, and the Kootenay RAT Raid (my 7th) in Nelson, BC. I say ‘motorcycle related’ because I only rode my bike to one of them, the latter. But saw lots of great friends, many of whom I’d only known online until then.
- I still have a job.
- Sold my 1994 VW Golf to a friend in Billings. Thankfully it’s still running, so any new problems crop up on a car that old are the new owner’s problem.
- No major (new) health issues. Had a gall bladder scare but the surgeon talked me out of it. My close friends and family have stayed healthy, for the most part.
- Late last year I started seeing a chiropractor for the first time, and continue through the first half of this year. Seemed to help quite a bit but if you don’t keep up with it the benefits don’t last.
- My freelance consulting business keeps going at a low hum. At some point I streamlined my business site, pretty much reducing it to just the homepage. Added a few new clients:
- Started donating my time to Splashes of Joy, Inc., in the capacity of Technical and Social Media Advisor to the executive board.
- Created a site for Old Miners Dining Club, which I liken to a reincarnation of the old version of the Marysville House, a formerly legendary restaurant in the mountains near Helena.
- Created a site for Mind Body Spirit, provider of yoga, meditation and massage services.
- I continue to support several existing clients.
- One of my dogs died, Tobi, my chow-malmute. She was 14 and died in her sleep in the middle of the night. Poor Sammy, my 15 YO black lab/blue-healer mix can’t quite figure out what to do with himself.
- I was without a running motorcycle for the Triumph event in Prescott, AZ, in late May. Bollox was dead (see below) and Reboot hadn’t arrived in time. So I drove down to Arizona and rented a Harley. When I talk shit about Harley I’m usually referring to the riders, the RUBs, the posers and the yuppies. But this Heritage Softail was a POS. I’ve heard the dyna-based models are much better and I really, really hope so, but I won’t be buying one any lifetime soon. I’m not in it for the lifestyle, I’m in it to grind pegs in the corners.
- Aside from the few mentioned above, I haven’t developed much in the way of new business with my freelance consulting. Most of my efforts outside the day job focused on BonnevilleAmerica.com and a few prospective clients that I had leads on didn’t actually materialize.
- Speaking of BonnevilleAmerica.com, the forum software has really needed an upgrade for a few years. The software I inherited is cludgey and hard to work with. I purchased a different software package but haven’t had the time or motivation to get it migrated over.
- Two of my debit cards (info, not the phyiscal cards) were stolen. The first in June, went to Alberta, Canada, charging up almost $900. The second just before Christmas, went to Iowa, charging up $500. I caught the first one when I got an email alert on my phone that my overdraft protection had been activated. The bank caught the second one and called me. Both were handled cleanly and efficiently by each bank, and the biggest inconvience was waiting for replacement cards. From now on I will not use a debit card if it has to leave my hands. I will use my one credit card for almost all purchases from now on.
- My first bike, my 2002 Bonneville America christened “Bollox,” has been suffering multiple electrical problems since it died on me of Fall of 2010 in Washington. A couple friends with more electrical knowledge than I helped with a few of the problems this year but the bike basically succumbed to it’s issues, causing me to purchase “Reboot.”
So, considering the only thing I put in the ugly category is a dead motorcycle, it was a pretty good year. I didn’t put the death of my dog in the ugly category because she was old, slowing down, deaf and arthiritic. Her passing was inevitable, though it did hit me harder than I expected. I have no idea what it will take to fix the bike. I’ve already replaced most of the typical electrical components that cause these problems. I fear my only solution, if I want to get it running again, will to be to leave it with the dealership in Spokane, along with my Visa card, or rewire the sucker from scratch…
The Year in Cities
The rules: In a nutshell name every city you’ve slept in this year (nod). In no particular order. Go.
- East Helena, MT
- Thompson Falls, MT
- Billings, MT
- Missoula, MT
- Glendive, MT
- Forsyth, MT
- Miles City, MT
- Havre, MT
- Great Falls, MT
- Livingston, MT
- North Salt Lake, UT
- Can’t remember on the way down to Prescott, AZ, in Utah…probably Springville.
- Prescott, AZ
- Trail, BC
- Nelson, BC
I traveled quite a bit across the state of Montana this year. Biggest surprise? The eastern half (which I’d never visited before) was not completely desolate. Wouldn’t want to live there, but it’s pretty in its own right. Of course, that was right after the torrential ongoing Spring rains…
[I wrote this originally about a year ago. Not quite sure why I didn't publish it. Perhaps I briefly discovered an aversion for self-indulgence. We'll never know (probably just because it was unfinished). I'm going to date this for the beginning of 2011, just to maintain the integrity of my mindset and the blog timeline. --FJ, 01/03/2012]
Standard disclaimers apply. This isn’t really for you. It’s for me. My memory is going to shit. I’m losing some of my hypervigilance for remembering facts, dates and places.
More of the same. No new hospital visits like 2009. Still fat. Still have sleep apnea. Etc. Etc.
Nothing has really changed with family. Parents are healthy if not happy. That’s about it.
Late Spring I finally decided to break up with Sherri. Actually, I had decided probably a year prior, but finally pulled the trigger. At the time she was on a trip to Vegas with her daughter so I managed to wait until after that. I can’t point to any one thing, just a lot of little things, being nibbled to death by mosquitoes. Immediately I felt lighter. Freer. I think I’m just not meant to be in a committed relationship. I’m not willing to compromise or change my lifestyle in a significant manner. And relationships are nothing if not an exercise in compromise. Of course, a wise man once said, “If you have to compromise you’re with the wrong person.” Enough said.
I half-heartedly reentered the online dating scene late Summer but other than making a few new friends not much has come out of it. Frankly, I’m pretty ambivalent. Maybe it’s too soon, I don’t know.
Big progress. Mid-year I decided to refinance when I learned interest rates were a full two points lower (4%) than my previous mortgage. I took that opportunity to delete the PMI and take some money out to kick-start the remodel. This lead to a mad scramble to prep my house for the appraisal. Luckily they valued the house at what it will be when finished and it all went off without a hitch. In December I had a new furnace installed in the crawlspace (netting me a very nice tax credit for the year) and added central A/C. I’d ordered a tankless water heater around the same time but when I unpacked it just after the first of the year I found that it was damaged, necessitating it’s return and replacement.
My day job was firing on all thrusters all year. New projects, new roles, new responsibilities. I’m loving it, and it’s a far cry from the furlough in 2009. Not sure what the future holds but 2010 was an awesome ride.
Design Solutions Business
I pretty much crushed it on the side business, having one of my best years yet. I rechristened my business “John Bedard Web Solutions” and worked with some really good clients. Hair Hair Salon and Spa, Davis Homes, Dennis Loveless, Stratevative, East Helena Volunteer Fire Department, etc. Not a bad apple in the bunch. I also continued my relationships with prior clients like Women’s Leadership Network and Dan Ellison, Helena City Commission.
The Shelby Dakota had been serving me quite well, but late in the year I decided I wanted an upgrade, nothing new and nothing too expensive. When I found a 2003 Chrysler 300M, high highway miles but meticulously cared for, with the right price, I jumped. A far cry from the truck or old Volkswagens, this thing is a dream to drive. I’ll likely be selling the VW Golf in 2011.
In the Fall I offered to become an administrator for the site, since for all intents and purposes there was none. Not long after that I contacted the owner of the site and offered to take it over. He agreed and we started that process, which had not been completed by the end of the year.
Unfinished. Peruse my blog posts…
Wrap it up, Friar
Overall a great year. I’m probably supposed to say the breakup was painful, but it really wasn’t. Probably makes me a dick. I can live with that.