December 31, 2018: Wrapping Up a Very Hard Year

Monday and the end of 2018, what a year it has been. This year has definitely been one of the hardest and most stressful of my life. I am going to be glad to see this year behind me. It has been an interesting year, to say the least. Nothing like what we had expected going into it. As I go back and work on SGL updates to get caught up, it really highlights what a wild year it was. Unfortunately much of this year isn’t stuff that I can really discuss in my journal, at least not for some time. And it was the first year, in the nineteen years that I have been journalling, that I have really gotten behind. There was so much stress, and so many things that could not be discussed publicly, that it really left me struggling to write about things. So I got further and further behind.

Big events of 2018 include starting off the year not having been paid for my 2017 job and then having the company flee the country to make sure that they would never have to pay me. So that was a rough start knowing that the money I’d earned from half a year of work was just gone and there was no way to ever collect. So that was pretty bad, and hit us at the end of January. But we had led into the year knowing that there had been about three years of “not getting paid” that had been accumulating (which is what had prompted me to take the risky foreign job in the first place.)

Then in March, Paul moved down and joined the company. So we had a new roommate and the company changed a lot. By early April, we knew what we had long feared, that most of the money that had come through the company had “disappeared” and that we had been lied to for years about customers paying and specifically my work earning money. Everything was gone. Three years of me work, just gone. Money that we had been told over and over again was coming, but just sometime in the future, we now know had arrived and been spent. My personal income, all diverted and vanished. Everything. So that was really rough. Two massive financial hits, or at least the confirmation that our worst fears of both had come true, within just a few months of each other. And then the incredibly emotional impact of finding out that close friends had done it, and had maliciously claimed to not be getting paid either to make us emotionally weak to make it easier to do it, too. It was just an emotionally, as well as financially, crippling set of events.

So that was our first four months of the year. That pretty much consumed us. Then the next four months were really just dealing with, internalizing, and overcoming the disasters that had been thrown at us. Which we did, and by the end of the year, things were looking way better. Finances are really tight, and are going to be tight for a long time to come. But tight isn’t the same as zero (or negative.) For the past three years we’ve been actually paying to work and to be taken advantage of! That’s how bad it got. That’s over. And the silver lining is that we found out that the company is actually healthy and a good, working business model. That was a surprise after years of being told it wasn’t working and wasn’t making money and that customers didn’t pay. So some very good things coming out of it all. And we got to start really hiring by summer, and we now have so many people and locations that we were told were not going to work for the last five years (yes, five years of blocking good hires!) We have new people in Dallas, Mexico, Panama, etc. We have a great new team, great new locations, and a company that is making it!

Of course, the same stress causing SGL posting to take a break put my YouTube channel, SAMIT, on hold, too. That was really rough. I had high hopes for it this year. My plan is to be back at that quickly in 2019. It had so much potential.

This was one tough year, and last year was pretty rough, too. But we are ending 2018 way, way stronger than we went into it. We hit bottom, financially, but recovered and have a great trajectory for the coming year. And are doing so with much healthier people in our lives.

This morning I had to be up at seven thirty. I showered and ran out the door to drive over to the airport to pick up Paul who was getting in from Minneapolis this morning. His flight got in at eight, but he had checked luggage so had to wait for that.

Maggie started network cabling work at her home today. In Panama the walls are thick concrete so running CAT6 between rooms is no trivial matter. She is getting the cable from their firewall run into her “office” so that she can wire up her new desk phone.

It was a surprisingly busy morning. Since I had sent everyone home (although a few people accidentally “came to work” this morning anyway) it was just me covering for both us and our partner’s shops. So I was pretty busy.

Paul assembled the new fire pit or stove for the atrium today and went out and burned some of the card board that we have piling up. It’s just a cheap little unit, but it burns the card board that we need to make go away and it puts out a bit of heat so is going to help a lot with warming up the atrium.

I had my weekly meeting at one in the afternoon, which made things even busier, trying to work around a scheduled phone conference.

By two the day got pretty slow and by three there was really nothing going on and I even sent home the folks working for our partner company, so I wrapped up the day handling coverage alone for two companies.

At four, Paul was getting pretty hungry so we decided to go out for a New Year’s Eve dinner. We went to a new Chinese Buffet that we’d never been to or even heard of before, Wei Buffet. It took some work to find it even though it was only a few blocks from the house. It was hidden behind a plaza that we’ve never been in. It is part of the ever expanding K-Town area that has now moved from being just a small community exclusively north of the PGB to now being solidly established south of it, too.

The food was okay. Paul liked it more than I did. The selection was good and interesting. This was not a restaurant catering to westerners whatsoever, this seemed pretty authentic, which is likely why I didn’t like it as much. More authentic, but less catered to my native tastes. I’m sure the quality was all excellent. It was not busy at all, not surprising given the day and time, which doesn’t help buffets any. The buffet had some good and interesting squid dishes and they made some pineapple shrimp that was quite good.

I finished watching what Hulu has of The Orville this afternoon. And I have to say, while it is sometimes really goofy, it is actually quite a bit more serious than Star Trek is most of the time. Star Trek is shot is a more serious manner, but they avoid hard topics and never address the incredible racism promoted by the prime directive and just ignore the biggest ethical dilemma of the show. The Orville takes that stuff on, peppered with really goofy stuff, and so while it is more disjointed, it is also the more mature show and more morally aware.

I made a two cup batch of simple syrup tonight to refill my bar container. Now I am a real bartender, making my own ingredients.

Paul went to bed before seven thirty. I wasn’t that tired so looked for something else to watch since I was up alone and I found that Hulu has The DaVinci Code which I have never seen. It was a really long movie, almost two and a half hours. And so slow, and pretty boring. And Tom Hanks’ hair in it was so bad as to be completely distracting. But the movie was acceptable. Several top notch actors, but the overall pacing was bad and the story was bland and predictable. At least now I have seen it.

I thought about watching something else after that, it was just eleven o’clock. But I was tired and there was no logical reason to stay awake. I was in bed by eleven thirty. I wished Dominica and the girls a Happy New Year and was kept awake by revelers outside that were so close and so loud that I almost thought that they were inside of the house. Liesl and Luciana were in Houston playing a game of Clue with their cousins. Ciana, Liesl, and Dominica all texted me in the minutes before midnight. (And in the morning I got to see the girls on Madeline’s Snapchat stories, I could even see Luciana missing because she was off talking to me while everyone else was dancing around.) I was fast asleep by five after midnight.