February 2020 in Review

There are a couple months in the year that I expect to be insanely busy. Late November through December (holidays!), May/June (end of school!), October (October!!). What I don’t expect is for February to be absolutely nuts. February. Normally quiet, no birthdays in my household, only one small holiday, only one school holiday. It’s a month where I tend to recover from my headlong rush into goals in January, heh. No time for that this month, though. February was insanely busy. But also awesome:

  • Feb 1st: 3.8-mile hike on Cibolo Creek with my hiking group AND Jason replaced our back French doors
  • Feb 2nd: Super Bowl Party
  • Feb 8th: Laurence got honored at the rodeo for helping to set up the electricity for the booths AND I hiked 3.5 miles at Eisenhower Park with my group
  • Feb 9th: 3.1-mile hike at Comanche Lookout Park with my group
  • Feb 14th: sold our house AND hiked 3.2 miles with Jason at Eisenhower AND went out for Valentine’s Day
  • Feb 15th: Port Aransas for my cousin’s wedding
  • Feb 16th: wedding festivities part two AND a 2.7-mile walk around Woodlawn Lake with my group after returning to San Antonio
  • Feb 22nd: saw Howl’s Moving Castle in theatre with a friend while Jason took Laurence back to the rodeo (he got free passes for his volunteer work)
  • Feb 23rd: Chocoholic Frolic 5K AND the HPWU Community Day
  • Feb 26th: VOTING!
  • Feb 27th: abdominal ultrasound

And that’s just the events. It was a crazy month!

With as much time as I spent doing other things, I didn’t get a lot read this month. To be honest, I did have several books out from the library from my to-investigate list, and they all went right back to the library as not-for-me. I guess after reading some really brilliant books this year so far, I didn’t want to add any that were just meh. So I ended up reading three books in February: a really good one (A Beginning at the End), a so-so nonfiction (Caffeine), and a re-listen to one of my favorites (Howl’s Moving Castle). I try not to choose rereads as favorites for the month, but I can’t help it this time. Howl is just the best.

Both my career and writing goals were 100% neglected this month. I did work quite a bit on health stuff, which I’ll talk about in my health section below. My other big goal category for the year is finances. There was of course some good progress here. We sold our house, so we no longer have two mortgage payments. With the proceeds of the sale, we were able to pay back any debts accrued from the several months of double-houses. We also got Jason’s annual work bonus and a small tax refund. Those paid off the credit card debt accrued due to unexpected vet and dental bills. They also paid for our May Planniversary vacation up front. Whew! Beyond that, we researched and found a car insurance plan that was more reasonable – our previous one skyrocketed 500% after the boys got licenses, even though one lives in Kansas – which cut down a major bill. And then we rebalanced our monthly budget to include the new circumstances and made a plan to pay off our debt consolidation loan by June 2022 (instead of October 2023). Faster if we put future work bonuses, tax refunds, etc toward it.

Let’s start with the not-so-great stuff. I was tested for autoimmune disorders this month, and came back with all positive indicators and off-the-charts inflammatory markers, but no individual disorders tested positive, so my doctors blew off the rest. Then I learned that I need surgery on my wrist to remove a fibrous ganglion cyst. I also finally received my Lumen this month, a device I backed and purchased on indiegogo 18 months ago, only to discover that 1) it no longer gives the information it promised to give (basil metabolic rate), and 2) it advocates a combination of keto/low-carb diets and carb-cycling, rather than actually testing an individual’s metabolism. Grr.

On the positive side: I did great on my nutrition and fitness this month. Smashed all my 20-20 mini-goals! I ate tons of good fruits and veggies, avoided sugar, only had one glass of alcohol (at the wedding reception, of course!), exercised 20 days for 18:21 total hours, walked/hiked/ran a total of 45.2 miles, started to incorporate more strength-training, and kept my phone off after 9pm almost every night. I also walked/ran a 5K with Jason and smashed my previous 5K times (post-regain), and got a current PR for a one-mile nonstop run a few days later. Sadly, I didn’t get much further on my running goals this month between all the hiking on clear days and the many, many other rain days. But I’ve done some indoor running whenever I turn on old SVU reruns or other junk TV, so that’s good. I also removed gluten from my diet for a big portion of February, as autoimmune disorders tend to be exacerbated by gluten for reasons unknown. Better to be safe than sorry. I’ll admit, I definitely have felt better being off gluten, and each time I caved and ate it again, my throat/nose/sinuses would flare up and I’d feel like I was getting a cold. That seems a clear indicator that I’m doing something right by removing it, yeah? In terms of weight, I lost about 3.5 lbs this month at a slow, steady pace, so I hope this won’t turn out to be part of my normal fluctuation range!

Highlights of February
Of course, the big highlights are listed above – my cousin’s wedding, all those hikes with friends, Howl’s Moving Castle, my 5K, etc. But there were a lot more wonderful things this month that I don’t want to forget!

  • We completed our taxes and actually got a small refund this year. Nothing compared to before the asshat Trump took away credits for having dependents, but at least we don’t have to pay extra like last year!
  • Jason also got a decent bonus at work which helped us pay down our debts.
  • After two months, we finally FINALLY got the keys to our new mailbox!
  • Got to hang out with my longtime friend Nat for the first time in months.
  • After closing on the house, Jason and I used a small amount of the proceeds to upgrade our phones, so now we both have 11s and passed our iPhone 8s down to Ambrose and Laurence, who were still using (very broken) iPhone 6s.
  • Discovered how to make my own small batches of iced coffee to save both on money and on the environment (no more plastic bottles from the store!)
  • Found out we have a gorgeous variety of periwinkle in our new front yard, just started blooming this month
  • Early voting!!! (Even though in the end, my candidate dropped out before the main voting day, so my presidential vote was wasted. Ah well.)
  • That broom-standing stunt. Totally a hoax but so hilarious to punk my boys with it.
  • Jason got me a Choose Your Own Adventure board game for Vday.
  • We also bought together a 52-date-night ideas canister that we plan use each week. We’ve already had our first night, a “luau” involving Hawaiian music, a hula dance lesson, and really delicious virgin daiquiris.
  • Crossing off the first of my running bingo squares!
  • Seeing measurable progress in both my walking and running times this month compared to several months ago
  • Delicious GF treats like blueberry muffins and chocolate cupcakes (I appreciate the companies who make these things so much!)

Coming up in March
Birthday season! Not only was my birthday on the 1st this month, but my stepmom, brother-in-law, youngest son, and both of Jason’s parents have birthdays in March. Laurence and his grandmother actually have theirs on the same day! There’s also spring break this month – always happens the week of Laurence’s birthday, heh – and primary election day, and a whole heck of a lot of planned hikes and 5Ks, and the next Siclovia. So it’s probably going to be another busy month, which will hopefully be just as lovely as February has been!

About Amanda

Agender empty-nester filling my time with cats, books, fitness, and photography. She/they.
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2 Responses to February 2020 in Review

  1. Wow, your February was crazy too! So was mine. I am still trying to recover lol.
    So awesome that you got to pay off a ton of debt.
    I am very clueless about tax laws and such, so I hope this doesn’t sound stupid. Our tax refund has actually doubled in the last couple of years because of our kids… earned income credit or something? I’m not sure. I wonder why yours went DOWN? Is it because my kids are younger than yours maybe? I don’t know how all this works LOL.


    • Amanda says:

      Jason makes too much to qualify for earned income credit, so that doesn’t end up helping us. There used to be a spot to claim deductions, and in addition to the standard deduction, you got a multiplier deduction per dependent (including adults), if your income was less than $150k as a family (ours is well under). The standard deduction doubled, but that’s no help for someone who got the previous standard PLUS an additional $25k in deductions from dependents. This law ONLY penalizes parents (together or single) who make more than EIC allows but less than a pretty high income. It’s great for those who earn more than $150k. Really helping out the people who are struggling, this president… Seriously, though – our refund went from about $6k per year to paying $2k last year and getting $2k back this year. Oy.


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