I had a pretty good Christmas, with a large number of thoughtful gifts from my sister and her boyfriend: a pair of snowshoes, some cool OXO cooking whisks, a pizza stone, a John Cleese wine appreciation DVD, some neat clothes (my sis has a great eye for clothes, and I am mature enough to accept such practical gifts now!), and the incredible Guitar Hero game. That game deserves a post of its own…it’s sort of a air-guitar rhythm game, except it comes with a miniature guitar-shaped controller (big enough to strap on!) and you wail to rock classics. It’s awesome! There’s even a functioning whammy bar! From friends, I got my very own copy of 7 Habits of Successful People, Season 3 of The Shield, and the complete Bone Adventures collection in one giant paperback. Hoo!
For food, I cooked up Vegetable Curry over Shake-n-Bake Chicken (it’s not as weird as it sounds), and a Shanghai Red-Cooked Pork Shank. Both were really good, winning accolades from my sister. I gained 5 pounds over the past 3 days, so I’m back to the diet. Another friend gave me 4 gourmet hot sauces “from the Internet” that I have yet to try…we’ll wait for Spring, dudes!
On the down side, my water heater died, so on the last day we had no hot water. I’m getting it replaced tomorrow…money I don’t want to spend at all, but I’m fortunate that I caught it before the tank flooded my basement. I also discovered that the tank had been leaking for a while, and may be the cause of the mildew smell I would catch every so often. Could mold have been the source of my Dad’s mystery allergy? I rediscovered the “joy” of taking a bath out of a pot of water heated on the stove.
On the business side, I’m almost done entering my accounting info into QuickBooks, the popular business accounting package from Intuit. The biggest snag was entering in paid bills and properly crediting them…it was taking hours to enter in just a handful of them, and the “Bill Pay” feature of QuickBooks didn’t strike me as particularly intuitive. Partly this was because my paper filing and record keeping has been rather haphazard, so I’ve had to organize and sort at the same time. The other difficulty has been learning QuickBooks terminology so I know when to use a credit as opposed to a check, or an account transfer as opposed to a check. I think I have it mostly worked out, and for the first time ever I can actually see where all my money has gone, broken down into about a hundred different categories. It was really depressing, but this is exactly what I needed. Tomorrow I’ll start entering current bills to reconcile the active accounts, and I will then be ready for the year. As a bonus, I’ll be ready to start doing my 2005 taxes months ahead of time. That rocks!