I was glancing around my blog and noticed I had written a post at the end of 2016 talking about 10 Things I’m Looking Forward to in 2017, and thought, how close have I come or how far have I strayed from those things? Rather than wait til the end of the year, I thought I’d track my progress and see where things are as we reach the last third of 2017.
1) The End of a Long Fucking Chapter. As you saw in yesterday’s post, we have made it official. Paperwork is on it’s way to release the last 4 frozen embryos to medical research, and our full focus is on our domestic adoption. We are still very nervous after the 2 year wait with Ethiopia ended with the program closing and a five-digit financial loss for us because of that, but are doing our best to hope for the best.
2) Celebrating Five Years in Business. Done! Now in my sixth year, I’ve been thinking about what I want to do with my business name, as I’ve never felt a big connection to Imprint PDX and the honest truth is, people know me by my name – Aimee – in the community, not by my sole proprietorship company name. So with that, this year I changed my business website to simply my name, and just recently decided that at the end of the year, I will drop Imprint PDX completely and my company will simply be ME – Aimee Levens Consulting, covering my recruiting and career services and also encompassing the fact that the longer I’m in business, the more I’ve been asked by companies outside of PDX to help them with their needs (not to mention my numerous out-of-town (and sometimes international) coaching clients. Yay!
3) The Citizenship Application Process Begins for my Husband! Just two months until we can send in Dan’s paperwork to apply for naturalization. Problem is, it’s been 10 months since we sent in his paperwork to remove his conditions from his green card (you get your first green card as “conditional” which lasts for 2 years, then you apply to have those conditions removed to make it long term, supplying further proof that you are indeed here in the US legitimately – work/marriage/etc.), and looking at the USCIS website this week, they are still 14 months behind in processing these particular applications. So with that, they can’t process his citizenship paperwork until they’ve finished the green card status update/conditions removal. What’s the problem with this beyond the obvious? The clusterfuck that air travel would be because his green card shows as expired. Technically we have the paperwork acknowledging the process and showing that they extended it for ONE year, but come October, what the fuck are we going to do if that extension expires? Here’s the deal, though: Homeland Security is dealing with #45 bullshit executive order requiring interviews for simple employment visa adjustments for 100K+ visa holders, and with that, “A DHS official…said the new policy may be expanded to include other populations, such as students and green-card holders, that do not currently require interviews to change status. The increase could expand the number of interviews conducted to more than a million a year…Greg Chen, director of government relations for the American Immigration Lawyers Association, said that kind of expansion would be “disastrous for the economy and the country.” The agency simply doesn’t have the infrastructure or personnel to interview one million people each year, and overnight American businesses and families would experience enormous delays for every kind of immigration visa or green cards.” So needless to say we are very, very nervous as to what that will mean. Will they process his extension so he can apply for citizenship? Will they process it in time so he doesn’t lose his eligibility to work in the US (or extend it another year because of their internal delays)? Or, worst case, will he lose his eligibility to work and therefore be unable to work and we lose both his income and our healthcare benefits, not to mention his great new promotion? I’m trying not to vomit as I write this. Let’s hope things work themselves out. When he came to this country, we were thrilled at the LACK of bureaucracy we were dealing with and how much quicker it took for processing because of President Obama’s actions to improve and streamline processes.
4) Celebrating Six Years Since We Connected + Three Years Since We Got Hitched!
The best thing about our years together are that we are stronger as a couple. I love this man more each day and am so grateful for our journey and where we are headed.
5) Discovering My Strength. ‘Nuff said, right? Who knew when I wrote the post in December that the worst wasn’t over yet. I am grateful for my PT who has shown so much empathy while helping me get stronger and reminded me that in the race, I need to be the tortoise, not the hare.
6) Finding New Ways to Contribute in my Community. Sadly, because of my health issues (not to mention a ridiculously busy first half of the year for my business – a good thing but prohibitive with community work), I’ve been extremely limited in my ability to volunteer as I used to. Because of this, I have strengthened my voice in the professional community, calling out issues on LinkedIn with articles and comments to get people thinking, encourage accountability, and call out hateful, bigoted behavior. As a woman in tech and other white-male-dominated industries, I’ve witnessed discrimination for years, both blatant and subtle, first-hand and my biggest focus professionally has been in finding ways to articulate problems with executives that I consult with, along with proposing ways for them to consider changing their path. It doesn’t always work, but I’ve always believed that if I at least put it out there, there’s a chance someone might listen – even if the change doesn’t happen right away. The best part? The notes I get from others thanking me – today for example, I got a note from a tech colleague in my network saying “I love to see you publicly calling bullshit on LinkedIn articles.” Yay!
7) Learning a new skill. Or two. Heck yeah ! This year we focused on our homesteading skills, harvesting honey for the first time, expanding our hive, and following Dan’s lead in making my very own batch of bacon. Next up, my husband is going to teach me how to propagate herbs and other plants in our garden – something he is great at but that I have yet to learn.
8) Taking a solo trip. Not yet – I’d love to, but financially it’s low priority. Hopefully this winter, we’ll see… I could definitely use it.
9) Getting the mortgage down to 5 digits. Done! Totally awesome, and it’s also allowed us to lock in a HELOC at 2.99% to use when we find our perfect piece of dirt to build on in 2018. Noice!
10) Build More Things. We built the duck coop and run – woo hoo!!!! Big appreciation for repurposed 2×4’s and 4×4’s, donated galvanized steel for the roof, 36 cent stick on tile, hardware cloth, and the champion staplegun that made it happen 🙂 In addition to that, we built a new kitchen table AND a new coffee table, both from repurposed materials and both that are so much more functional and lovely than their predecessors!
With this, I’m happy that most of these goals have been achieved, and know what I have to focus on. Me.
What a concept!