Many of you are friends with me (Joe) on Facebook, so you've already been seeing my posts over there, but I wanted to let the rest of you know that I have a newish website/blog that has been up and running since 11/14/2012. It's over at www.jwexperience.com and is where I make my primary non-Facebook Internet presence felt. I don't have a ton of posts up, even after seven months, but I'm working to correct that.
The site is definitely a personal site in many ways, and I am using it to share reviews of books I've read, mini-articles I've written, and reflections on life, but I'm also building it into a platform for my writing career. That career is slowly building, with five co-author credits currently in print and a sixth one hopefully coming out this year, as well as several solo projects in various stages of development. I'm not sure if I will get a story published this year or not, though that has been my goal. The more up-to-date information on my progress will be found at my site, as well as my Facebook author page, http://www.facebook.com/joewestbrookauthor. Come around to both, become a fan/follower, and you'll be forever in the know (a position you've wanted all your life).
Beyond blogging and writing news, it's exciting to share that I've been back on the evening shift since June 18th after roughly three months of working overnights. The overnight schedule isn't the awful monster that a lot of people make it out to be, but it's not ideal when you have a little one in the house and your spouse thus has to be on a different schedule than you. In order to get the necessary sleep, I was making use of our spare room and guest bed for the duration, a setup neither Abi nor I particularly enjoyed. Leaving early from my last overnight shift and catching a quick nap did wonders to help me switch back, and in just two weeks I've felt such a difference in my energy levels. We are quite thankful for me having a job at all, so a temporary less-than-desirable schedule wasn't the worst we could have endured.
Financially we continue to hammer down our debts, this month getting our total down below $40,000. We've paid off almost $9,000 this year alone, which is quite an accomplishment! I'm hoping to maintain or even increase the pace for the rest of the year. We've been helped along by a student loan repayment program through work that is covering $5,000 in increments of $192.80 paid every two weeks; this payment schedule will run through next March. I'd like to receive at least that much when I apply again this fall, though the maximum annual allotment of $10,000 would sound even better.
There is a strong possibility that I could hit day shift hours even sometime this year by taking a position to train as a replacement for one of my coworkers that will be retiring by the end of next June at the latest. The hours would be 8-4:30 with roughly one weekend in five, which would be 7-3:30. The way everyone talks, the position is basically mine if I want it and depends primarily on when they get it posted. What we see as the primary benefit is the ability to get together with friends in town pretty much any evening of the week, even if just for an hour or two, and thus create and maintain a greater degree of connection with people, something we have sorely lacked and greatly desired ever since we got married.
That's all for now. Stay tuned for further updates on the homefront!