2018 – Year in Review

Wow – 2018 was an amazing mix of WHAT JUST HAPPENED?

We started the year in style, Roaring 20s style, with some amazing friends and a double blackjack on a split on double aces.  That should have been my sign that everything great was going to come in twos this year…

In 2018 we:

  • Bought & Sold our house – moved and didn’t
  • Renovated the basement for the second time
  • Celebrated the 40th birthday of a most extraordinary guy with two of our favorite people
  • Took 2 extraordinary vacations
  • Changed jobs… again

The House

So…. The house.

Many of you may remember that the housing market jumped in our area last spring and house values nearly doubled in our neighborhood.  

In April we rushed to prep the house for sale, working around the clock for over a week to clean, patch, and pack 75% of our stuff in a pod to send away.  We did such an amazing job that we almost didn’t want to leave…

Our plan was to sell the house and preform the much needed structural repairs on  the basement as part of the transfer of ownership.  Then, we’d take the remaining equity and buy another home together.

Unfortunately, the needed repairs scared the buyers away and we were left wondering how to make the most of the situation.  Remember, being self employed, I was not able to refinance the house and leverage the equity.

Enter luck.  

Because Chris was already living in the house, I was legally allowed to gift him the equity. That meant he could buy MY house and we could make the necessary repairs without actually moving out.

So in October, Chris became a home owner and I became a construction foreman. 

Between October 5th and … well about 3 days ago… we brought a construction team to:

  • remove the paneling and dropped ceilings (everything finished) in the basement
  • remove the deck
  • dig a trench around the exterior of the house all the way to the footer
  • push the walls back into plumb (as close as they could)
  • Structurally reinforce three of the 4 walls with steel beams
  • Waterproof the basement from the outside including new drainage to the street 
  • remove and replace the driveway and sidewalks
  • install a concrete patio
  • replace basement windows and door

Once the structure was sound we were able to came back through (thanks SOOOO much to my Dad for the help) and re-finish the basement.  We opted for a more industrial feel because it is cheaper and faster to paint concrete and have exposed beams than it is to drywall 100% of a room.

We officially love it…

In the end, we moved 75% of our stuff out of the house, either to show it or renovate it. the other 25% got moved from place to place to make the house more “marketable.” We have donated so much stuff to charity that we could probably open our own Thrift store!

We rebuilt about 70% of the the house, from the ground up and we are pretty sure we will NEVER move.


Two big (but not really) changes for Chris this year – a milestone birthday and a new job… again.

The big four – oh

In May we had the fantastic opportunity to host Tom & Rachael and celebrate Chris turning 40 in style.  We toured Cincinnati and enjoyed a fantastic dinner at our favorite winery. We laughed and drank and toasted and laughed some more.

Chloe decided Uncle Tom and Aunt Rachael were so cool that she should maybe go home with them.  She packed a few her favorite toys in Rachael’s suitcase and sat patiently by their door lest they try to leave without her.

Image may contain: 3 people, including Rachael Barnoski and Chris Barnoski, people smiling, drink and indoor

His work world

woah – this one is a biggie.

You may remember that Christ left Taft in November 2017 after a 9 year run to join Western & Southern.  At Taft he had learned a very unique skill in configuring a program called Service Now.  Service Now is used by LOTS of large organizations to manage IT requests and information.  THE Ohio State uses it to manage student requests for access, resources and IT information.

When he joined Western Southern he was quickly identified as a critical asset and was asked to work on projects with the top development team.  He was also asked to train new programmers coming on board.  

Because Service Now is a “hot” program, not many people know it and being a specialist means the recruiters have been pounding on the door since the summer.

In November, Chris was presented with an offer too good to pass up and on December 31 he will start his new position as Senior Engineer with GE.  Needless to say we never thought this is where we would be.

Two job changes in two years.  If you know Chris, you know it isn’t his style to move from a secure position to something unknown.  It’s just that this job is so very right and so very deserved.


This year we enjoyed two really amazing vacations:

New York City in June – where we stayed in a 3rd floor walk up apartment in Harlem and walked Manhattan for 7 days.  It was FANTASTIC.   By the time we left, Chris was looking at job openings in the city. Be. Still. My. Heart.

I firmly believe that this trip is where he started to respect his skill in Service Now (there are a LOT of job openings and only a few candidates, even in NYC) and started seriously considering a move.

Our favorite part of the trip was … everything.  Drinking wine on the square in front of the Flat Iron building; watching the huge variety of people; exploring all the sights and sounds – everything was amazing.

Gatlinburg in October with the boys in an amazing Chalet.  The boys and I have been to the Smoky’s more times than we can count, but never in the fall and Chris has never been at all.  Since we love to hike and generally explore, we decided to take a long weekend and share the waterfalls and walks in the woods. 

Sadly, our favorite accommodations (Carrs) is still rebuilding fromt he fire in 2016 so we had to find alternate lodging.  We opted to stay in a chalet on the side of the mountain overlooking town because morning coffee and evening wine on a deck like that was one thing I knew he would love. 

We hiked and drove and looked and toured.  We took Chris to the Chimney picnic area and taught him to rock hop the mountain way.  I am pretty sure he fell in love a second time and was looking for “remote” work opportunities by the time we came home.

Gatlinburg was peaceful to balance the bustle of the NYC vacation.

Each trip was amazingly special in it’s own way.  I know our future holds many more adventures.  I am excited to see where we end up next…

So much more happened in 2018, maybe next year I’ll document it better or maybe you’ll follow us on our journeys on social media.  I hope our paths cross and that 2019 brings you more joy than any year before it.

With Love

May you feel the thrill of adventure, the charge of passion and the serenity that comes from knowing that it is all exactly what it should be.

About Mandy

I love to dance, enjoy a glass of wine, ski and even run and work out. I enjoy spending time doing anything fun I can find to do. Explore and enjoy! My personal statement on my birthday last year... I promise to live, laugh and love. I know it will hurt sometimes, but I will no longer hide myself from things out of fear. Instead I will face them, and even embrace them as they will inevitably make me stronger. I will love, even where there may be no prospect of the return of love. I will laugh instead of cry. I will live, truly LIVE in the world I have around me, making sure to experience new things and people whenever possible. I will stop and smell the roses. I will let go of things that are not critical to life and will relax my expectations of the world. https://www.findingcenter.me/about-us/about-mandy-short-version/

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