A New Hobby, Perhaps?

Things have been going pretty well for the last few weeks.  No earth-shattering news or anything like that.  Just the same old song and dance.  Things at work have been pretty good.  I’ve been noticing that my role is definitely in the morphing stages right now.  When I transitioned from one department to the other a couple years ago it was a fairly immediate change with no ‘transition’ time.  In my current ole now, I can feel my responsibilities shifting slowly.  I’ve been a lot more hands-off with things, and am doing more logistics and management than hands-on work.  While I do love doing the hands-on engineering, the group that I’m in doesn’t have much of the engineering work that I thoroughly enjoy – VHDL.  We do a little bit of it, but for the most part it is designing computers.  While all of the work is different, it still seems to follow a similar formula.  The formula isn’t very exciting for me.  The only times that it branches out to something new is with ‘feature creep’.  So, because of that, I’m not terribly bummed out about how my role is shifting.

The more involved that I get with project management and personnel management the more I enjoy it.  Employee development is pretty fun.  I’ve found that now that I have significantly more responsibility and visibility into what is happening, I’m able to delegate tasks more efficiently.  Rather than delegating things away just to clear my plate, I can now delegate responsibilities to help my direct-reports grow in their careers too.  It is a win-win situation.  Over time I can see my role growing and having even more responsibility, and hopefully more personnel.  While I am not sure what the future holds, the experiences that I’m currently getting are pretty fun.  In a few years I can see my group changing up quite a bit, possibly even expanding overseas.  Depending on the situation and circumstances at the time, we might be up for heading abroad for a few years.  Who knows, maybe even more long-term.

I guess the most frustrating part of my role morphing is that I started working here with the goal of doing VHDL.  My group’s interns are starting on Monday for the summer, and there are 1-2 of them who’s projects are related to VHDL.  Because of the broadness of my responsibilities, I do not have the bandwidth to tackle them.  The role that I am currently in is not responsible for that type of development work, which is what I wanted so badly.  Because of that, I’ve been toying with the idea of starting to do consulting again.  But I need to keep it real too.  I did VHDL consulting a few years ago, and it took a lot of my time.  There are so many thing that I want to do with my time, that making more money just isn’t one of them.  Money is necessary, I get that, but it isn’t all that important to me.  So long as we have enough money to survive comfortably, and not have to worry if we have enough in the bank to go to the grocery store, or fill up the vehicle with gas, I don’t care.

For the last several years I’ve been wanting to get a fancy car to drive around in.  The primary reason for this is because I like the car.  No other real reason than that.  I like it, and I want it – pretty simple.  I’ve been pretty realistic about it, and have had the opportunity to go out and get it more than once, but then the practical side of me kicks in and I do the responsible thing.  I’ve been doing the responsible thing so long it seems.  Every once in a while I’ll get the chance to do something not as responsible, and generally there is a consequence.  Usually though, that consequence only affects me, and sometimes Elisabeth.  But after this summer, those consequences could be much further reaching.  I need to try and tone it down a bit, I just do not know how.

Last fall I totaled my second motorcycle.  How is that for luck.  This time it was on the race track, and I was having a blast up until that point.  Just my luck though, right?  A buddy of mine (who was also there when I crashed) went back to the same track this last weekend and also crashed.  The difference?  His bike was just fine.  He was even going faster than I was.  He happened to crash in a corner next to some grass, whereas mine was with rock/dirt.  My bike caught into the ground and flipped and got all mangled.  His just slid and got a little bit scuffed up.  Lucky, eh?  I took it as a sign and have decided that street bikes, while fun, are probably not for me.  I have always preferred 4 wheels to 2 anyway.  The only difference is that with 2 wheels you can have a crazy amount of fun with a lot less money.

Recently, last week to be exact, I’ve discovered something with 4 wheels that is just as fun as racing a motorcycle on a track.  Go karts.  I’m not talking about your little namby-pamby karts either.  I’m talking about real go karts, fast ones.  Last Friday I had the opportunity to go try out a new indoor karting track in our area – it was a blast!  While the karts were electric ones, they weren’t your normal kiddie karts, they were actually pretty quick for such a small track.  Anything much faster wouldn’t work too well on the track.  Because of the size and the speed, the adrenaline was pumping – just as much, if not moreso, than on the motorcycle track.  Why is this?  Four wheels.  You could push the cart as hard as you wanted to, and the worst that would happen?  You’d spin out.  Much worse things happen on a motorcycle when you push it.

Lucky me though, as I was passing someone slower than me, they decided to try and ‘bully’ me in to having me back off.  No sir.  I stuck with it and was about to make the pass, then the unforeseen happened.  The barrier in the track flexed and I essentially came in to contact with a pole/beam that was part of the support structure for the building.  That hurt.  I felt everything from the top of my back to the base of my head snap.  I was dazed for a few seconds afterwards, but then regained my composure and focused back on the race at hand.  Later that same lap I passed the person that didn’t know how to drive properly, and overall did pretty well.  Unfortunately for Elisabeth, I think I might be hooked.

I decided to go to the doctor, and they ended up prescribing me 3 things.  An anti-inflammatory, a muscle relaxant, and no go karts for at least a month.  No joke, that was typed up and printed out on the doctor’s orders!  Because I do value my health, and safety, I am going to follow their instructions.  Believe it or not, I do not like getting hurt; I just like to do things where getting hurt is a real possibility.  So, I had decided to do a little bit of research.  I ended up purchasing some basic neck protection for the track around here, and I’ve decided on my goal track time at the track.  There are a few people at work that have been, and we are going to try and start up a regular meet up at the track and compete against one another.  I’d like to take it a step further though – I want to build my own shifter kart.

I’m doubtful that it will actually happen, but it is one of those on the horizon goals of mine (like buying a fancy schmancy car).  If the F1 track in the area gets a karting organization to host track days there, then I’d be in business.  Otherwise, there wouldn’t be much point to building a shifter kart, other than just building one.  No real place to use it – and that is half the fun right there.  Again, I like 4 wheels.  I want to drive/race things, but I also love to tinker.  This would be perfect if it were to work out, as it isn’t nearly as expensive as the fancy car I’ve been eying for a few years, but much cooler than an RC car.  If it happens that the F1 track only allows cars/motorcycles on it, that is alright too, as I haven’t given up on the fancy car bit.  Another project I’ve been looking at for a little over a year now is building my own sports car.  This would be a bit more expensive than the shifter cart, but still cheaper than the fancy schmancy car I want.  A reasonable compromise, I think.  I definitely would prefer a vehicle with a cage to a go kart, but I’d rather something I could take to a track or similar event as well.  This might just be the solution.

Who knows though.  In seven weeks thing will be considerably different.  Will I give up on my ‘dream’ of doing these things?  No.  But I will re-prioritize them, just as I have for the last few years.  There are definitely more important things than feeling the g-forces on your body and being competitive.  Maybe in a few years I’ll end up doing all of that stuff, but on a much smaller scale.  Maybe, just maybe, my child(ren) will be an adrenaline junkie like myself.  Wouldn’t that be something?

All in all, life is good.  Could things be better?  Yes.  But things could be a whole lot worse.  This summer is going to be quite the wild ride, that is for sure.

One Response to “A New Hobby, Perhaps?”

  1. If you do take up go kart racing, just know your crazy hormonal wife will yell at anybody who thinks go kart racing is kind of like bumper cars and runs into you. And you can’t pretend like you don’t know me, because I’m yelling at them for you. 😉

Leave a Reply