Monthly Archives: May 2019

Careful What You Wish For

At the beginning of this year, I wrote an entry about how I wanted more projects in my life.  How I wanted to create things.  So far, mission accomplished.

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We finished our shelves down stairs.  They turned out pretty great I think.  We’ve already run out of room, but I have no regrets, as this was about as big as those shelves could fit in there.

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After that I started tearing into the Wrangler, which is still up on jack stands in the garage.  I have the feeling this is either going to end up being an easier… or much harder project than I have anticipated, but since the Wrangler is a bit of a toy, it’s been put on the back burner as we fired up all sorts of other things after it got started.

The biggest one has been the new floor, which has been pretty well documented on my Twitter feed @kartmaster.  I’ve helped putting down flooring like this before.  That snap together stuff.  But I’ve never been the dude in charge before so it was a bit intimidating.  Mostly because if I screw it up we have to live in it and look at it every day.

Sometimes people will say to me things like, “You should do that for other people and make some money.”  Here’s the thing.  This took me like a month… working after work.  Taking a day off when I just didn’t feel like it.  Getting mad.  Nah.  There’s a reason people pay other people to get this done.  And if I were to fall one way or the other from the DIY fulcrum, it would definitely be the customer side.

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We also sold the Cutlass and the red Jeep here this year too!  I’ll got into some more detail about the emotions behind all that in another post, but selling things like that is work.  I hate selling stuff, putting up with the people.  Wasting your time on the flakes.  But it’s done and I feel pretty good about how it all ended up.

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Selling those led to getting a truck.  I’ve never really needed a truck especially since we got the trailer.  Almost everything we’d need to do could be hauled around there.  But when we started riding ATVs, and as Luke gets older and we’re looking at getting a gas powered one for him, logistically it is going to be a lot easier to put his ATV in the truck, and the other two on the trailer.  Even with his little power wheels one now, loading up is a two person job to get Andrea’s beast turned sideways on the trailer.  So I’m looking forward to spending more time riding, and less time loading!

Of course days after buying the truck I was already diving into a project there.  On the test drive, I knew right away the first thing I would have to fix was going to be the seat.  It would slide around as you were driving like you were sitting on marbles.  It lead to feeling really not in control, haha.  “How hard could it be!?”  Turns out, actually, for once, not that hard.  I cobbled together some scrap pieces from around the shop, built some new bushings, put it all back together and it works great.

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I’m thankful to be able to do these sorts of things.  Thankful for Youtube mostly.  No matter what my problem, I’m NEVER the first person to have it and there’s almost always an ingenious way to fix it that I never would have thought of myself.  I’m thankful to have a wife like Andrea that trusts me to take these things on.  She used to ask me, “Are you sure we can handle something like that?” back in the day when I’d bring up a project.  Now she knows that… it may not go like we planned, but we’ll figure it out.

To be honest though, I’m ready for a break from some projects for a while.  I’m ready to get out and play.  We haven’t been riding at all this year except on the dirt roads around the house.  I have tools and piles of wood, or tires, or supplies everywhere.  I need to return to a normal resting state of existence for a while.  Careful what you wish for I guess.

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My Love Letter to the Switch

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I still remember back to that moment that I got hooked on Nintendo.  I was 6 years old, we were visiting one of my Mom’s friends that lived on Avenue C in Dodge City.  The boy that lived there had an NES in his room, and we were playing Super Mario Bros.  I couldn’t believe there was this whole world to explore inside the TV!

Eventually we got our own NES at home, and I could play whenever I wanted.  Except when I had to go to school, or to the store with Mom, or to Grandma’s house, or any time anyone else wanted to watch anything at all on the TV.  In the 90’s the Gameboy was a thing, but the experiences were always so much more limited that you still kinda wished you were playing NES.  Now, exactly 30 years later, my dream is finally realized.

As I’ve grown up, gaming has waxed and waned as one of my great passions in life.  How I remember being a 15, hopelessly a slave to the N64… Mario Kart 64 Time Trials, GoldenEye Fests, 120 Star runs in Super Mario 64.  Then I said to myself, “No matter what happens, no matter how old I get, gaming will always be important to me.”  It brought me so much joy, it really did, that it was hard to imagine life without it.

That is life though, isn’t it?  Right when you think you can’t be any more happy, or any more miserable for that matter, life shows you a whole new level of it you never thought existed.  The hard part is I think we as humans have a tendency to throw ourselves at whatever the new shiny is.  At times to the extent of saying that nothing that has come before could possibly compare to what we have now.  And by extension, that what we had before must be “crap”.  I don’t know why we do these things.  We get rid of things we treasure because we are convinced that something newer is better, we will mistreat the people we love in order to win the love of new people who are basically strangers.

I don’t think that’s a fair way to treat ourselves.  It’s not fair to look at all of your past choices as mistakes or shortcomings, because of something new that you never saw coming ended up happening.

When I got that NES back in 1988…  It was wonderful.  Beautiful.  And that is an experience that I don’t feel like should be diminished because experiences now are so much richer and complex.  To extrapolate, that the feeling of holding that gold Ocarina of Time cartridge in my hand for the first time isn’t an experience I shouldn’t value, because how could it possibly compare to the birth of my children.

Unequal and valid.

So far the Switch has been becoming this common point that so many of the things that bring me joy intersect on.  It’s a place where I can play 2 player Super Mario Bros. with Lucas.  I can team up with Andrea in Rocket League.  Re-live the cookyness of Final Fantasy X-2.  I can play Ice Hockey with Dad in a hotel room.  I can re-visit old places from Ocarina of Time in Breath of the Wild.

But that’s not the best of what the Switch brings to my life.  Switch makes gaming fit into the nooks and crannies of life.  Switch doesn’t make me choose it as the most important thing.  It’s the master key that magically takes the shape of whatever you need it to be.  If I have 5 minutes before work, an hour over lunch, a 6 hour window on the weekend.  In the living room, in the car, at my desk.  It can find a way to fit, without having to push aside family, responsibility, or any of those other adult realities of life.

This “adult life” though is up to you what you make it.  You could let your responsibilities carry you away without having a choice, or live life completely to your own whims to the detriment of those around you.  Contentment is a bit of a moving target that always exists somewhere between those two extremes.  And I’m thankful that all along that spectrum, the Switch is always available to keep a part of me that brings me joy near.