The Die Is Cast (Status Update 2021-09-05)

I quit my job the day before yesterday.

Well, to be more accurate, I quit my job two weeks ago, and yesterday was my last day. It’s been seven years that I’ve worked at this job, doing work I really dislike, and I have at last found a role with another company that will let me get back to designing circuits (something I’ve missed a lot at my current company) and that hopefully won’t involve much compliance paperwork or requirements-writing. I will miss some of my coworkers, but I have to admit, I won’t miss the work at all. A few of them expressed skepticism that I can hate it so much and yet be good at it. Personally, I can’t explain it myself, but the CEO of the company let me know today that he’s been referring to me as “the Arthur Conan Doyle of requirements” (for those who don’t know—and I confess my ignorance: he had to remind me—Arthur Conan Doyle is the creator of Sherlock Holmes, and he disliked how the character’s adventures took time away from his “real” writing and other pursuits). It’s good company to be in, I suppose, but it doesn’t change the fact that every day was a slog to force myself to focus on a task that absolutely won’t do itself without substantial focus and concentration on my part.

But I’m looking forward to the new job. It’s about half the distance as the old one, but the downsides are that I have to be on-site every day and they start at 0700 (ugh). I’ve set my alarm for 0545 and will strive to get up with it when it goes off tomorrow (despite it being a holiday, I need the practice). If all goes well, though, I should get to go back to doing what I enjoy, and it looks like there’ll be opportunity for me to exercise my “jack of all trades” nature: a little electronics, a little firmware, a little requirements (in small doses, they’re not terrible). My boss-to-be is well-versed in a concept I’d never heard of before called Model-Based Systems Engineering, and after picking his brain a bit during the job interview, I’m excited to see it put into practice. I do get the feeling, though, that I’m going to be challenged here and kept on my toes. After years of…not exactly phoning it in, but not really having much challenge in my day-to-day activities, it’s going to be quite the change of pace. Hopefully for the better, but I do worry whether I’ll be able to meet expectations or not.

That’s not all the new news: I bought myself a new (to me) truck after Hank’s (my last truck, named after the King of the Hill character) transmission started going out. I debated fixing the transmission, but I’ve always had the mentality of, “You can fix the little stuff, but if the engine or transmission goes, it’s time for a new vehicle”. And, Hank had a good (hard) 8-year run. I had planned to run him into the ground, and I think I pretty well did. Definitely got my money’s worth. He was a good truck, but at just shy of 200K miles, a broken windshield, a window that sometimes would get stuck for hours or days at a time, a questionable AC, seats with the upholstery ripped and showing the metal frame underneath, and, oh, a transmission on the fritz, he was pretty worn out. So, I bought a 2018 F-150 with a lot of the things I wish I had known I needed when I bought Hank: 4-wheel drive, much more powerful engine (3.5L Ecoboost [twin-turbo]), a backup camera (no more blindly trying to hook up to trailers—because I’m very bad at it), a spray-in bed liner, and a whole bunch of modern amenities. He’s got remote-start, which I didn’t realize was a thing I needed in my life, but…lemme tell ya, it’s pretty awesome being able to start the truck from in the house and have the AC full-on cranking by the time I get out to it, and I’ll be curious to see how it does when it’s cold (not getting into a cold truck and waiting 4 miles for it to heat up? Mm, yes please!). So, it’s been a pleasant experience so far, but I gotta admit, the added horsepower have given me a little bit of a chip on my shoulder. His name is H.S.!, short for “Holy Shit!”, which is something I said a number of times when I hit the accelerator and he literally peeled out. I’ve never had that happen in a car or truck before, and it’s a little surprising to have that much power behind me. (Fun fact: if you put him in 4WD and floor it, he doesn’t peel out, but gosh, you accelerate fast!)

Speaking of the new job and cold (well, winter), the barn is a dark place. Even in broad daylight, the back half of the barn where the animals’ water is is not very well lit. Well, until yesterday, that is. I found some 5500-lumen, screw-in LED bulbs on Amazon and thought, “these could be perfect.” There was an old ceiling box with a ceramic single-bulb fixture on it, so I figured I’d get up there and replace it with a 2-bulb fixture and see if two bulbs could do the job. The answer is a resounding “yes”. I hooked it up in the morning, so I had to wait until last night to check it, but man, I turned the lights on, and it was brighter in there than it used to be in the daytime. I can actually see the bottom of the animals’ water tanks now, which is great. The far extents of the barn are a little shadowy, but I don’t spend much time in those places, and it’s just so much easier to see in there. I am deathly afraid of heights, and being 14 feet in the air on a ladder supported by a rafter that’s creaking and groaning as I haul my fat ass up there is not my idea of a good time, but I’d say it was definitely worth it. Not volunteering to do it again anytime soon, but I’m glad the money and effort were worth it. Also, the switch has a wireless remote that I installed next to the door so I can turn the lights on as I walk in but without having to string an extra 60–100 feet of wire that the animals might could get into. So, definitely time well spent!

And now it’s time to go to the hardware store. I need to get some caulk so I can (finally) seal up my shower. Been meaning to do it for months and haven’t gotten around to it.

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