This silly hobby used to be pure fun. 10-15 years ago, before marriage, mortgages, and fatherhood. I spent an average of 250 nights a year in the garage, tinkering, fiddling, and learning to fabricate stuff (poorly). All those nights really added up to little more than an education and social time, because nowadays, 5-10 nights could mean a lot more stuff gets done than a year of evenings when I had no skills and a lot less tools. The evolution of the car hobby for me has cut out most of the wrenching time, tinkering time, and cruise nights, and replaces those with a few select days of pure fun at the racetrack. A lot more fun-per-hour is crammed into a lot less time, as life gets in the way of hobbies for myself, just like anyone else. My cruise nights, drag strip nights, and most of my track days got replaced with Running and organizing the track days or racing a few times a year.
The balancing act of life can sometimes get a bit difficult. I'm a pretty motivated guy, and I do a lot of things. I work full time, plus overtime every week, sometimes a lot of overtime. I also, stupidly, always have a project around the house. In the last 4 years i've fully remodedled our 1800 square foot brick ranch in the suburbs of Chicago, in my "off" time (most of it between 6 PM and Midnight). Then we had a kid. WOW did that make it interesting. My racecar needs some little things done, but i've been trying to take some time off of actually being in the garage, to spend some time with my wife and young daughter.
I Figure I can get all the things I need to do done, eventually. Sometimes they just dont happen quickly though, as that little kid needs to play, and someone has to play with her. I'd like to be in the garage doing stuff, right now, but that'd wake her up, so I'm quietly writing an article. Things change a lot when you have a kid, as everyone says. I always heard that said by my friends and thought "yeah, sure. whatever" ... but things really do change. Priorities are obviously different, and the evening in the garage isnt as fun if you pass up an evening with the family to do it.. now its pretty much just quick thrash-projects right before a race event (or AT the event) that seem to get done..
I've been thinking of the best way to organize my "TO DO " project lists, and I think I'm going to cover a wall in the garage with a giant dry erase board. My "TO DO" list isnt short, and those boards offer such gratification when you can erase a project off the list. It used to be theraputic for me to be in the shop, doing stuff, fabricating, maintaining the race car, or just bumbling around checking stuff over, prepping it for the next event. Now I'm just more tired all the time, and its almost more gratifying to sit down and write and article or research the idea that is lurking around in my head. There is always an idea for something. Lately its been headers. I've REALLY been overdosing on header technology and theory. Previously brain-cram research projects have been Lifts for garages, hardwood flooring for the house, cabinetry, lighting for the kitchen, new brakes for the racecar, outdoor lighting for the sophits in the house, Cummins swaps into Ford trucks, landscaping, etc. The big top-of-mind project gets the morning-coffee-time reading, and the pre-bed reading, and the spare minute thinking during the day. All those projects got done, somehow... and there are more, as always.
This site, and the podcast we do have been fun projects, and we are really looking forward to where they are going to go. We have high hopes, but the reality is we just need to keep working on these things, everyday, and see what happens. The biggest projects in the history of the world had to start somewhere, and these projects (this website and the podcast) need constant new content, and that is the fun part. If anyone reading this wants to contribute, email us, we'd love to have you or your ideas! If we didnt have so many back-logged shows, and new SEMA content, I'd be boreing you all to tears on the podcast with the plans I have for header-testing and the race prep I need to do, as I hope to race in Atlanta in 27 days. I'll be running the car in its current configuration , with full exhaust and the "bundle of snakes" 4-1 header, as I will likely only be part-way through the fab work on my new stuff by then, and its also a busy time of year with the day job, and family.
I guess the point of this editorial is that, as winter approaches over much of the country, dont just come home from work and wrap up in a blanket and be lazy. Keep showing up to life every day, and try to balance all the things you have to do with the things you want to do. For me, lately, the balance point keeps moving, and its making me nuts, but if I keep trying, and keep smiling, eventually all the tasks will happen, hopefully before the new ones arrive, and in the meantime, I'll get to play with the kid a little too.
Thanks for reading my current brain dump. Try to balance the requirements of your life, and still get some time in the seat steering something around a track or a course. Now stop surfing the internet and go finish your car.