So, A Lot Has Happened Recently

Yep. I know it’s cliché for a blogger to say “sorry for not posting so much!” but really… it’s been hectic lately. Let’s run down the list!

First, I got a new job. Same company but a different location, new boss, mo’ money, etc. It’s much more interesting than what I was previously doing, and it came with some other perks as well. I’ve been spending a lot of time transitioning to my new office and my new role. I also work longer hours but it’s offset with “flex time” so I’m pretty happy there too.

The only downside is that since the new job is in the city, I wasn’t too comfortable riding my motorcycle to work every day. When I commuted 50 miles a day into desolate, swampy south-central Florida it wasn’t a big deal because there wasn’t ever any traffic and about 95% of the drive was on divided highways. The new job is a much shorter commute but it’s stop-and-go traffic through some congested roads. That’s not good for motorcycle safety. So I bought a car.

And, since I’ve mentioned it before, I didn’t get a new car. Although I did think about it! I was in the Honda dealership about to buy a Fit when a particular manufacturing detail caught my eye and caused me to abandon my pursuits. Let’s just say that I’m worried that Honda is going to have the same problems that Volkswagen has in North America, but that’s a topic for another post. Hint: it has nothing to do with diesel.

So I bought a Mercedes. And not just any Mercedes: A 31-year-old turbo diesel. I picked it up for about what my down payment would have been on the Honda, but it did take me about three weeks’ worth of work to get it running again. It had been sitting unloved for about four years, so almost every day when I came home from work I’d open the hood and twist bolts until the sun set. I’ll be writing a little bit more about this soon, since I’m a big proponent of buying antique cars as a way to save money.

And yes, I do have my Volkswagen still, but it seems to have decided that now would be a really good time to blow out its rear main seal. I’ll have to drop the engine to fix that but sometimes old cars take some coaxing to get back on the road. I’m not particularly upset about it because I know it comes with the territory of owning an older car. Plus, I don’t consider the Beetle reliable transportation; it’s a fun project that keeps my engineering brain sharp that I could sell at any time for essentially the amount of money I have in it. It’s win-win for me!

Oh, and I did sell my Yamaha motorcycle, so that went to offset the cost of the Mercedes a little bit. I got it essentially for free when I bought my house, so I’m chalking that up as a win too.

Speaking of the house, though, I started doing some repairs to my detached garage… which quickly turned in to more work than I was expecting. So that’s been going on too.

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This was what was holding up my roof. Sort of. You come across things like this when your house was built in the 40s and you live in a really wet area with lots of termites.

Let’s sum up. New job, still writing for a few blogs on the side, mowing a few lawns in the neighborhood on the other side, new old car that needed fixing to I could get to work without fearing for my life, old old car needing major repairs, garage in shambles. Oh yeah: my first priority regardless of all of my projects is generally to get to the beach and surf if the waves are up. And the past three weeks we got epic surf from Hurricane Joaquin. And I do not use the word epic lightly.

It was like this for three weeks. That’s unheard of for South Florida, especially since we’re still in the rainy season. And my bike got stolen too. Aww! So there’s been a lot on my plate, but I’m back now!

Photo: Not your grandmother’s car, but close. 

Links for Saturday, 5/16/15!

If I find interesting things throughout the week, I’ll go ahead and share them! Other people sometimes have great things to say.

Let’s Chat About Simplifying by Joshua Fields Millburn, The Minimalists. For me, The Minimalists are the face of minimalism, and give the most concise and clear reasons for why minimalism is a good thing and how to work it into your life. Basically, identify which things add value to your life, even if those “things” aren’t things at all. Get rid of everything else. This radio interview is a great intro to minimalism if you haven’t heard of it before, but also gets into some nuanced views on the movement.

21 Surprising Statistics That Reveal How Much Stuff We Actually Own by Joshua Becker, Becoming Minimalist. I’m an engineer, and as such can really appreciate using numbers to drive a point home. Joshua points out 21 facts that show us exactly what is has been going on with our stuff.

Why I Gave Up a $95,000 Job to Move to the Caribbean and Scoop Ice Cream by Noelle Hancock, Esquire. Noelle explains that you don’t have to have a busy life crammed with a career and lots of stuff to live a happy life. After all, at that point, what are you living for? Noelle basically turned her entire life into the vacation she was always dreaming about in snowy New York, and seems to be the better for it.

Is Buying Better than Renting? by Mr. Frugalwoods, Frugalwoods. I recently did some research on my own blog post about home ownership, and this was one of the most objective takes on the issue I found. Which side do you find yourself on? Is it the side you want?

Bonus! What I’m listening to this week:

Photo: I went to Santa Cruz, California to surf a month ago. It’s beautiful!