Ch-ch-ch-ch-changes [in the Realms Automotive, Educational, & Professional]!

So aggregating a couple of new and exciting things over about a month’s span into one post:

1) Automotive.  This is going to be very shocking to those of you who have known me for a while… but after a great deal of consideration, I realized I was stressing far too much about the possibility of my beloved VW having a part go bad on me while traveling far again (as happened to me back in March).  The car has been a wonderful teaching and learning tool, as it has all sorts of peculiar problems which come with age and also with an over-engineered German approach to different driving needs.  It has also gotten me through all sorts of HORRIBLE weather and terrain, over my roving travels to New England and the South.  But I am not able to dedicate the time needed to keep it going, any longer, as I have started classes (see below)… so I have decided to pass this majestic chariot onto a new owner:

B4 ad

As a related concern, while the Subaru is an extremely reliable vehicle in all weather and more terrain than the FWD Passat was… it also clocks in at 25mpg each and every tank of fuel.  Which is typical of most American cars around town, but not sufficient for my long distance trip desires.

Thusly… I went and wrangled myself a 2015 Chevy Cruze turbodiesel:

In all its glory

In all its glory

I got this $27,000 brand new car for $22,500, at 2% interest.  I am very, very pleased with having gotten away with such a steal of a final price.  I guess what I am saying is: don’t play poker with me!

This little car will also clock in around 50mpg on the highway like my Passat, but is more than double the horsepower and torque… so it MOVES.  I am very, very pleased with my purchase, and look forward to hundreds of thousands of miles of efficient rocketship driving in the non-winter months (while the Subaru stays in service as my salt car).

A LOT of work, but the new car has a newly cleaned garage space for it.

A LOT of work, but the new car has a newly cleaned garage space for it.

2) Educational.  As of two weeks ago today, I started a Master of Management degree from Harvard Extension School.  In short, I will be able to do the vast majority of a masters degree from Harvard online.  I will have to travel out to Cambridge 4 times over the degree for 3 day, intensive course weekends in person, but otherwise shall get to do the degree from the comfort of my own home.  I love the Extension School philosophically, as it aims to both make Harvard accessible to those who cannot be there, but (arguably more importantly) to the local citizens of Cambridge who wouldn’t be able to get into a Harvard college.  Anyone can start taking classes, but you have to do very well in a certain set of core classes to be admitted to a program.  The coat of arms for the school prominently features a pair of bushels of wheat, as in spite of the ravages of the Great Depression, the school was determined to keep the cost of a course on par with the cost of two bushels of wheat.  It does cost a bit more than that per class these days, but they do try and keep the cost down, to keep it affordable so people can take a class they’re interested in, regardless of their means!

So, although in many ways I was/am burnt out on classes, I think a large part of that stems from the sitting in person for coursework which generally wasn’t to my liking, and the commuting and costs involved.  It is my sincere hope that being able to do most of these courses from home, on a for-profit subject (which is the opposite of pretty much everything else I have formally studied thus far), and only doing part time courses, that I will have a really great educational experience.  I will aim for the Master of Management degree, with an associated pair of certificates: in Non-Profit Management, and Corporate Sustainability.  More on this as it develops!!

Been a while since I added to an educational file tree within my towering pile of files

Been a while since I added to an educational file tree within my towering pile of files

3) Professional.  It has been a month now since the swap, but I have actually moved to the warehouse at work.  I really enjoyed what I did in Sales Operations, solving the abstract problems that no one else knew the arcane system options to fix.  I was also dying from sitting all day every day.  I was exhausted when I got home, and while I often thought a lot to do my job, which was tiring, I was more tired than was reasonable for sitting all day.  So, I did a 4 week project in the bins portion of the warehouse back in May.  I really enjoyed that experience, and tried to seek out a hybrid role at work (4 days a week in the office and 1 in the warehouse; or 3 and 2).  There is not really such a role, and so I was offered the possibility of moving out to parcel shipping as a staff member.  I did a test day of this, enjoyed it, and decided to make the move on out! I have lost more than 12 lbs in 5 weeks of being in shipping, which is an awesome side effect of my daily job; I have also really enjoyed the camaraderie of the Shipping department.  We do not get any say in how much work comes down the line from all the other departments, and so we have to work together extremely effectively as a team spread over a large physical area to make our huge goals a reality – and we do it on a daily basis.  It is a really great group of people to work with, and I have really enjoyed my move out to the warehouse thus far.  I am excited to see where this takes me at McMaster!

A photo from a couple of months ago during a warehouse project I did in the bins... but the sweating, non-breathing durable long sleeve shirt, and gym shorts are all standard issue in my life at this point!

A photo from a couple of months ago during a warehouse project I did in the bins… but the sweating, non-breathing durable long sleeve shirt, and gym shorts are all standard issue in my life at this point!

Finally, I am not just doing new things, of course – the good old Subaru continues to get projects and work done, from rust removal to upgraded armoring and bolstering components, I am serious about this little car lasting for years to come!!

Rear sway bar, rear differential armor, all sorts of rust-scrubbing

Rear sway bar, rear differential armor, all sorts of rust-scrubbing

Skid plate for under the engine = roads truly not required

Skid plate for under the engine = roads truly not required

So, an exciting set of weeks behind me – and I am honestly in the best year of my life, thus far, so I have high hopes for exciting weeks and months to come.  Stay tuned!!

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