Wednesday, October 09, 2013

United States Government Furlough - Day 1 through 9

One thing about being a government contractor is that, well, you guessed it:  You're susceptible to consequences of the indecisiveness on "Capital Hill" and shear inability of elected Congress members and our President to get their shit together on the tax payer's dime.  In other words:  A U.S. Government shutdown.

I do have to say, at first, it was kind of interesting-yet-cool to be told that you can't come to work until an undetermined day in future, but you're not fired, laid off and you still retain employment.  Anyone in the mid-west or east coast can kind of relate it to getting a 'snow' day from the public school system; it was 'cute' and 'cool' for the first few days, but after that, it starts to wear on you really quick after the reality replaces the shock value --- things like 'homework' aren't going to go away and in the end your school system principal is going to more than likely extend the school remaining school days and/or classes to make up all that 'lost' time.  If you get too many days off, it could cut right into your summer and lengthen your school year clear into June.  Case in point:  It may seem free-and-fun, but it you will ultimately have to make up that time to a certain extent no matter anyway.

As most of us government contractors sit around, burning up their sick time and vacation, hoping for an end date for all of this, at least for me, it's been a good time for self-reflection.  As with most situations that are totally out of your control yet affect you, you really have to shrug it off and stay motivated.  No matter how positive you are about any of this, reality of life is just that:  reality.  My bills, mortgage, groceries, family, kids, expenses, holidays aren't getting a life 'pause' button, and there's only so much you can float before you have to start making some 'big' decisions --- apply for new job?  Leave-without-pay?  Start hitting the savings account?  Get unemployment check?  Find side work?  

I have chosen to not beat myself up about this too much.  I certainly haven't sat on my ass and been pouting --- So this is what I've been up to:

Day 1 (10/1/2013):
 - Came home at 10:30am, said "eff you world"
 - Started up the grill and made myself one HELL of a burger:  Bacon Chedder Burger + Fried egg + Thick Applewood Bacon + Sharp Chedder and Pepperjack cheese
 - Poured myself a Black-and-Tan
 - Laid out in my hammock for a few hours and enjoyed the cool, Fall day
 - Volleyball practice with the 6th grade girls.

Day 2 (10/2/2013):
  - Winterized lawn and put in tree feeder stakes
  - Had lunch with some of my 'furlough' friends from work at Qdoba mexican restaurant

Day 3 (10/3/2013):
 - Changed the oil in the snow blower to get ready for winter
 - Put some of the kids bikes/scooters away
 - Played 'Gyruss' and tried to beat my wife's high score.  Unsuccessful.
 - Had 6th grade volleyball practice and had a heck of a good time watching the girls put together a pre and post game motivational cheer.  Good stuff.  

Day 4 (10/4/2013):
 - Played guitar --- working on a few new tunes I'm acoustic-ifying (pretty sure that isn't a word, but now it is).  Still need to break out the electric, it's been WAY too many months.  
 - Went out with one of my good buddies to Old Chicago --  had wings, pizza, artichoke dip and beers.  Didn't get the shitty waitress we always dread, so it was a good night.

Day 5 (10/5/2013):
 - Played against Sioux Valley in 6th grade Volleyball.  The girls did fantastic, took it down to the 3rd set and pulled out a win.  Very excited and very proud of them as a team.  It's been great coaching them.
 - Stayed at home, picked up the house and did a shitload of dishes.  
 - Hung out with my mom before she she flies out to AZ.

Day 6 (10/6/2013):
 - NFL Football all day.  (This is a repeating event every Sunday --- don't expect much more).  Thank you Peyton Manning yet again (see FFB plug below) 
 - Pulled out a win in a FFB league and lost in another.  Still maintaining a good league ranking of 4th and 2nd.
 - Helped my daughter make a blue whale sculpture for school out of home-made play-dough that we oven baked to harden up.

Day 7 (10/7/2013):
 - Got some more of my 'carpentry skills' on; cut-down and shrunk a kitchen cabinet down by 1/2" in width to fit between a neighbors newly purchased and slightly oversized refrigerator and stove.
 - Played some more guitar --- still rocking the acoustic for some reason.
 - Watched Monday Night Football:  the Atlanta Falcons, yet again, fail to beat someone this year and take a loss to the Jets.  Julio Jones re-breaks his foot.  Might not even get a wildcard into the playoffs.  What's my motivation when even my football team is playing like shit?  Talk about a life crutch being kicked out from under you.

Day 8 (10/8/2013):
 - Played 'Gyruss' and tried to beat my wife's high score.  Still unsuccessful.  Damnit.
 - Started working again on my Python project to automate some OS-level package builds I do at work --- well that it, when I can work.  Regardless of where that effort will be put to use, it's still a challenging coding endeavor.
 - Set up some Halloween/Fall decorations, pumpkins and shit outside.  Looks pretty good.  Still have my Pac-man pumpkin lightup to get set up.
 - Made some home-made pizza on the pizza stone.  The dough turned out awesome.  It was a good eating night for sure.

Day 9 (10/9/2013):
 - Played guitar --- worked on an acoustic solo bit along with the rhythm to Black Label Society - Stillborn.  It's coming together well, but I'm no Zakk Wylde.  Still need to get the damn electric out (LAZY)
 - Picked up a Banana Bread Beer by some company from the local spirits place.  Not too bad --- certainly not something I'd have more than one-in-a-row of.
 - Went over to one of my 'furlough' friend's house, and re-created the bacon cheddar egg-bacon burger from Day 1.  Plus added a jalapeno brat to the plate.  Holy shit.  Very good.
 - Thought I would play 'mechanic' and replace my EGR valve in my truck.  That was a train wreck when my truck started to idle like shit, produce some vacuum issue and stall.  Fixed it, all is right with the universe again.
 - Played 'Gyruss' and tried to beat my wife's high score.  Fail again.  I will concur and shit all over that high score soon.
 - More coding on the remote-build-service project (Python project)
 - Swept some silica sand on the patio to fill in any cracks or musing from bastard ants before winter.