Thursday, October 17, 2013

Notes on a Shutdown

As most of you know, I work for the federal government.  At least I do again - today I was allowed to go back to work after I was furloughed on October 1, because the government could not appropriate funds to keep the government running.  So for 16 days, 12 work days, I sat at home.

It would be nice to say that I did something fun - I have a few friends who managed to get away for some vacation - but that wasn't an option for the Brave Astronaut Clan - LBA and SoBA had school and Mrs. BA is not a federal employee, she's paid out of a Trust Fund revenue stream - so she went to work, every day.

So what did I do with my time?  My days started with taking LBA and SoBA to school and then bringing Mrs. BA to the metro so she could go off to work.  That put me back at the launchpad by 8:15am.  Gone are the days when I would stay home from school sick and I would set myself up in front of the TV with a diet of game shows in the morning and then maybe Barnaby Jones or Jim Rockford to keep me company in the afternoon. Luckily, The West Wing is available on Netflix Streaming, so I watch several of those episodes, naturally starting with "Shutdown."

As we were looking at reduced income while furloughed, we decided to pull LBA and SoBA out of aftercare at school - so I picked them up at the end of their school day.  Then school was in session at the launchpad - and the former teacher in me supervised homework for the third grader and kindergartener.  I had planned to volunteer some time at their school - but that didn't happen.

I did some records management for the church men's club for which I serve as Secretary and for the pool.  I learned a lot about the pool going through the records - it was rather interesting.  I had planned to work on the Brave Astronaut's archives, too, but I didn't get there.

I went to the grocery store more than I normally do - which is usually on Sundays.  As a result, I cooked more - making dinner almost every night - no eating out during a furlough situation.  I went back to my youth, making meatloaf, my mother's mac and cheese, roasting a chicken, making the big meals that I can't usually do when arriving home at 6:00pm.  I also ran some errands here and there - one of the first days, I was in Home Depot at 8:30 and had my pick of employees to help me, which never happens on the weekends.  When I moved on the grocery store, I think there were more employees than customers in the store.

During this week, as the shutdown stretched on, I decided to do some serious cleaning of the house.  I intended to work on one room each day, but wanted to focus on places that were hiding things, like my desk and then Mrs. BA and my closet.  That's as far as I got with that - when the shutdown ended.

We did also do some entertaining - holding a "Furlough Friday" Pizza/Movie on the first Friday then a "Furlough Monday on the Columbus Day Holiday this past Monday.  We invited several of our friends who were also furloughed and had a good time as usual.  I went out to lunch with a few friends who were also furloughed - we decided we needed the intellectual stimulation and collegial conversation.  And of course, there was drinking, I'm waiting to hear of some poor government worker who tries to sue the government for their alcoholic problem they didn't have before this started.

Looking back, I would have taken more naps (I overheard a colleague say to our supervisor today that he had been taking a nap at 1:00 and hoped that would be OK), I would have gone to the movies or played some golf.  I didn't accomplish a great deal with my time off - I often found myself thinking, "well I can't do that - I'm going back to work soon."  It was a very strange two weeks, I may have also been a little depressed - my sister called me every day to check on me - and I thank her for looking out for me.  It was a very strange feeling - it wasn't like I had lost my job - I knew where it was, I just wasn't allowed to do it or go to it.

I also want to thank my father, who sent me a little something to help us bridge the gap in income.  It was much appreciated and helped immensely and offered peace of mind to both Mrs. BA and me.

So we're back to work.  At least until this funding deal expires . . . in January.

1 comment:

Anna van Schurman said...

much like my last 4.5 years. couldn't really do anything because of the money problems. nothing but time. I feel you. glad you're back. hopefully these bastards can work something out. what we all need to do is lobby for changes to how voting districts are assigned.