Thursday, October 3, 2013

A Roller Coaster Week

roll·er coast·er noun \ˈrō-lər-ˌkō-stər, ˈrō-lē-ˌkō-\
: a ride at an amusement park which is like a small, open train with tracks that are high off the ground and that have sharp curves and steep hills, greatly enjoyed by me and my daughter.

: a situation or experience that involves sudden and extreme changes, such as what my favorite sports teams, including teams from Pittsburgh, namely the Penguins, Steelers, and Pirates, put me through on a regular basis.

: working for the Federal Government.

: a metaphor for my life.  Example:  This week.

Whew!  This has been one heckuva week!


Monday was a nice, normal day, back when, you know, I actually was ALLOWED to work.  Then came Tuesday...


Tuesday was the big shutdown.  Our elected officials decided that, since they didn't want to let the opposing side to get their way, they would rather see the FEDERAL GOVERNMENT shut itself down, meaning all "non-essential" Federal workers were forbidden to go to work (including me) by law.

I spent the day watching TV and doing things around the house.  Like laundry.  And relaxing.  May as well make the best of the situation, you know?


One bit of news that I found humorous at first, then got me angry, was the story about a group of World War II veterans who were in town to see the WWII Memorial in DC.  Since the government was shut down, and the memorial is under the jurisdiction of the National Park Service, a part of the government, it was closed.  A group of Senators (the same people who shut down the government) who heard the story went to the memorial and began to harass the poor park service employees to open the memorial to this group of veterans, and when the park service employees wouldn't do it, since they were only doing their job, which was to keep the memorial closed because, you know, the government is shut down, the Senators pushed away the barricades to allow the veterans in to see the memorial.  When the press showed up, the Senators took the opportunity to make themselves look like heroes who swept in to help these poor veterans from the evil park service who was keeping them from seeing the memorial.  The Senators couldn't even see the irony in what they were doing!


Tuesday afternoon, I heard from my boss.  Turns out she was an essential employee, and was working.  She was rounding up the troops because there were things that needed to be done at work that are essential to the American public, and soon, it looked like I would be returning to work, albeit on a limited basis.  But at least I could get a paycheck, even if I was only allowed to work less than half a day each day, and only to work on planning if the shut down continues for more than a week or two.  We are responsible for keeping the National Airspace System running, so we needed to have a plan.


Things got even better on Tuesday evening as my Pittsburgh Pirates won their first playoff game in 21 years!  I slept well Tuesday night, though it was hard to get to sleep after the excitement of the big game.

Wednesday was a day spent on phone calls and attempting to get a plan into place for my employees to complete the immediate work which was halted by the shutdown.  Even though I didn't work, it felt like I was, and much of the day was spent in that capacity.  This morning, I actually went to the office and it felt great!  It was a bit eerie being in such an empty building, and I was the only person on my entire floor to be at work, but I got a lot done, even if it was only for four hours.


On my way home, I was even able to get a haircut (thank you very much, Ms. Rachel!) and pick up a load of groceries.

Then it was time for Game 1 of the National League playoff game between the Pirates and the St. Louis Cardinals.


The Bucs were absolutely dismal, and AJ Burnett, the Pirates' pitcher, was bombed big time.  The Pirates couldn't get anything going against Cardinals' ace Adam Wainwright, and the Bucs lost 9-1.

So my week has been a roller coaster ride.  It's a good thing I like roller coasters.  I'm hoping for good things at work tomorrow, and I'm hopeful the Pirates can right the ship and get back on the winning track.  I also hope our elected officials will do their job so that I and my 107 out of work employees can get back to work and we can do our jobs.  And as much as I like roller coasters, I'm ready to get off of this one.

Have a great evening, everyone!

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