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2009 Thoughts

2/24/09 - 9:40 pm It's been another long while but again, things have been busy and I just haven't felt like writing anything. Since the last update in December work has calmed down a little bit. The urgent stuff from November has died down but the effects of everything that needed done still linger and cause everyone headaches. Because of how busy we were in November and December we all kind of put our annual reviews and potential raises on the back burner. The end of the year passed without an Xmas bonus (I don't think any of us were expecting one) and in early January we start asking about our reviews. It didn't take long before we all had them done, at least the part where we were told how much of a raise we'd receive. Unfortunately, none of us received retroactive pay back to Nov 1, basically punishing us for our patience and trust. At least we all still have jobs. Anyway, two paychecks go by and the raises never appear so we start asking questions. It's around this time when I find out from three separate sources that the other company on the contract (the only other company with employees that is) gave it's employees a $3000 Xmas bonuses and approximately a year's worth of back pay. That really didn't phase me too much since bonus money doesn't come out of the contract money and since the other company gets a week less vacation than my company. I think they were just trying to make it up to their employees and had a better year than my company. Then two weeks ago happens. The morning of our annual benefits meeting (our third change since Nov 2007) we receive an email from the program manager saying that he wanted to see us after the meeting to discuss our raises. Needless to say, no one took this email as a positive sign. The benefits meeting went okay for most people I think. The worst news was that the 401k plan that ended at the end of the year may not be replaced until June or July. Okay, then we have the meeting that everyone was waiting for. The short version... our raises were being "restructured" into less of a raise. The program manager took full responsibility for the error, he gave the wrong numbers to my boss to work with. Mistakes happen but it was the latest in a series of things, that taken all together, have me worried. At least we still have jobs... for now.
Life outside of work hasn't been the greatest but not for a lack of trying. The most difficult thing that has happened in recent months is what seems to be the loss of a friend. She has all but disappeared from my life. Phone calls and emails aren't returned, instant messages get one reply if I'm lucky. I got to the point where I thought I was bothering her so I stopped trying. I don't know if it was something I did, or if something is wrong with her, or if she is too busy, or what, but I know I miss her. I seem to miss quite a few people lately but find that there is little I can do about it. Friends have moved away, friends have gotten engaged, friends have gotten married, friends have become parents. Rumor has it that those things tend to occupy large parts of people's lives so I have a hard time imposing myself on anyone. Most recently I've decided to take a break from one of my most favorite places, which is particularly difficult since it provides me with most of my human interaction outside of work. There are a couple of reasons, the biggest being that I am on my diet and even one night of alcohol a week slows down my progress... not to mention makes me hungry. The other reason is that my gut has been telling me that I'm starting to bother people there. It's happened to me before, quite a few times really, and walking away for a little while has always helped. Anyway, that will do it for now I think... don't feel up to talking politics or current events tonight, got to go for my walk still.

3/5/09 - 11:49 pm It's been a busy but certainly not the best of weeks. The parents have been to PA twice since Sunday to visit my aunt. They moved her into a hospice today so clearly the end is in sight. My dad thinks that she won't see her birthday in April, my gut says a week. Her daughters are having an especially difficult time. The oldest is in her mid-twenties and has the role of shouldering all of the weight. Her little sister is 20 and was home for spring break this week. Mother said that she just learned how to use a vacuum this week and is starting to figure out the whole "laundry" thing. Needless to say, both of them were having a hard time coming to grips with the fact that their mom is not coming home. The oldest took her to the ER on Friday and figured that they'd give her something for the pain and she'd be home on Saturday. It took a couple days and a visit from my parents but they are both more prepared now. Their father is of no help in the situation having been slowly psychologically castrated over the years. Relegated to literally sleeping on the couch for as long as I can remember he no longer has any say in the ongoings of the house. He is the one legally responsible and has the final say-so, but you'd never know it. As horrible as it is to say, this may be a good thing for him, he may actually recover a little. Sadly, he doesn't have any support nearby. The oldest daughter has friends, her son, and apparently a new boyfriend to lean on. The youngest has a fairly serious boyfriend that isn't just a good guy, but is good with the four year old as well. This may ultimately be good for the four year old too since my aunt keeps having him tested for various learning disorders in the hopes of proving that he isn't normal. Mother says that he is a lot like I was at that age... although that doesn't really help the "normal" case. We are just hoping that all of them can survive this.
So, in light of the family stuff, today's news about our raises was minor. Like I kind of figured, some of us completely lost our raises, the rest had them reduced, but whatever we got took effect this pay period. I don't usually look at my pay stub when I get it but my boss sent out an email today telling everyone to check theirs. Some people were charged for both the old insurance plan and the new one which, depending on your coverage, could take up most of your paycheck. I went from paying nothing under the old plan to paying nothing under the new plan so I didn't think there could be any screw-ups. Imagine my surprise when I opened my pay stub and saw the "total deposit" line read $191. I wasn't mad, wasn't even a little pissed, but I did find it very funny. I had to share this with my boss just to make sure I was reading it right and he thought it was funny too. I had no idea what was wrong but he had it figured out in about a minute. Apparently someone at the payroll processing company entered my new hourly wage in the wrong box and instead of getting 72 hours times my wage, I just got my wage. I worked it out and it basically meant I worked for about 32 cents an hour. If it weren't for the 8 holiday hours being billed correctly my pay wouldn't have broken $25. It didn't take long for my company to call me and assure me that it would be fixed on Friday. Like I said, given the family thing, this actually made me laugh.

4/6/09 - 2:13 am Well now, it has been a very busy month. My aunt is still hanging in there. There are no "better" days at this point... there are status quo days and days where things get a little worse. Her original cancer has well metastasized into her bones and apparently her brain, although I wonder if it really has reached her brain or not. She is so medicated that it very well be the drugs that are making her "out of it" and not the cancer. My parents have been in PA since early March so I have been house/dog sitting since then. Tonight is the first night that I'm not sleeping in their bed (soooo creepy) but I just can't sleep in it... its like sleeping on concrete with a sheet over top. Tonight I'm in my old room sleeping on my old mattress, so I'm hoping to get more than two hours of sleep. I haven't been able to do much computer work so I've been "helping" them around the house. Okay, they didn't ask me to "help" but stuff just needed done. The latest fix was replacing a door latch that no longer latched. Very very simple to fix, just an $8 part, but it was the principle of the thing. The parents would rather it be broken, leaking metal shavings (from the latch that had disintegrated) all over the door/floor. Anyway, my dad comes home once a week to see to the mail, pay bills, get clothes, etc, but my mother hasn't been home in weeks. Dad doesn't like to leave her for the one day that he does, but he thinks he needs to. I have tried to tell him that is cheaper for me to ship anything they need to PA rather than him spend 6 hours driving. Shipping by UPS Ground takes one day and for the cost of a tank+ of gas (not to mention the time and safety benefits) I could ship an awful lot. Him coming home does let me spend a night or two at home and do some work, but I'd rather him be where he's needed when he needs to be there.
Outside of family things have been good and bad. I finally got to communicate with the friend that had all but disappeared from my life. She and I have been going through the same "leave me alone" phase but her's was a bit stronger. It also did not help that I accidentally and unintentionally pissed her off several months ago. Won't go into the details on that, but I think we have made up. Other friends that were doing okay are no longer doing okay... in fact they are doing very very not okay. I have done my best to be there for them but it is difficult for me because I want to be there a lot more than I have been asked to be. Its okay though, I know my place... if they don't need me they don't need me. The friends I am most worried about do have good family/friend relationships to draw on so my presence isn't all that big of a deal right now... like I have said before, when I am needed I will be there, otherwise I don't exist.
Final thing for tonight is a funny story. Got a call from a friend last week about our house in OBX in May. Turns out that the house is in foreclosure and the rental company can't guarantee that it will be available this summer. The short version of this story is that we each have to pay an additional $92 to switch to another (better) house. My only question is what is the point of signing a contract if it only obligates one party to uphold their end? G'night.

11/29/09 - 9:30pm Over six months... wow... a personal record. No apologies folks, just haven't had the desire or time to update this thing. Here's the summary for work... I have been "temporarily" reassigned yet again (since July) to another organization to persuade them to sign on to our contract (which I have succeeded at) but due to the ineptitude and/or lack of training of upper management there has been no one available to replace me, nor has anyone been able to be hired to replace me. The organization I am currently working for is by far the best I have been sent to, mostly due to the fact that they are 75% military, 20% civilian, 5% contractor, and 0% MEDCOM. I really did not understand how large of a douchebag that MEDCOM was until I got to this place. Sure, there is your normal bullshit, but it's Army bullshit, military bullshit, normal paperwork bullshit.... NOT "we're-MEDCOM-so-we're-better-than-you-and-we-don't-have-to-listen-to-you-no-matter-who-you-are" bullshit. I am currently in the midst of a organization-wide upgrade to Vista, for which all that I can do has been done. The remainder is up to the DOIM and/or my management, neither of which seem to be particularly motivated. Other work stuff... we are currently two months overdue for our reviews/raises, but none of us are really expecting either at this point. Also, the 401k program that ended at the end of 2008 still has not been reinstated despite the promise that it would be by June/July (of 2009). Other stuff... the home football season ended this past weekend and I must say that it was a horrible season. It wasn't bad because of WVU's record (currently 8-3 and 7-0 at home) but because I spent too many games sitting alone. Too many people bailed on me this year, and bailed at the last minute... the record being this Friday when the guests bailed two hours before I was supposed to leave because there was a chance of rain/snow. I had waited all season for a cold/snowy game and guess what... not a flake fell the entire day... nor did we have any rain!!!! As for my personal life.... well.... of you don't have anything good to say....

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