Saturday, July 28, 2012

Status of the Cunning Plan

Okay, two weeks of the "cunning plan" have gone by. How have things been working out you may ask? (Or even if you didn't.) As a reminder of just of what the heck I'm talking about, see my post Je Suis de Retour! (Eh bien, presque...).

In order to transition back to the home office, which requires a ten mile one way commute, and to not spend so much time at FOL North, a 100 mile one way commute, I came up with my "cunning plan".

The idea was to work two days out of the week at the home office, and two days a week at FOL North. These would be ten hour days, which are a major burden all by themselves. But the upside would be having three day weekends. Three days to do the things around the house that normally the Missus takes care of. I did have an inkling of just what my wife takes care of when I'm at work. But just an inkling.

Like most men of my acquaintance, I always assumed that since the kids were all grown and moved out that my wife's day was rather relaxed. Sure every now and then she'd do the laundry, clean the house and occasionally work in the garden. The rest of the time she could put her feet up and watch TV or go shopping.

Like most men of my acquaintance, I was wrong, dead wrong. In trying to do all the things the Missus does around the house when she's on station I have often wondered how she has not gone stark raving mad over the years.

Laundry. Okay, relatively simple from my point of view. I need to separate the wash into dark stuff and light stuff. When I was on my own, all of my clothing tended to become one weird (and somewhat ugly) shade of gray. Until a female friend of mine pointed out, "Of course, stupid! If you wash darks and lights together, the lights will take on the shades of the darks. You need to separate them. Idiot!" Explains why, when I was a young airman, I was constantly getting dinged for not wearing a white T-shirt with my uniform. "But Sarge, this is a white T-shirt."

I don't have the need to wash "delicates" or other items which have special tags telling you how to wash them. I'm a guy, I don't do delicate. So it's one pile of dark stuff and one pile of light stuff. The washing machine and the dryer do the dirty work. I just have to feed the stuff in and take it out when it's done.

And then I have to fold everything. You may recall that the Air Force did train me how to fold clothing. Spent six weeks doing so (among other things). So you'd think I'd be good at it. Nope. That was back in 1975. That particular skill set has atrophied somewhat over the years. But the stuff does get folded, after a fashion. No doubt the Missus would grade my efforts as substandard and send me back to remedial folding class. But I'm getting by.

Housecleaning. It never ceases to amaze me just how dirty the inside of the house gets. And all in a rather short time period. Of course, we do have two cats. Apparently they have only a few things to do. One is sleep. Another is eat and go to the bathroom. A third thing they do, everyday, is shed. I swear I pick up enough cat fur every day to build another cat!

The Garden. Apparently weeds have the ability to grow approximately six inches per hour. They also spread like well, weeds. I declare, I have weeded one flower bed then gone to do another and when I walk by the first, mere minutes later, it looks as if it had never been weeded at all. It was starting to look like that History Channel series "Life After People". I'm guessing if I didn't have to pull the lawn mower out of the shed every week, it too would crumble to ruin and eventually be overgrown with some weird-looking vines.

But all that aside. How is my cunning plan working out? So far so good. People at the home office are now aware that I still exist. Some thought I had retired, some thought I'd quit. But no, I'm still here. Most importantly I am again on management's radar (in a good way I hope). I have high hopes that they'll find something for me to do around here. Obviating the necessity to travel "up north" once or twice a week.

Now originally I'd planned to work Mondays and Thursdays "up north". The first day of the first week of the cunning plan I was asked, "Say could you be here Wednesday instead of Thursday this week?" As there was a good reason for that, I said, "Sure, no problem". It worked out pretty well. So I changed the plan to Mondays and Wednesdays "up north".

The first day of the second week. "Say, can you be here Thursday this week, instead of Wednesday?"

Sure why not, again there was a semi-valid operational reason to do that.

So NOW the plan is to go "up north" on Monday and then wait and see what's going on that week before I make the call on whether it's going to be Wednesdays up there, or Thursdays.

But the real problem is that second day "up north". I'm used to going to bed really early on Sunday evenings for that early Monday morning go time. Not so much having to do that twice in one week.

The first week I was pretty well exhausted upon my return to Chez Sarge on Wednesday evening. But the thought of going to work Thursday for a ten hour shift wasn't that bad. After all, it's close to home and when I did get off work Thursday, it was only ten miles to the family abode.

But last week was a bear. I wasn't as tired Wednesday evening because I hadn't had to do the 100 mile drive after work. The bad part was that whole "wasn't as tired" thing. As I needed to be up at the butt crack of dawn on Thursday to head "up north", I needed to hit the sack early on Wednesday night. No amount of logic, reasoning, screaming or cajoling could convince my body of the absolute need to go to sleep that night.

When 0400 rolled around, I swear it felt like I'd slept maybe 20 minutes. But I dragged my old tired butt out of the rack, got ready and was "wheels up" by 0500, heading north. That day went by in a semi-conscious, sort of partly aware of what the heck I was doing kind of way. As the time to depart got closer, I realized that I needed to get some more caffeine in me. So I got coffee. Enough to shake out the cobwebs but not so much that I'd need to stop and pee every 25 miles on the way home.

I made it, was reasonably alert the entire time but was completely mentally exhausted by the time I rolled into the driveway of the estate. Concentrating on operating a vehicle in heavy, fast moving traffic for a couple of hours can really drain you. I'm sure most of you are very familiar with that concept. Unless you got your driver's license yesterday. Come to think of it, most people in this neck of the woods drive exactly like they got their license yesterday. And just barely passed the exam. Now I'm really dreading the commute this coming week. Why oh why did I have to think of that!


  1. It's good to hear the plan is working. And I'm VERY glad I don't have to get up at oh-dark-thirty any longer. VERY.

    1. I am kind of looking forward to the day where I roll over, note how early it is and go back to sleep. Without thinking, "Oh good, I can sleep for another hour before I HAVE to get up." It's the HAVE to get up that irks me. Why, on vacations I've been known to get up and six and actually enjoy it!

  2. I do the 10 hour day thing as well. Sometimes they turn into 16 or 20 hour days but there is comp time for that which comes in handy for those days I reall do get 20 minutes of sleep.

    I thought going from 3000 square feet to 1250 square feet the housework would be less. It is, to a point, but dog hair multiplies expodentially, and the vacuuming details is as necessary as ever, it just takes about half the time.

    Laundry, I have light dark, cammo do not wash with scented detergent and delicates (Scottish Birth Control version for winter and don't let my Dad see these if he visits for the summer vdersion).

    Hope it all works out for you, and let me know how the sitting and watching TV and shopping works out. :)

    Thanks for the smile and the great post.

    1. I kind of miss the days where my only clothing decision in the morning was "Hhmm, which set of BDUs do I wear today?" As for the ten hours days transforming themselves into 16 or 20 hours a day? Haven't done that since I retired from the USAF. Nowadays I may physically leave the plant after ten hours, but sometimes the old brain keeps gnawing at a problem well into the night. On the up side I usually have a good fix in mind going into the next day. On the down side, some nights I don't get much sleep.

      Yeah, sitting and watching TV and going shopping, that's just not happening. (Though I always make time for "Hell's Kitchen" and "Master Chef", seems I can't get enough Gordon Ramsay.) I do not know how the Missus pulls it off. And still puts up with me when I come home bitching about work. As she says, "At least you've got other people around!" She's a definite candidate for sainthood!

  3. I know what you mean about laundry. Life, or at least dressing for it, was much easier before I left the Navy. Wake up, shower, zip up the flight suit. Now it involves choosing which dress slacks to wear- the black, the blue, the gray, the khaki, or the other blue ones. Then comes shirt selection, and tie selection, and digging through the drawer to find the matching socks without using a light so as to not wake the wife. Laundry requires dry cleaning, which sounds easy, but involves remembering to take it to work with me, then going into the NEX Mini-mart after work, going back to my truck to get a pen to fill out the slip, taking that slip up to the check-out to pre-pay, then remembering to pick it all up 3 days later. Yeah, life was easier when I could wear PJs to work.

    1. Oh my word Tuna. Your life sounds like a living hell from my point of view. I'm an "engineer", my biggest worry is "Are these jeans clean enough to wear to work?" Seriously, you have to wear a (shudder) tie? I only wear ties to church and that is only if I'm somehow participating in the service. Wow!

  4. That plan is more cunning than the fox who is the Professor of Cunning at Oxford University

    1. Hear, hear! Of course I have no Baldrick to come up with these plans. If I say, "Am I jumping the gun, Baldrick, or are the words "I have a cunning plan" marching with ill-deserved confidence in the direction of this conversation?", I'm talking to myself. Cheers!


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