Tuesday, May 28, 2013

What Could Possibly Go Wrong?

So there I was all of a Monday night, footloose and fancy free. The Missus Herself was in the Big Apple and I was at home (having to work on the morrow and all that.) Now when I'm traveling (which I am this week) I normally get up at 0400 on Monday, for to drive the 100 miles to work. Note though that I was home on Monday, due to the holiday. So Monday's travel would not occur until Tuesday. (If all this seems confusing to you, imagine how I felt!)

So I'm thinking (always a dangerous endeavor for Yours Truly) that seeing as how I had Monday off and I normally get up at 0600 on Tuesday, why not do that this week as well?. After all I have about ten hours of "modified" time built up, let's spend a bit of that and not get up at the butt crack of dawn on Tuesday. Let's "sleep in", as it were. (Though getting up at 0600 almost never qualifies as "sleeping in", when the alternative is 0400, it'll do for me!)

Before going any further with the description of Tuesday morning's debacle (there's a bit o' "foreshadowing" for you!) let's describe what "modified" time is. At my place of employment you're expected to work 40 hours a week. You can, if authorized, work overtime. As an engineer I get no extra cash for overtime, it's at the normal hourly rate. Still though, it's extra money. But there are rules attached to overtime. And you may know how I feel about rules. If not, I'll tell you now, I don't like rules.

I lived by the rules for 24 years on Uncle Sam's dime. Didn't mind it, most of the military's rules made absolute sense and are tried and true. At least they made sense when I was on active duty. One of the first things I noticed upon my entry into the corporate world was that the number of rules was much greater. And, from my perspective, many of those rules were unbelievably stupid. (And many of those rules were imposed by our primary customer, the Federal Government. One of the most inefficiently run bureaucracies ever created. And yes, the rules got even stupider once the current maladministration took over.)

One of the rules regarding overtime is the number of hours necessary in order to get paid for overtime. Right now it's eight hours a week. So in order to get paid overtime, I would need to work 48 hours a week. Um, no. Not going to happen. At my age I'm pretty well all used up at the forty hour mark. Primarily due to the travel. That 100-mile drive to start the week kinda takes it outta me, ya know?

So I'll do 45-ish hours a week and everything over 40 goes into the modified-time bucket. In theory this means that when things settle down I can take some time off, using that modified time. But of course there are rules attached to this as well. Such as "must be used up within a two week period". I guess it messes up the payroll records. Though the company makes extensive use of computers, most of our support software (not to put too fine a point on it) sucks. It's cumbersome and apparently is designed to be most user-unfriendly.

At any rate, all that being said, where was I? Oh yes, Tuesday morning. Sleeping in. Now how did that all work out?

Alright, at first things went well. Went to bed at my normal time, which is approximately 2200 hours (local) which would yield a solid eight hours of sleep with a wake up time of 0600. Actually was sleepy when I hit the hay, so lights out happened very smoothly. (Both the electrical type and the Old AF Sarge type. I was pretty much gone as soon as the old noggin hit the pillow.)

So far so good, right?

Um yeah. A good start doesn't necessarily make a good finish.

One bad thing I did before going to bed was say this to myself, "Yeah, Ill get up at six, be on the road by seven, get to the work location by nine. Not a problem. Of course, if I wake up earlier, I'll just get up and go." Note that phrase: "If I wake up earlier". Yes, I've planted the seed of destruction which would eventually bring my vaunted plan to its knees and completely mess up my Tuesday morning.

So there I am, sound asleep, having a most bizarre dream in which I am negotiating the fate of Westeros with Tyrion Lannister. (There's a story all by itself. For those who don't know, that's a Game of Thrones reference. The mini-series on HBO and the series of books by George R.R. Martin. Said mini-series I am watching, said books I am re-reading - I'm on Book Five, again.) It's at that point, I awaken. Wondering if the Imp and I had ever settled on sending this annoying guy at work to The Wall, or not.

I'm sleepy-ish, outside is dark-ish. I figure, if it's close enough to four to make no never mind, then I'll get up and go for it. I check the clock. It is five minutes before two in the morning. Pretty damn early mind you. But I'm thinking, "Cool, I don't have to get up for another four hours." Yeah. Right.

So I turn over and try (in vain) to go back to sleep. Somehow my brain is convinced that roughly four hours of sleep is more than enough time to hit the road, drive 100 miles and put in a ten hour day. I do manage to fight the urge to get up, but my sleep is restless. Mostly of the "toss and turn" variety. At 0330 I finally give up and drag my tired carcass out of bed and prepare to face the week.

Which is going to be a long one.

How can I tell?

From the e-mail first thing this morning saying that we will probably be working weekends in June to "get this project done". Uh, sure. Foxtrot Tango. We shall see.

Yup, the week is going to suck. But that's okay. It's a short one. Maybe. Depending on that whole "work weekends in June" thing.

If I could I would retire. But last I checked, the mortgage is not paid off. When it is, then I pull the plug. Until then...

I work.


  1. Replies
    1. Heh. I get that on a number of different levels.

  2. And, from my perspective, many of those rules were unbelievably stupid. (And many of those rules were imposed by our primary customer, the Federal Government. One of the most inefficiently run bureaucracies ever created. And yes, the rules got even stupider once the current maladministration took over.)

    Not to flog dead draft animals or anything (but I WILL), but the Feds' rules, regulations, stipulations, codicils, "Best Practices," and massive poundage associated with same is exactly why I avoided having much of anything to do with those asshats in my civilian career. But you knew that.

    You have my sympathy.

    I've done that "oh, damn... it's only 0200" thing before, too. Sucks, it does.

    1. Grrr. "Best Practices"...

      I had to take a management course here at work. The "facilitator" (she got very annoyed when you called her an instructor, so of course I made a point of doing just that) would frequently point one finger heavenward and announce "Best Practice" whenever the material called for such a thing.

      My contempt for the way corporations are run now is very deep. I despise them almost as much as I despise politicians.

  3. When I first read about your overtime program, I thought something was amiss. I have to pay OT after 40 hrs, then I read about the Fed. contract...all bets are off when rules and regs. when the Feds are involved. Well, as you're in that position (you know, with your hands on your knees) keep smiling and repeat "Thank you, could I have another?"

    1. Yup. Grin and bear it. 'Tis all one can do.

  4. Know the feeling my friend, KNOW the feeling... Sigh...

  5. A hundred miles!? I felt put upon driving 50 miles each way to and from work friends who were outside the 50 mile limit received per diem on top of pay but kept the housing allowance for their home of record and had to live in a tent. All of us did the same work but made staggeringly different amounts for it.

  6. 100 miles one way? That's kind of a brutal commute. I drive 35-40 K annually and depending on the traffic, 3-6 hours on the road most days. I sympathize.

    1. Actually I only have to do it on Monday and again on Friday. During the week I stay in a hotel. So it's not that bad. 3 to 6 on the road everyday? Not fun.


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