Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Winding Down

(Source)
As 2016 slowly comes to an end, there are fewer people at work, the parking lot isn't so full, and many of us at my place of employment start thinking about what we're going to be doing during the annual company shutdown.

We forego four of the ten Federal "public*" holidays (Martin Luther King Day, Washington's Birthday, Columbus Day, and Veterans Day) but we make it up during the period from Christmas to New Year's Day. I don't mind missing four long weekends all that much as my company is now on a 9/80 schedule. Which boiled down to its most basic means that over a two week period we work 80 hours, only we do it in 9 days rather than 10. So every other week we have a long weekend.

While the nine hour days can be a pain (especially in the winter, dark when I get to work, dark when I get home), the thought of having that long weekend gets me through the 9 hour days. I don't know why the 9 hour day seems so much longer than an 8 hour day, but it does. (This coming from a guy who regularly used to work 12-our days in the Air Force! About which there's a story. POCIR)

Anyhoo...

A lot of folks save some PTO for the week prior to the "winter" break (which I, and many others,  still insist on calling the "Christmas" break) so that they might have two weeks away from work. I normally try to do that but for the second year in a row I had to use some of that PTO while I was out for medical reasons. (One of the reasons "they" don't like us calling PTO "vacation" is that we also use it for sick leave. Sort of. We used to have sick days but they were abused by some. So we lost them. Bastids.)

So I am at work for four days this week, this Friday coincides with our every other week long weekend, which, as it's Christmas, makes for a longer Christmas, er, I mean, Winter Break. Because I want to, and I can, I will be taking the first week of the year 2017 as vacation, using my PTO, not "vacation" days. Confused yet? Don't feel bad, it confused me the first five years I worked here. And I will still slip up and call a vacation, "being on leave." Which is a military thing.

Anyhoo...

The days, while short in ambient light, have not been short on cold as of late. Though we had temps in the 50s over the weekend, we're back down in the teens and 20s again. (Had a real cold snap a couple of weeks ago, hence the use of "again.") Oddly enough the wind, which seems to blow all the time here in Little Rhody, has been conspicuous by its absence. So wind chill hasn't been a factor. (See what I did there?)

Very little snow here, which is typical for Little Rhody in the late fall/early winter. The bulk of our snow seems to come in January and February. While there hasn't been much snow, there hasn't been much sun either. So the days tend to be gray and somewhat morale weakening. (I don't get depressed by such weather, though many do. It does, however, have a detrimental effect on my morale. Makes me all gloomy and such.)

While I am aware of the horror, the evil, and the turbulence of the world outside of my own, I try not to let that get me down. The world has always had its share of assholes, evil-doers, and idiots, I keep them at arm's length, mentally anyway. I refuse to let the world "harsh my mellow."

Because it is the Christmas season. While, like the reformed Scrooge, I do hold the holiday in my heart year-round, I enjoy the decorations, the lights, and the carols at this time of year. Truth be told, when the lights start to go dim and the decorations come down, I do get a little depressed. I truly do wish it could be Christmas forever. But (apparently) it can't, but as the year winds down, I'll enjoy the season, come what may.





* Public because while Inauguration Day is a Federal Holiday, only Federal employees in the District get it off, and it's only once every four years. I won't begrudge them that holiday because can you imagine trying to get to work on Inauguration Day in DC? Traffic is bad enough on a "normal" day!

20 comments:

  1. Well, Sarge, Merry Christmas! I hope you enjoy your Vacation, Sick Leave, Paid Time Off or what ever the Personnel folks (I would have said weinies, but you know....Mrs Juvat) are calling it this year. Today at noon, I am emancipated. The Teachers will be gone and hopefully stay gone until the 9th. We are not "off", but have flexibility in our schedule. I've got some projects that I need to complete that require time and concentration which is not available with the phone ringing all the time. So, I'm going to come in, work on them til I reach a reasonable milestone then go home. Not quite vacation, but close enough.

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    1. Merry Christmas to you and yours as well. (No doubt I'll say that again, can't say "Merry Christmas" enough in my book.)

      Go in, work on things to one's own satisfaction, then go home. Nirvana. I had a couple of assignments like that in the Air Force, made up for the times on the flightline when you'd be lucky to get a day off.

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  2. Merry Christmas to all Denizens of this blog!

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    1. May your badger den be merry and bright!

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  3. I am totally confused, but I take it you will not have to go to work for a while. And it is Christmas Break. If others choose to call it a Holiday break that is fine, but our holiday is Christmas and they can't take that way from us.

    That "allowed" sick day thing used to tick me off because of those that abused it. Companies used to say "you are allowed to be out if you are sick, but you may not want to get sick too often!" And that worked out pretty well. Of course some companies were dick-heads, but that never changes, only the means to apply their dick-headedness.

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    1. Yup, starting this Friday (the 23rd) I will be away from my place of employment for over two weeks. I shall be celebrating Christmas, so I call it Christmas Break. Others may call it what they will, for me it is Christmas. (Though this year calling it Hanukkah Break would also be fitting as Hanukkah starts at sundown on Christmas Eve!)

      The first big company I worked for gave us three sick days. The understanding was that if you didn't use them during the year, then you were expected (and encouraged) to take them at the end of the year. The beauty of that system was that if you were actually sick and had a doctor's note, then you didn't have to take your sick days. The sick days were for normal run of the mill things: headache, 24-hr bug, hangover, that sort of thing. I really liked that company's system. Too bad they no longer exist.

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  4. My co-worker on our route does a lot of Santa Claus work in December. (He looks like Santa all year long). To help him out I work a lot of days in December. Our route is 500 miles and 13 hours so I'm looking forward to January and some time off. As I've said to him, letting him do his Santa thing is my contribution to the Christmas spirit and ho, ho, ho. Makes me smile to think of all the kiddies he makes happy.

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  5. Merry Christmas to all.

    Paul L. Quandt

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  6. I was gonna mumble something about PTO, sick pay, CTO (compensating time off), but in the spirit of generosity I will refrain.
    'Nuff said that I have never worked such a job that allowed for those luxuries.
    Not that my employers were Scrooges, just it was always open for business.

    Ironically, when I first took full-time employment we worked six nine hour shifts each week ...yeah, 54 hours.
    When Nixon instituted the wage/price freeze in '72, the feds wouldn't allow my employer to put us on a five day week because it constituted a pay raise.

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    1. My former employer had us working seven days a week at times. Often we were on 12 hour shifts.

      The pay wasn't always great, but they housed us, clothed us, and fed us.

      Pretty sweet deal, all things considered.

      :)

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    2. They also sent you to exotic places to meet exotic people, fall in love, marry and have great kids. What's not to like?

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    3. Oh yeah. I've got that going for me as well!

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  7. http://airshowstuff.com/v4/2016/details-of-the-f-4-phantom-phinale-final-flight-and-retirement-ceremony-date-set/

    I could not find a way to send this but thought I would try this.

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    1. Works for me, thanks.

      The end of an era...

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  8. Merry Christmas to the Goodrich Clan and all of those that have had the pleasure of reading your Wit & Wisdom over the year Chris!

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    1. May I convey my holiday felicitations and salutations to the Snyder Clan as well?

      Merry Christmas! (And thanks Ron!)

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  9. Taking the week prior to Christmas off myself, partially because my boss is gone for the next 2 and I have to be there. I would have preferred next week off though in that everyone else is off and there's little work to be done. Therefore, I'll be bored to tears at my desk. Maybe I'll find some inspiration...

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    1. You and yours have a great holiday Tuna!

      (Inspiration is good.)

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