Iʼve been a long time gone from Wakdjunkagaʼs Blog. However, plenty has been happening to keep me busy since I last posted.
Initially, over the last two days of last week, I worked my final two stints as a substitute teacher for this school year. I did history/social studies, and the kids were very good, generally cooperative and decently behaved. Even as I sat in class, however, my mind was racing elsewhere, because last week was the big build-up to the hideous and dreaded federal government shut-down. (Remember? It all seems so long ago now — at least to me.)
That partisan battle over the federal budget overdrafting had the whole nation (well, the less than thirty-five percent that pays attention to what we laughably call “the news”) on tenterhooks of suspense. Would we return in springtime to the Clintonian echoes of excess from two Januaries in the Nineties? Would steely-eyed tightwads of the Right or easily-caving Leftie liberals blink first? I lived the week (well, until Friday) under the impression that if no agreement were reached (at first by the end of business on Tuesday, later day by day and night by night) the government would with no budget cease operations on Friday. Pure hype, of course. Because Friday dawned with no agreement, and government went on as usual (albeit a bit more uncomfortably and uneasily than on other, more normal days), and the debate/discussion/negotiations dragged on through the whole day, until the President finally interrupted our midwestern nightly local news broadcasts, after 10:00 PM Friday, to announce an agreement had been made, a deal cut, and the government would remain open for, uh, business, if the Right can accept that term.
This affected me because this past Monday, after the weekend of the potential shutdown, I was to get myself to Des Moines to train as a trapper for USDA APHIS PPQ*** in its emerald ash borer program. The shutdown was of real interest because if the two sides couldnʼt reach an agreement and the government did close (all “nonessential” services), then I would not have any reason for The Lovely One to drive me halfway across our state on Saturday in order to stay overnight with me at the assigned hotel (on our own dime[s]) before hurrying herself back home on Sunday to be ready for the work week. On the other hand, if there was no shutdown, I had better have my sorry dexterior in Urbandale at the Iowa USDA APHIS PPQ*** offices fairly early Monday morning.
I arranged with my boss to check for a definite plan during my free time (educators, read “preparation period”) last Friday, which I did. He had ably worked out a solution to my dilemma, by simply asking my partner, who already had her GOV (“government owned vehicle,”* the reason I had to be left without a car was that, during training, I would receive my own GOV in which to head back to eastern Iowa), to drive a little out of her way to pick me up on Monday morning, thus saving me concern and worry and the government 51¢ a mile for Janetʼs wifely driving in our own POV.** Perfect.
And so, when there was no shutdown, I hopped into my partnerʼs vehicle early on Monday, and we arrived in time to train for three days before returning to my local part of the state to begin work already on Thursday.
Yep. I am fully employed again. Again (as with the Census a year ago) with the federal government (strange coincidence). And thatʼs why there has been no new post for so long. Until today. Expect more such gaps ahead (we are on a four-day work week, ten hours a day).
* More on governmental acronyms to come perhaps (because, boy, did I get reacquainted with FedGovJargonese all over again during training).
** “Personally owned vehicle,” in case the expansion is necessary.
*** Oh, yes, also, just to make sure (that I know what it means) — USDA APHIS PPQ: “United States Department of Agriculture Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service Plant Protection and Quarantine.”