Work

All things pertaining to my job, no matter how odd or random.

What is a mom worth?

What is a wife and stay at home mom worth? That’s the question that has been raised in a couple of venues I have been in recently. Now, I am not talking about the love aspect, because love is priceless. I can’t and won’t put a price on my love for my wife, that just IS.

My beautiful wife and I both worked when we were first wed a couple of months ago, but due to totally opposite and conflicting schedules, money that wasn’t worth the time, and just her physical well being, we decided it would be best for the family if she stayed at home. So now she is a stay at home mom and housewife and I absolutely love it. Money is tight, but the girls have their mom all day, which I believe is important. She isn’t taxing her body like she was before, which always worried the hell out of me. Also, she doesn’t have to stress and worry about her safety being a waitress working a graveyard shift.

To me, this is all priceless.

Lately she has shown some concern over money as things are tight, to which I have this to say: Babe, you are contributing more than you think. I don’t worry about things like I used to, we will get through the tight finances and debt and we will be okay. Don’t worry about not bringing home a paycheck. You do things that are just as important, if not more so, on a daily basis. I love you.

This article says these things in a much better way than I can, so I will share it for your reading pleasure: http://www.focusonthefamily.com/parenting/parenting-roles/value-of-stay-at-home-moms/the-value-of-stay-at-home-moms

Now, if some of you disagree with me and this article and think that this is all easy and stay at homes mom have it easy, I say try and do it without one. See how hard it can get. Better yet, hire out to other people. Get yourself people that do all the things a stay at home mom does and see how much it costs you. The average stay at home mom puts in 96.5 hours of work a week according to Salary.com and Forbes. Imagine paying a housekeeper, a cook, a launderer, a driver for errands, (etc.) for all of this and then having them on call for nights too. Yup, it would run you a huge bill.

In the end though, as I already said, it is all priceless. You can’t put a value on what a mom and a wife does, it will never come out right. Just love them and help them when they need it.

Categories: Family, Life, money, Work | Tags: , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Commander, Naval Installations Command. A redundantly named organization of cheap jerks. A rant.

Normally I don’t like to talk or write about work, because it can get me in trouble. However, I need to rant about this.

I work for Commander, Naval Installations Command (CNIC) under Navy Region South West (CNRSW). CNIC is a bunch of cheap jerks.

Last May I went on travel to Yorktown, Virginia. Booking my flight from LAX to Virginia, I had to take the most direct and economical route. This ended up being LAX to Charlotte, a layover in Charlotte, and then a commuter plane from Charlotte to Newport News, Va. Then a 15 minute drive in a rental car to Yorktown Naval Station where I stayed at a horrible Navy Lodge. No big deal, right? Unfortunately due to flights in and out of Charlotte this left very little in the way of choosing flights out of LAX to Charlotte. Their is a 6am flight, an 1130am flight, and an evening flight.

The 6am flight puts you in to Charlotte around 1pm East Coast time, the flight out of Charlotte puts you in to Newport News around 3pm. Get your luggage, rental car, etc. You are in your hotel around 4pm.

An 1130 flight out of LAX will ultimately put you in Newport News at approximately 9:00PM, putting you in your hotel room at about 10:00pm…but wait…the rental car terminal isn’t open at that time. So if you take that flight, you have to take a cab to the gate of the base in Yorktown and then walk to the Navy Lodge with all your luggage. Not a great option.

The evening flight puts you in to Newport News at around 6am the next day, and your class starts at 7am. An even worse option.

Sounds like the only reasonable thing is to leave from LAX at 6am, right?

LAX is 158 miles from my residence and is the closest large airport. On a good 5 Freeway/405 Freeway traffic day, this is a three hour trip. On a bad traffic day it can be up to six hours. For now we will say that it is a good traffic day and it’s only a three hour trip. When you add the TSA recommended two hour before flight arrival time, this makes it a five hour trip. You are taking a rental car to LAX, so you will have to gas the car up, return it to the appropriate rental agency, and then take a shuttle to the terminal; this can add up to another hour. Taking all this in to account, if a flight leaves LAX at 0600 hours, you have to leave here around 1am to make a 6am flight. All in all, you will be traveling for about 12 or 13 hours by the time you reach your destination.

Not horrible…..but the Government travel regulations state that you are not supposed to travel outside your normal work times, nor are you supposed to travel at unreasonable hours. Unreasonable hours are Midnight to 6am.

My supervisor and fiancé did not want me leaving at 1am. So I tried getting a hotel near LAX the night before. My travel orders were denied because of this. Instead of fighting it, I just left at 1am. No big deal to me.

My supervisor a co worker have to make a similar trip to Knoxville Tennessee in a couple of weeks and they are running in to the same issue. Leave here at 2am to get in to Knoxville at a reasonable time, or leave here later in the morning, gamble on LA traffic and leave LAX around noon to get to Knoxville at 10pm. They tried to get authorization for a hotel at LAX the night before. Room cost, with both of them sharing a room, a total of about 110.00. CNIC, located in Washington DC, said no.

We have to have our travel reviewed by people in San Diego, but approved by Approving Officials (AO’s) in Washington DC. These people in DC say No, a hotel is not authorized the night before, it is against travel regulations, leave later. My supervisor told them if they they leave later, they are getting in to an unfamiliar city at night, can’t get a rental car, etc. Washington DC AO’s basically said “tuff.”

If you compare this to another Command here, Naval Air Weapons Center Weapons Division (NAWCWD), it doesn’t make sense. NAWCWD employees ROUTINELY get rooms at LAX the night before an early travel and their AO’s are right here on station. Their travel people state that getting a room the night before is NOT against regulations, and is a prudent safety measure. They also state that most other Commands frown upon what CNIC is doing.

I wanted to know if this sort of travel was truly against regulations, so I emailed the GSA and Travel Officials, the people that wrote the travel regulations for all of the Dept. of Defense. First off, they were baffled that any installation is so remotely located, they didn’t understand the situation at first. Once they understood the situation, they basically said that it wasn’t against the travel regulations to stay the night before, you can’t be made to travel outside your normal work times or during unreasonable hours, but the authorization is at the AO’s discretion and they just need to be make to understand the situation.

The AO’s response?  “No.”

So, these AO’s in Washington DC are willing to violate Government regulations on travel and safety to basically save 100.00. A bunch of cheap jerks.

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Working writers block

I have to occasionally write safety related articles for the base newspaper. This time around I have been tasked with writing a short traffic safety article encompassing two different topics. The first topic is parking lot etiquette and safety. This particular topic is near and dear to my heart, as my first beloved vehicle (1987 Bronco II) was totaled in a parking lot by an inattentive and speeding teenage girl.

The second topic is actually multi-topic, encompassing the new turning lane at the front gate, turning right on red, and appropriate flow of traffic. Luckily I had a police officer send me some stuff from the California Vehicle Code.

So here I sit…writing this instead. I have been staring at a blank Word Document for about the last hour, trying to find a way to get motivated to write this article and a way to just start it. Sadly, I may just plagiarize a couple insurance articles. When you work for the government and write articles such as this, you can take from whatever sources you want, without quoting and you can’t be accused of plagiarizing anything….because you work for the government. Their is no plagiarism within the government.

Categories: Work, Writing | 3 Comments

The only one….

Some days I seem to be the only person at work and in my family.

There is a saying in Government that goes something along the lines “Those that work get the work, those that don’t still get raises.” Basically in Government jobs, if you work your butt off and do a great job, you still get the same pay raise as the man or woman that can’t do their job. If you demonstrate you can work and work well, your boss will probably give you all the work, all the projects, etc. While the coworkers that don’t work, can’t work, or just screw up the work, they get very little to do. Again, everyone gets the same pay raise. At least in the GS pay system. Their are other Government pay systems out their, but I am unfamiliar with them.

At work, I get the majority of the work. My customers for Safety are two of the three largest and most technical departments on the base, encompassing chemistry labs, physics labs, optics labs, energetics labs, large machine shops, etc. Not to mention a handful of other departments. I also run the confined space program for the base, the traffic safety program, blood borne pathogen program, assist with the fall protection program, energy control (lock out/tag out) program and respirator program. Though I do more to run the respirator program than assist with it.

With all of this I am also the Non Ionizing Radiation point of contact for our command, backup for my supervisor in the Emergency Operations Center, on the Chemical Hygiene Plan board, and more.

My supervisor is a great manager. I think she took all this in to account when she selected me for a promotion a few months ago and made me her Deputy. Still, when you are the only person that people can go to for all of these things, it can get overwhelming. I am the only person in the office that can do a lot of the things above and I can’t be in two places at once. If I make the wrong call or manage my time improperly, I can end up holding up a multi million dollar test. That has only happened once so far. Worse, if I make a bad decision in regards to certain deficiencies or programs (i.e. confined space or respirator), I can kill someone.

Family wise, I am the only person that my mom has. My mom is emotionally a wreck at most times, has a stress disorder, bad coping skills, very low self esteem, a stressful job that barely lets her make ends meet, can’t make friends very well and a love life that is a couple deaths short of a Greek tragedy. I am the only person she has to talk to, help her out with things, etc.

Right now she is being evicted from her apartment and has been looking for a place to live. A veteran used a VA loan to buy the duplex that she has lived in for 10 years. As VA loans make you live in the place you buy (I think for a year), and the other apartment is on a new lease, my mom is being evicted out of hers.

She has only been working for about 11 years and that came at the end of a divorce to a bad man. She doesn’t make much money, doesn’t have much of a savings and is now forced to either rent a crappy apartment (there are not many nice rentals in this town) or buy a small house. She has chosen the latter and is buying a small house in a bad neighborhood. Most of the house was renovated, but it still needs work. Of course, I am the only person she has that can help her do this work, help her move, etc.

I am basically the only person my grandparents have too. They live an hour away and I go down their often to help them, probably not as often as I should though.

My fiancée is a different story. She is really the only person I have that I can ask for help as everyone else either lives too far away, is not in a position to help me with anything, or is the one always asking me for help. Though I am reluctant to ask her for help; instead just drawing strength from being with her and having her and the kids in my life. She gets mad at me for this and chews me out for not asking her to help lighten my load. I guess I just became used to doing everything on my own, helping and supporting everyone else. I don’t really know how to ask for myself. Besides, she works swing shifts and graveyards, has two kids, and is going to school full time. She is Superwoman for pulling all of that off! Her strength is one of the many things I love about her and I know she would be strong enough to handle anything I ask of her too. However, when she is already facing so much on a daily basis, how can I ask her for help?

By the way, Jen, if you are reading this. I love you and thank you for everything you do for me. I’ll see you tonight 🙂

Last week an old friend and his wife came in from out of town. As his wife and my fiancée were inside Dennys, getting to know one another, we were outside so he could smoke. He looked at me and said “You used to be the laid back one out of the group. Now you are wound really tight and kind of angry and cold. What happened? I’m worried about you.”

My fiancée agreed with him when I told her about his concern.

A few weeks ago, at the end of the work day, my supervisor came in my office, sat down, looked at me and said “I’m worried about you. You are always doing everything for everyone else, taking care of everyone else. I can see it in your eyes. You need to take some time for yourself and start focusing on yourself more.”

At that point my office phone rang, I was needed for an emergency mishap. I ended up working an hour and a half over that night, almost missing a dinner date with my fiancée and the girls.

Categories: Family, Friends, General, Life, Work | Tags: , , , , , | 1 Comment

Tank 2

Tank 2

Another one of me on an old tank.

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tank6.jpg

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Me on old Tank 1

Me on old Tank 1

Sometimes at work I get to see some really really neat stuff. Old boneyard of military equipment like this is just one of the cool things.

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Daily Prompt: Pleading the 5th

What question do I hate to be asked? I hate, absolutely hate, are questions about the future. Where do you see yourself in x-amount of years? What are your hopes? What are your dreams? etc.

For some reason I hate these questions and have a hard time answering them. Why? Not sure really….just do. 

Categories: Work | Tags: | 1 Comment

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