Does it seem to you 2009 passed quickly? It's been an odd year for me, and although I've been busier than I'd like, from my viewpoint the year hasn't passed quickly. There are normally four pilots assigned to my base at my EMS job. Two pilots work 12 hours/7 days, then two pilots work the next seven while the others take that week off. Working 7 in a row can be tiring sometimes, depending on flight frequency and weather, but being able to take seven days off without using vacation is wonderful. But with the exception of a short stint for a couple months this year, there's been a problem at our workplace for a little over a year now... we've been short a pilot at our base. Obviously, that means we've had to change our schedule dramatically. We've gone to six-day shifts, working days one shift, nights the next, with a three day break in between. The result is that instead of our normal 42 hour workweek, we end up working 56 hours per week. Yes, that extra time is at time-and-a-half, which means my W-2 will be fat this year. But the three days off between shifts leaves little time for travel, and taking vacation puts a real burden on the remaining pilots who are already working 56 hours/week. It's been hard, and there's no end to it in sight right now.
The year has been a mixed bag for our family.
We remain healthy, thank God. My son lost his full-time job early in 2009 and was fortunate to have several part-time jobs to keep his head above water. The new year finds him going back to work at a job he's THRILLED with, although it required a move to Los Angeles... a place I'm convinced people only live because they are stuck there. (I joke, sorta.)
Sara Jean has now been a self-employed house-cleaner for almost thirty years. She loves her work and the people she works for, and the business allows her to mold her schedule around mine when we want to travel. Her hands and wrists are beginning to cause her trouble. I'm sure what she is experiencing is repetitive-task injury, and I'm just as sure she'll have trouble with arthritis or some other joint problem as she ages. We are having to take a close look at the possibility of her retirement and the impact that will have on our finances.
I have always been outspoken. I'm warned by superiors that I can be "intimidating" to fellow employees. I accept that as true. I'm getting old, but I've been flying helicopters 42 years now and I do my job well. I get angry with those that don't do their job well, don't do their job enthusiastically, and those that impede me from doing my job well. I've analyzed this situation for years and have come to accept the fact that I'm just a complete JERK, socially. I forgive myself for that. The election of Bozama was a trigger for me, and this year I decided to take one more step...
My life is growing short, and I don't intend to allow idiots to degrade it... (please note, the above work schedule has focused my mind on "quality time"). Be an idiot in my presence and I'll do my best to make you go away. Henceforth, to the extent I can, I intend to enjoy my life by sharing it only with non-idiots. This means many so called "friends", family, and acquaintances will be on probation until they find the "Non-Idiot" button. The results of this action? You'd be amazed at how my blood pressure has dropped.
So what does the future hold? Regular readers know I'm worried. Our country's leadership is doing everything it possibly can to devalue our currency. They seem to be doing everything they can to punish wage-earners and reward strap-hangers. They are making it as difficult as possible to keep work here in the U.S. by increasing taxes and passing stupid regulations to increase the cost of doing business. I think talk of an improving economy is a lie. I think talk of an improving housing market is a lie. I think we are in big, BIG trouble and it is just a question of time before "difficulties" start. If this health care catastrophe passes, the damage may be irreversible.
I continue to "Hope for the best, while planning for the worst."
And to that extent, I'm surrounding myself with true friends, and separating myself from idiots.
How 'bout you?
UPDATED, 2 JANUARY-
Theo nails it!