- Posted October 6, 2013 by
This iReport is part of an assignment:
Shutdown over: What next?
Furlough – Day 5 – Recap
The week started with the ominous cloud of the shutdown and a possible furlough hanging over us. Ironically, this came right on the heels of National Public Lands Days (NPLD), the United States largest service day for public lands where thousands of volunteers across the country their time to their local parks, forests, recreation areas, refuges, etc. Started in 1994, it is a celebration of our public lands and the support and partnerships that keep them beautiful and open.
Monday was supposed to be a day of clean-up post-NPLD and a start of a series of projects that our remnant seasonal staff would complete by week’s end. However, with a shutdown looming and October notorious for cold spells and even snow, we had to completely shift gears and begin winterization procedures. Furthermore, knowing that only a handful of Law Enforcement Rangers and possibly some “essential” administrative staff would be checking on our site all buildings, vehicles, equipment, etc. had to be secured. For me it was frustrating not knowing if we were wasting a critical project day or being proactive. In some ways both turned out to be true.
Tuesday, already written about at length, was a whirlwind of emotions, insanity, and shutting down. Leaving after my required four hours to ensure the safety of my site, I headed back to town to sit at home, wonder and wait. A process and state of being that has evolved rather than end over the last few days.
Wednesday was the “what the heck I am going to do with myself” mixed with a “how am I going to pay the bills if this stupid thing drags on for weeks” kind of day. I checked on-line news sites like an addict looks for a fix.
By Thursday I was fed-up (pardon the pun) with constant posts from individuals who questioned the value of the government services shut down since, according to them and a few narrow minded news syndicates (slimdown anyone?), things were continuing to run just fine with only essential and on-call personnel. This unbelievably narrow minded interpretation of current events led me, and many others, to expound on the value of civil servants. Ironically this was also the day that several posts were made about feds on furlough volunteering their time. I myself went and volunteered my time for a local organization that morning to help with their service program.
By Friday my need for a “CNN fix” had diminished and I had somewhat resigned myself to the fact our great leaders in Washington D.C. were not going to be able to step out of the Playground Politics. I had almost zero faith that they would accomplish anything of value for me and my 800,000 fellow feds by close of business. From this I drew upon my knowledge of history, as limited as it is, to offer some comparison and a bit of shaming to our representatives.
Saturday, with children home from school, and plans already in place I tried to refocus on life without furloughs. Off duty and in no official capacity I attended my site’s annual volunteer celebration and recognition barbecue. It was fun, though the mood was reserved and frustrated by current events. After the celebration I came home, played with my kids, and went for a walk to sort out my state of being.
I have no idea what is to happen next. Depending on the news sites and what article you read we could stay like this for at least a couple more weeks, we could be ended tomorrow (oh if Mr. House of Representatives would just allow that vote), we might go back to work on a six week CR, or some other new morass of political antics and feather ruffling will rear its ugly head and send us all back to the stone age.
By the end of Saturday all I could think of was how much of a waste this whole thing was. All of it makes me sick. And with that sick, almost sinking feeling, that continues to wash over me I have to ask the question, does our government and political process need a complete review?