As part of our governor’s plan to try to close the state’s
budget deficit, all state employees are required to be furloughed a certain
number of days each year over the next two years. It’s a neat trick that
amounts to about a 3 percent pay cut while really costing the state next to
nothing in personnel power. The reason? They mandate that we can’t be
furloughed on days in which we’d be doing actual work (i.e. teaching class,
attending faculty meetings etc.). They also managed to mandate specific days
where we HAVE TO be off. Of course those are days, like today, where most of us
were probably off anyway or doing very little.
Unfortunately, for those of us who are workaholics/faculty
members, there is always work to be done. I’ve got homework to grade, contests
to judge and research to tweak. Alas, I figure if the state is all powerful
enough to create a “The Day the Earth Stood Still” moment on all government
offices, I figure they likely can manage to track my movements on a day like today.
Don’t want to be sent to prison for failing to have a day off. So here’s the
official diary record of how the furlough went, in hopes of both inspiring you
and making sure the state doesn’t set up camp in my lower rectal tract:
6:18 a.m.: Woke up. Peed. Forgot it was a day off and almost
got into the shower. Some habits are hard to break. Smelled the residual scent
of turkey and kind of figured things out before going back to bed.
7:32 a.m.: Woke up again. Peed. Again. Man, either I’ve got to stop
drinking or I need to talk to my doctor about this. Seriously, those
commercials about the guys peeing like they’rethat little boy fountain keep me
up at night.
7:50 a.m.: The Midget, from a dead sleep, either yelled “No More Turkey!” It’s going to be a long day.
8:20 a.m.: The Missus got up. She’s working from 10-3 today
at the local Y. I almost want to tuck a copy of“The Charge of the Light Brigade” in her backpack.
8:35 a.m.: Missus got into the shower, I got up to start
writing this. In extracting the laptop from the backpack, I was very careful
not to touch anything else. Send CSI: Boonies over if you don’t believe me…
9:10 a.m. Got out of bed. Fought the urge to pee. In some
ways this has to be psychosomatic right? Headed to the kitchen to determine
what breakfast will be. There were four of us, including the Midget last night
at supper. We made a 15 pound turkey. The Missus then made a massive kettle of
turkey soup. I’m sure I will spend days walking around the houselike Bubba
from Forrest Gump muttering, “Turkey sandwich, turkey soup, turkey stew, turkey
9:15 a.m.: Settled on a plate of stuffing and turkey with
gravy. Sometimes, you have to embrace your destiny. This was the first year we
didn’t have the “So what kind of stuffing do we want?” argument. The Missus is
a rice stuffing person. I am a traditionalist of a different sort: dried bread
with apples, celery and giblets. The giblets are the best part in my book. Mom
got them into me very early in life before I could ask too many questions. I’m
sure this is how drug addiction starts…
9:30 a.m.: My brother-in-law emerged from the basement. He
came over for the holiday and was heading out early for home. Strange
discussion before we left:
Me: “I need a professional respirator for Christmas. It’ll
help when I’m working with wood and with chemicals.”
Him: “Nah, I ascribe to the Buffalo Theory.”
Me: “Buffalo Theory?”
Him: “Yeah, your brain cells are like buffalo herds. You’ve
got to kill off the slow-moving members so the herd can advance more quickly.”
Any wonder why smart people and buffalo are harder to come
9:35 a.m.: The Midget wakes up coughing uncontrollably and
then says, “I OK!” This is her new thing: follow up something that’s obviously
wrong with a “I OK!” in hopes we will believe her. She does this while
coughing, knocking crap over, falling down the stairs or whatever. The cough
she’s had for a while hasn’t gotten better, so we’ve got her on antibiotics. Of
course, now she’s constantly on us: “Is it time for my pill?”
9:40 a.m.: Offered the Midget some of my turkey and
stuffing. She hid behind her pink teddy bear and pretended not to be there. She
then coughed and said, “I OK!” We’re crossing “cat burglar” and “international
spy” of her list of potential careers.
10 a.m.: We’re watching “Bee Movie” for about the
8,353,123,455th time. There is something to be said for On Demand.
That said, I’m getting to the point where I remember why I hated “Seinfeld.”
10:09 a.m.: Conversation:
Midget: “Daddy, are you tired?”
Me: “Yes, sweet pea. Are you?”
Her: (Smiles, hides behind the bear, makes the bear dance)
Cough cough… “I OK!”
We then talk about the day. We need to take a drive and I
finally got the heat fixed in the classic car. When I said we could take it out
one last time, she asked if we could take the Civic. I don’t think my kid gets
10:12 a.m.: Ken of the Bee Movie: “I made a new resume into
a fold-out brochure. See? It folds out.” I’m on a search committee and I’ve
seen a number of people who follow the Ken Model. Got news for you: It’s not
impressive. Want to stand out? Be good at what you’re doing.
10:14 a.m.: Accidentally logged into my work email. Waiting
for the state workers who track this stuff to kick in my door. Wait… they’re on
furlough too… Wait… NOOOOOOO!!!!! THE CAKE IS A LIE!!!!!!!
10:30 a.m.: No reports of dead Wal-Mart workers in a Black
Friday Stampede this year. Of course, the day is still young…
10:32 a.m.: Time to shower or something. I decided against
shaving today. Wandered the house for about five minutes emulating the scene
from “Mr. Mom” where he gets shot through his favorite shirt.
10:47 a.m.: Got out of the shower, weighed myself and
immediately shaved. I need every ounce I can get.
10:50 a.m.: Argument with the Midget:
Me: “You need to wear pants.”
Me: “We’re going bowling. You have to wear pants to bowl.”
Her: “Not these panties. I want Ariel.”
Me: “Is this Ariel?”
Her: “No. This is Belle.”
Me: “Is this Ariel?”
Her: “No. That’s Ariel’s friend.”
Me: “No one is going to see her.”
Her: “I can show people!”
Me: “Uh… OK, let’s find Ariel…”
11 a.m.: Midget finishes the Bee Movie and immediately turns
to Miss Spider’s Sunny Patch. Apparently bugs are raising our youth.
11:14 a.m.: Midget emerges from her hiding area with a fist
full of about $50. “I bring my money.” I have no idea where the hell she got
that kind of money or where she’s been hiding it. She is part squirrel.
The smell of turkey farts is killing me. We need to leave
Time to head to the bowling alley. We’ll fill in with part