Wednesday, October 2, 2013

A little humor for your Furlough

Alright. I know I just posted but if you haven't read this should. I've been flustered and irritated and panicked and about a million other adjectives, but this had me in stitches. Enjoy!

The opinion piece by Dean Obeidallah found on CNN opinion page. Too funny.

Still Furloughed...and Panicking

Well, it's me again. And yes, my dear hubby is still furloughed. And we're both still frustrated. I would like to say that we're making great use of this time taking a vacation, enjoying time off but that's the complete opposite of what we're doing. See, we don't have the money for that.

We have made some progress on some house projects (we were just in the middle of moving a few rooms around). But it's slow going. We've been working on getting caught up on laundry, which is always behind in this house. The kitchen looks nice. The real problem is this big black cloud looming over our heads, and I don't just mean the rainy, pacific northwest weather.

You see, all I've heard since the furlough is one thing. More arguing. There's a whole lot more blame going on now than there was before the shut down. This is seriously disappointing. I know everyone has their own political opinion and I'm not writing this to voice mine. Though I definitely have one. I am writing to voice my opinion on the effects this arguing has on the general public. Those that aren't deemed "essential". The one's that don't really seem to matter.

I am seriously disappointed in the President of the United States of America. He is supposed to be our Commander in Chief. Lead the people. Show everyone in this country, and the world, how Americans behave when faced with challenges. What has he shown? He has stood up in front of the country, and world, and said that this didn't have to happen. That it only happened because of one part of a political faction, in one part of the government...blah blah blah. Do you know what I hear? "It's not my fault! (waa waa waa)." When my children respond with this behavior and keep blaming one another, I make them stop the blame game and figure out a way to make each other happy. Let's try that in our government!

Let me be clear. I don't care what political party the President is a part of. I don't care what political party caused the shut down. I don't really believe it was one party, I think it was a combination of stubbornness, pride, and the next political election. What I care about is this:

How am I going to take care of my family?

So while the President, Democrats, and the Republican parties yell at each other and argue over who caused what, I worry about the longevity of this situation. I am in panic mode. And so is my husband. (And for anyone wondering, I do understand that the President is a Democrat, but as the President he's supposed to be able to rise above his political party, right? Is he doing that?)

My husband has asked the question that many Americans in this situation are asking. The one's living paycheck to paycheck only now they don't expect a paycheck, "When do I just go get another job?" Yeah...cause that's so simple in today's market.

It doesn't matter that I work from home pulling in a meager amount. That just supports what my husband brings home. What he's not bringing home now. So while politicians in DC are making exceptions for numerous parts of the government to go back to work, my husband won't be one of them. We don't live in DC, he's not part of NASA, he doesn't work for the National Parks. He has a job, an important job, but it's not on the list of exceptions. So...we'll be left in the dust with the rest of those that don't fall under those particular categories. Why doesn't our paycheck matter?

And seriously, it doesn't make me feel any better that many politicians are "donating their funds in solidarity". First off, if you have the money to donate this chunk of change to charity, or back to the US Government (yeah, I'm going to want to see the cancelled check on that one!), then you aren't feeling the hurt like the rest of us. And by the way, that's a tax write off. Well played.

You know what I'm thinking about? I really wish I'd stocked up on meat when I'd had the chance. Is it possible to feed my family one chicken breast for two meals and still satisfy their hunger?

What's your concern?

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Furloughed and Frustrated

Obviously, this isn't a happy tail or a funny anecdote. My husband, the main breadwinner in our family, has officially been furloughed. On one side, this has come at a good time since one of our babies is sick, but I've handled sick babies before and getting help at the expense of losing a paycheck is really not in the plans for us.

My frustration is in many areas. For people unaffected by this salary cut, there will likely be a lack of concern. I admit, that if it didn't affect me so greatly I would be irritated at such childish actions, but I probably wouldn't be spitting fire mad. This lesson has taught me that whether I have an invested stake in the matter or not, I should be spitting fire mad at any governmental injustice. The bottom line is this...we all need to be involved. We all need to voice our opinion. And we need to do this not at the cost of friendships-let's not act like the politicians people-but to further our own beliefs and to listen to, and yes, even possibly change our view when listening to others' opinion. That's called having an open mind for anyone unaware of that concept.

But back to the issue at hand. Here's where the problem really lies. Obamacare. Whether you want it or not, love it or hate it, we all have to admit that negotiation is the key. There is no possible way the entire country can love the same thing...we don't even have agreement on simple things like food and movies. But we should all agree that without compromise, this government will pay the price. And by government I mean the people that keep the government running since there is no real change for the wealthy politicians who continue to get paid regardless of the situation. No one wants to compromise, not the Republicans, not the Democrats, and certainly not the President. This. Is. a Problem.

And whether you support the President or not, we should all take carefully what he says. Listen, I know he's a Democrat but he is a separate entity from the rest of the Democrats because he's the President and this is his healthcare plan. And he's placing full blame on everyone else. The Republicans are blaming everyone else. The Democrats are blaming everyone else. None of them are to blame. They are right. It's not their fault.

Does this sound familiar? If you've ever been a child, been around children, or raised them you will be very familiar with this concept. It's the somebody and nobody issue. You know, somebody else is to blame and nobody is willing to take responsibility. By the time we reach adulthood we should be well beyond this childish response. Don't allow anyone to get away with this! Don't let your children and don't let adults use this as an excuse. Especially adults. And mark my words, this is the excuse that all parties are using. The President, Republicans, and Democrats. This issue has even affected the main stream. I hear friends and family saying the same thing, "It's the Republicans, not the Democrats" or "It's the Democrats, not the Republicans", "It's the President". It's all of them!!!! Sheesh!!

Do you think this would be happening if the politicians (the President included) had their paychecks cut as well? If they lived paycheck to paycheck like the majority of Americans? The reality is they don't. They don't live paycheck to paycheck, they don't have their paychecks cut. In fact, for just a short time serving the people (something most of us do in some capacity) many politicians will continue to receive exorbitant paychecks long after they have left office, in fact until they die!  If we have such a problem with the finances in this country, why don't we quit paying the politicians after they've left office. Quit paying the President when his term is over. That would put a lot of money back in the coffers. Seriously, people! This is the key to all our problems. And not only the salaries, but we also continue to pay for secret service, car service, etc. Why don't we make the political positions un-paid! Gasp!!! We could never do that! That is just a crazy suggestion.

Guess what, folks. Our forefathers didn't get paid. They were offered money and didn't take it. It was a volunteer position and our country was better for it. So let's just consider that. Just take a moment and consider whether we would be in this position if all the political offices were un-paid. Seriously...

And some Americans won't be as greatly affected as others. The military is going to continue working and continue getting their pay. Many different departments (the essentials) will continue to receive a paycheck on time. But let's be real. This doesn't make the President and congress heroes. I believe that if you work, you should get paid. Isn't that the point of working? I support the troops, and security officials. I believe their jobs are vital. But I also support getting my money as well. My husband has accrued a lot of vacation time and comp time (this is time he has earned by working over 40hrs a week and not received overtime for that he must use for days off instead). He is not allowed to use that time to balance the loss of pay. He's already worked for it and yet can't get his pay for it. My husband is a "non-essential".

We simply don't get paid. But he's essential to us. To our family. And his paycheck is essential too.

The reason behind paying military families has been credited to the fact that military families live paycheck to paycheck. Really? That's why we're going to continue paying people? No. We should continue paying the military because they are still working. For no other reason. Quit trying to turn this into something it's not. You work. You get paid. It's not really because military families live paycheck to paycheck. Because if that's part of the reason then we should get our paycheck. After all, we live paycheck to paycheck too. In fact, most of the people I know that will be furloughed and not receiving a paycheck actually do live paycheck to paycheck. Military families are not the only ones and if they were the only ones in this country that would be a bigger issue. Really, the only ones that don't struggle with finances are the politicians. So their selfless act of having their paycheck withheld or donated to charity is anything but selfless. The fact is, they don't need it. We do. Instead of donating it to charity or sending it back to the US Treasury, send it to me. I'll give you my address.

My husband hasn't had a pay increase in years. Years folks. That means that while the cost of living has increased, our pay hasn't. That means that while my husband has busted his cute little butt, he has gotten no compensation. That means that even though he should have gotten a promotion and increase in money he hasn't. The politicians have, even though they voted and agreed not to increase pay for many federal employees. That seems fair. The fact is, we have just been happy he has kept his job. He hasn't been laid off. We have been truly blessed for that fact alone and we have learned to skimp and save to compensate for his having a job with no more money while the cost of living has skyrocketed. And yet, I'm happy he's still working. He still goes to work everyday to bring home a minimal paycheck that a lot of people would squawk at while others would die for. We are the middle class. (Not the upper middle class.) And now, even though he's still employed, he's not allowed to go to work and make a paycheck. There's something wrong with that.

And this isn't his fault. It's everyone else's. It's the politicians and the President. It's all their fault!! (cross arms, stomp foot, storm off) "IT'S NOT FAIR!!!"