No in depth discussion tonight. No rants. No raves. Just a guy ready to catch a few hours of sleep before loading up the dogs (and the air mattress) and heading east. It’s been a long time coming. I’ll miss the house… And even a few of the people I’ve met here, but it’s time. I’m ready.

Slightly chilled feet…

The moving truck has come and gone. I’m sitting here in the living room with the iPad perched dangerously on one knee and the 18 inch television sitting on Rubermaid tub. The dogs are in a general state of confusion and there’s still the must have essentials that need to be jammed into the Tundra tomorrow night. I don’t want to say I had a moment of doubt sitting here, but it was sort of the “ah ha” moment when I realized that this is reality now and not some half baked scheme I’ve been working on for almost a year.

I know this is a great opportunity and other than the house, there’s really nothing holding me to Memphis. That’s what makes the decision easy. As much as I’m running away from a toxic job, I’m running towards the only place in the country I’ll every really think of as home. That’s really what makes the expense and general pain in the ass of moving worth while. Once I get on the road (and the property manager finds a renter) everything will crystalize and I’ll know I pulled the trigger at the right time instead of just feeling it.

With all my gear somewhere in transit, I’m ready for the departure part of this experience to be over so I can focus on the much more exciting arrival part of the program. Cross your fingers that there will be some nice dog friendly houses for rent waiting for me to take a look at on the other end. Getting away is all over but the official departure cemony. I’ll get that out of the way tomorrow and these chilly toes will be a thing of the past.

Closed door…

There’s a good chance that when I’m sitting in an office alone with the door closed I’m doing something important and I don’t want to be interrupted. The closed door should have been a dead giveaway. The shake of my head when you peered through the window could have been another good indication. The look of disbelief followed one of smoldering hatred when you walked in and started talking about getting your timesheet signed should probably have stopped you dead in your tracks. But no, despite the voices coming out of the speakerphone middle of the table, I actually had to tell you that I was on a teleconference and that no, this wasn’t a good time for us to discuss it. Actually, I think the exact phrase was “Christ on a crutch, I’m on a call here. Get the eff out.”

Fact is, I was doing a phone interview for a promotion with a different big government agency. If I don’t get the position, I know who I will forever blame for it. If my boss was sitting behind closed doors, wandering in just to discuss routine operational questions would be the furthest thing from my mind. The door’s closed for a reason. If it’s critical, I’ll make my own decision, leave a note, or send an email, but unless the fence line is about to be overrun by shotgun toting rednecks, I’m not taking it upon myself to decided whatever’s on my mind is more important than whatever the boss happens to be working on.
Good judgment, I suppose, isn’t something I should expect… but the ability of people to operate without me at my desk for 30 minutes seems like something they should be able to manage. Or not.

Editorial Note: This part of a continuing series of previously de-published blogs appearing on for the first time. This post has been time stamped to correspond to its original publication date.

Size matters…

When I was 20, I moved into and out of the dorms with all my worldly possessions in a 1991 Chevy Cavilier. At 23, I needed my first u-haul; the one that looked like a S-10 pickup truck with a panel van body. At 25, and heading from Southern Maryland to Petersburg, VA I needed the 17 foot model. at 28 and leaving Maryland for Memphis, they brought the 26 foot truck. A few days shy of 33, I’m looking at the pile of boxes that now fill every room and really think that unless they bring a full semi trailer or a 40 foot shipping container, these guys are going to be in for some serious trouble tomorrow. I’m even starting to second guess the pile of boxes earmarked for the Tunda. I’m not going into a philosophical discussion about wants versus needs or conspicuous consumption, because my brain just isn’t working on that level at the moment. Actually, it’s just barely one step above the “grunt and point” level this evening, though the fact that I’m able to communicate at all after the whirlwind weekend should be testament to human resilience.

If you’ll excuse me, I’m off to obsessively check every drawer and cabinet a few more times before collapsing into my nice comfy bed for what will probably be the last time for a few weeks.

Brass tacks…

For those of you following along at home, the great packing saga of 2011 is coming down to brass tacks. By this time tomorrow, the only thing not boxed will be the cable modem and sundry electronic gear… and by this time Monday, everything should be on a truck and headed in a north easterly direction. I’m sticking in town for a couple of extra days to wrap up the loose ends, but have every intention of being on the way myself by Wednesday. There’s still a metric crapload of things that need to get done between then and now, but for the first time, I’m starting to feel like I’ll have it all done by the time I collapse tomorrow night.

I’m going to do my best to keep posting throughout this ordeal, but if things go dark around here for a couple of days, you’ll know that I misplaced some charging cables or accidentally sent my modem with the movers. Stay tuned, this story is about to get interesting.


If you were expecting another post about the harrowing experience of packing everything you own in preparation for dragging it 900 miles across the country, I’m saving that for tomorrow. Tonight is a purely self congratulatory post celebrating the 1000th visitor for the month. Well done May, very impressive. Since half my hits lately seen to come from people looking for information on the now-defunct hiring freeze, it’s only a matter of time before things settle back to the more routine 500 view a month level. It’ll be a good long time before I gin up a topic with that kind of interest again, so I’ll savor the moment. Well, the moment and this frosty Stella Artois. Cheers!

A matter of priorities…

So far we’ve had two meetings today with the Uberboss. One topic was a training program that no one wants to participate in and the other is about a report that literally no one is going to read. How do I know that no one will read it? Easy. The office that requested the report in the first place no longer exists. But I digress.

I’m not saying that management has its priorities jacked up, but at some point in the near future, we might want to actually schedule a meeting about the year’s budget request that has been rejected twice now by the home office. Way back when dinosaurs ruled the earth and I was an MBA student, I learned that having a budget and sticking to it was among the most important things I needed to do as a manager. Maybe I missed the day when they went over the part where they were joking and really the budget was just something you should blow off since no one really needs money anyway. Or maybe he just went to a different school.

So, once again our fearless leader is at war with his own superiors. Yeah, I’m sure this is going to end well. Maybe we should just schedule a meeting to talk about new signage for office doors… Which would be funny if it weren’t already on the calendar for next week.

Editorial Note: This part of a continuing series of previously de-published blogs appearing on for the first time. This post has been time stamped to correspond to its original publication date.

What you do when you catch it…

Between stressing out over getting a job (and getting away from the one I have now), packing, getting a property manager/tenant, actually moving, finding someplace new to live, and not sliding into bankruptcy in the process, I’m going to need a vacation before I even think about being productive somewhere new and different. Then again, being officially productive will be such a different experience than I’ve had lately that it might be a tonic all by itself.

The one thing that I didn’t expect about finally getting what I’ve been after for the better part of a year was that I’d be absolutely exhausted when it happened. I’m not complaining, mind you – Just observing that at some point, I’m going to sit down and sleep for three days straight. Hopefully not in the middle of a 900 mile drive… but it won’t be long after that.

This isn’t the weekend for rest. By Sunday night, everything not in a box will be in a Hefty bag at the curb. It’s time to get gone.

It’s like House Hunters in reverse…

One of the least entertaining aspects of moving is the fact that I’m about to be the owner of two homes that there’s virtually no chance of my ever living in again. That sounds ok at first blush. Property is property, right? The real estate market always comes back, right? Right? That’s not really the down side, though, as at least intellectually, I know that at some point in the future I will be able to sell at least at the break even point. The real kick in the teeth is that at least for the forseeable future (5 years under current laws), one of these houses counts as a pure liability no matter how good a money make it is as a rental property. It seems that the fine people who make the laws and implementing regulations have decided that rental income doesn’t count as real income (except for tax purposes) until it’s been actively rented for at least five years. What that really means is that I can’t use the rental income from the house here to help me qualify for a loan on a new house. Don’t worry, though. The government is happy to treat the those funds just like regular income for tax purposes, so they’ll be sure to get their cut. Awfully nice of them, don’t you think?

I’m pretty ok with needing to rent when I get back to Maryland. Alot has changed in five years and I’m not really an expert in the northeastern part of the state. Having some time to feel out the area is probably for the best. It would still be nice to know I’d be in a position to buy if the right property and the right price happened to come along. Not much chance of that. It seems mortgage companies are a little skittish these days about writing four mortgages on a single income. Go figure.

All on the home front isn’t doom and gloom, though. It seems the property manager I’ve hired has been doing strong work in the last few days. She called tonight with a strong lead on someone who is very interested in getting into the place as soon as I can manage to get my stuff out of here. Since it hasn’t made the listings yet, I’m hopeful that’s a good sign for getting someone in here and paying the bills quickly. The mortgage writers might not consider it real income, but their accounts receivable department will sure thinks it’s the real deal. That’s a box I’ll be extraordinarily happy to have checked as quickly as possible.


Not long ago We received the following message from our Operations office: The facility will remain closed today. By direction of the Uberboss, no one will report to work. Personnel can work from home. Please check Facebook in the morning to find out if we will be open tomorrow.

This is fine, except for two issues. The first and easiest to address is that I’m pretty sure 60% of the people in this office don’t know Facebook from Foosball. It works fine for those of us who aren’t horrified by the very thought of the internet, but for the rest, well, I guess they’ll figure it out when they show up and the lights are off.

The second issue is more telling. Feeling cheeky (imagine that), I asked simply, if “personnel can work from home” means we are authorized to telework. No, came the response from the Uberboss, it means you’re authorized to work from “an alternate workplace. We don’t telework. I don’t believe in telework.” So, yeah, we’re authorized to work from home – as long as we don’t call it telework, apparently. This would be more reassuring if it wasn’t coming from the guy who thinks you need to have paper on your desk to actually qualify as doing work.

Why on earth someone would think that an information age employee needs to be physically located in an office during pre-determined hours is simply beyond me. We don’t create physical products. Our office isn’t open to customers – We’re behind a locked door, behind a security guard, behind a fence toped with razor wire for God’s sake. It’s not like a customer is going to accidentally wander in and discover that none of the project managers were actually there. The fact is we don’t telework because then the Uberboss can’t see us and would actually have to rely on managerial skill to make sure projects were being finished well and on time. Easier to just wander by, ask why there isn’t paperwork on your desk, tell you do do something random and unrelated to your primary function, and wander off to annoy the next employee.

At least I’ll never have to wonder what it’s like living in the 19th century. From where I’m sitting it seems to be filled with a whole bunch of stupid.

Editorial Note: This part of a continuing series of previously de-published blogs appearing on for the first time. This post has been time stamped to correspond to its original publication date.