What Annoys Jeff this Week?

1. AFGE Local 1904. Here we are 18 weeks past the “end of max telework” and the union, such as it is, still hasn’t come through on delivering the new and improved telework agreement. So, we’re still grinding along with only two days a week like pre-COVID barbarians… as if 30 months of operating nearly exclusively through telework didn’t prove that working from home works. All this is ongoing while hearing stories of other organizations tucked in next door that are offering their people four or five day a week work from home options. It’s truly a delight working for the sick man of the enterprise. There’s probably plenty of blame to go around, but since the updated and perfectly acceptable policy for supervisors was published 18 weeks ago, I’m going to continue to go ahead and put every bit of blame on Local 1904 for failing to deliver for their members (and those of us who they “represent” against our will) for not getting this shit done. No one’s interest is served by their continued intransigence and the elected “leaders” of 1904 should be embarrassed and ashamed of themselves.

2. People. I was pumping gas Monday morning. While standing there waiting for the Jeep to drink its fill, I watched someone pull in to the pump next to me and then realize that his filler cap was on the other side of their car. A normal person might just pull around to one of the ten open pumps, but not this hero. He proceeded to do a 37-point turn right there under the canopy so he could use that specific pump. I try not to stare when obviously stupid people are going through their life, but this was one of those times when I really just could look away. Neither it seems could the pother 4 or 5 people there pumping gas as we all exchanged looks of surprise while this was taking place. I’ve long since gotten use to people being stupid in public, but this feels like an exceptional example of why we should just let Darwin do his thing.

3. Chickens (but really people). Every third or fourth story I’ve seen this week is about people running out and buying their own flock of chickens to “get cheap eggs.” Sure, a few people might make a go of it, but the time John and Jane Average get to the point where their hens are laying, their eggs are going to have cost $48 a dozen if the price in the startup costs,  feed and accessories, and built that darling little henhouse wifey saw on Pinterest… and that’s assuming they manage to keep the birds alive and don’t completely lose interest somewhere in week three.

What Annoys Jeff this Week?

1. AFGE Local 1904. Here we are 17 weeks past the “end of max telework” and the union, such as it is, still hasn’t come through on delivering the new and improved telework agreement. So, we’re still grinding along with only two days a week like pre-COVID barbarians… as if 30 months of operating nearly exclusively through telework didn’t prove that working from home works. All this is ongoing while hearing stories of other organizations tucked in next door that are offering their people four or five day a week work from home options. It’s truly a delight working for the sick man of the enterprise. There’s probably plenty of blame to go around, but since the updated and perfectly acceptable policy for supervisors was published 17 weeks ago, I’m going to continue to go ahead and put every bit of blame on Local 1904 for failing their members (and those of us who they “represent” against our will) for not getting this shit done.

2. Home cooking. Week in and week out I make variations of the same 20 or so recipes. Most of them are easy. Most of the are the living definition of comfort food. I want to branch out with more options. I mean as much as I like it, even I don’t want a roast every Sunday. I also don’t want to waste a limited amount of time, not to mention the weekly food budget, by inadvertently making something new and different that just so happens to taste like broiled shit… which is why I always end up sticking with variations on the tried and true 20. It’s a vicious cycle. 

3. Tim Hortons. For years we had the most southerly outpost of the Canadian staple coffee shop in the lobby of our building. Despite their best efforts to recover and reopen when employees started to trickle back to the office in small numbers, they didn’t survive the Great Plague. Now, Tim’s wasn’t what you’d call great, but they were tasty enough, portion sizes were decent, and they had the undeniable virtue of being right there in the building on days when it happened to be raining or when it was ten degrees with the wind blowing 20 miles per hour. I realize now that I probably didn’t appreciate them enough. I find myself missing my regular 2:00 donuts and having the option for a frozen yogurt.  

What Annoys Jeff this Week?

1. AFGE Local 1904. Here we are 16 weeks past the “end of max telework” and the union, such as it is, still hasn’t come through on delivering the new and improved telework agreement. So, we’re still grinding along with only two days a week like pre-COVID barbarians… as if 30 months of operating nearly exclusively through telework didn’t prove that working from home works. All this is ongoing while hearing stories of other organizations tucked in next door that are offering their people four or five day a week work from home options. It’s truly a delight working for the sick man of the enterprise. There’s probably plenty of blame to go around, but since the updated and perfectly acceptable policy for supervisors was published 16 weeks ago, I’m going to continue to go ahead and put every bit of blame on Local 1904 for failing their members (and those of us who they “represent” against our will) for not getting this shit done.

2. Missing motivation. You know it’s bad when I don’t even want to sit down and write. I do more reading on days like that, so it’s a bit of a trade off, but still, it’s not exactly good tidings. I’m assuming my current lack of being motivated by anything is part and parcel of the mid-winter doldrums when the yard is a mud pit, I see very little sunlight, and the temperature very rarely claws above 50 degrees. It’s about as bland a time of year as you could ask for and it can’t help, it seems, from seeping into my bones. The days, though, are ever so slightly longer than they were a month ago, so help on the way. Probably.

3. National sales tax. Republicans are currently hung up on pushing a national sales tax. If it were to, in fact, replace the current Byzantine income tax regime with a dead simple x% addition to the cost of goods and services, I could probably get behind it. What the whole program will end up being, though, is a sales tax in addition to an income tax. I mean even if, despite all odds against, Republicans manage to implement a sales tax and eliminate the income tax, does anyone really believe that some future Congress wouldn’t come back to the income tax trough so that John Q. Taxpayer ends up getting hit with both a federal sales and income tax? In the absence of a Constitutional amendment declaring for all time that income taxes are abolished, I’m a hard “no” on a national sales tax.

What Annoys Jeff this Week?

1. AFGE Local 1904. Here we are 15 weeks past the “end of max telework” and the union, such as it is, still hasn’t come through on delivering the new and improved telework agreement. So, we’re still grinding along with only two days a week like pre-COVID barbarians… as if 30 months of operating nearly exclusively through telework didn’t prove that working from home works. All this is ongoing while hearing stories of other organizations tucked in next door that are offering their people four or five day a week work from home options. It’s truly a delight working for the sick man of the enterprise. There’s probably plenty of blame to go around, but since the updated and perfectly acceptable policy for supervisors was published 15 weeks ago, I’m going to continue to go ahead and put every bit of blame on Local 1904 for failing their members (and those of us who they “represent” against our will) for not getting this shit done.

2. Eggs. You can’t swing a dead chicken without reading or hearing a story about the price of eggs. People like eggs, you see. The current period of inflation has coincided with a months-long bird flu outbreak that has hit domestic chicken flocks particularly hard. Even if we assume that demand for eggs has been stable, there are fewer chickens laying them and therefore fewer eggs coming to market. With the product in shortage, the price has increased markedly. It’s not a plot. It’s not surprising. It’s literally the fundamental free market elements of supply and demand doing their thing to find equilibrium. One more story about the sky falling really, truly, isn’t going to make a difference.

3. Humanity. I read a lot. No shock there. This week I’ve been served up several articles about computers or AI “eclipsing” humanity. To that, I mostly offer a shrug. Look around at the masterful job we’ve done running the place as the apex species. We’re collectively like the kid that was sent to school and eats his textbook. Why not let AI run the show for a while? Do we really think it’ll make a worse hash of things or are we terrified it would do better?

What Annoys Jeff this Week?

AFGE Local 1904. Here we are 14 weeks past the “end of max telework” and the union, such as it is, still hasn’t come through on delivering the new and improved telework agreement. So, we’re still grinding along with only two days a week like pre-COVID barbarians… as if 30 months of operating nearly exclusively through telework didn’t prove that working from home works. All this is ongoing while hearing stories of other organizations tucked in next door that are offering their people four or five day a week work from home options. It’s truly a delight working for the sick man of the enterprise. There’s probably plenty of blame to go around, but since the updated and perfectly acceptable policy for supervisors was published 14 weeks ago, I’m going to continue to go ahead and put every bit of blame on Local 1904 for failing their members (and those of us who they “represent” against our will) for not getting this shit done.

The GOP. It’s been a hundred years since a majority party in the House of Representatives failed to elect a Speaker on the first ballot. It’s a level of ineptitude that would be shocking if it weren’t so entirely predictable among members of what passes for the Republican Party. Government is serious business for serious people – and this slimmest of majorities has led off the 118th Congress in the most embarrassing way possible in not being able to conclude the most basic step of leading that chamber without devolving into a useless conglomeration of cockwombles. My level expectation of them being able to do anything else over the next two years is less than nil. 

The rut. Once upon a time, I use to believe that you were supposed to come back to work after time off feeling refreshed and energized. Maybe others do, but I came back from my long Christmas break no more excited or motivated than when I left. If anything, the time away left me even less enthused by the day-to-day after two weeks of doing “not work.” It’s a rut, to be sure. Uncle’s gold-plated fetters make it unlikely that any real changes are in the offing, so getting my head around this just being how I’m going to feel for at least the next 12 years is… troubling.

What Annoys Jeff this Week?

It’s been an easy, work free week filled with book hunting… but there’s one thing worth mentioning. It’s the annoyance that keeps on giving and gets more and more inexplicable the longer it continues. Incompetence? Indifference? Inability? Yeah. The world may never know. So here’s the one thing in this week’s list:

AFGE Local 1904. Here we are 13 weeks past the “end of max telework” and the union, such as it is, still hasn’t come through on delivering the new and improved telework agreement. So, we’re still grinding along with only two days a week like pre-COVID barbarians… as if 30 months of operating nearly exclusively through telework didn’t prove that working from home works. All this is ongoing while hearing stories of other organizations tucked in next door that are offering their people four or five day a week work from home options. It’s truly a delight working for the sick man of the enterprise. There’s probably plenty of blame to go around, but since the updated and perfectly acceptable policy for supervisors was published 13 weeks ago, I’m going to continue to go ahead and put every bit of blame on Local 1904 for failing their members (and those of us who they “represent” against our will) for not getting this shit done.

What Annoys Jeff this Week?

1. AFGE Local 1904. Here we are 12 weeks past the “end of max telework” and the union, such as it is, still hasn’t come through on delivering the new and improved telework agreement. So, we’re still grinding along with only two days a week like pre-COVID barbarians… as if 30 months of operating nearly exclusively through telework didn’t prove that working from home works. All this is ongoing while hearing stories of other organizations tucked in next door that are offering their people four or five day a week work from home options. It’s truly a delight working for the sick man of the enterprise. There’s probably plenty of blame to go around, but since the updated and perfectly acceptable policy for supervisors was published 12 weeks ago, I’m going to continue to go ahead and put every bit of blame on Local 1904 for failing their members (and those of us who they “represent” against our will) for not getting this shit done.

2. Cold. Yes, I know it’s winter. There may have been a time when I literally walked uphill in the snow to go to school (thanks FSU), but the intervening decades have left me out of practice and utterly stripped of whatever native ability to embrace this kind of weather that I developed in my youth. I’m not saying I want it to be perennially 75 and sunny like in southern California, but don’t expect me to appreciates lows in the single digits and wind chills plummeting well below that. Winter is absolutely the dumbest season.

3. Perception. Being that it’s now Thursday, I’ve been off for almost a week now. It feels like approximately 37 minutes have elapsed. I’ve done a bit of book hunting, punched holes in big sheets of paper, and tended to a few other odds and ends that needed doing… and the days are just screaming by in a blur. Don’t get me wrong here, it’s a good problem to have, but I wish a week off felt even half as long as the standard week at work. 

What Annoys Jeff this Week?

1. AFGE Local 1904. Here we are 11 weeks past the “end of max telework” and the union, such as it is, still hasn’t come through on delivering the new and improved telework agreement. So, we’re still grinding along with only two days a week like pre-COVID barbarians… as if 30 months of operating nearly exclusively through telework didn’t prove that working from home works. All this is ongoing while hearing stories of other organizations tucked in next door that are offering their people four or five day a week work from home options. It’s truly a delight working for the sick man of the enterprise. There’s probably plenty of blame to go around, but since the updated and perfectly acceptable policy for supervisors was published 11 weeks ago, I’m going to continue to go ahead and put every bit of blame on Local 1904 for failing their members (and those of us who they “represent” against our will) for not getting this shit done.

2. Feigned concern. Suddenly, with cryptocurrency crashed off its highs, and big players in that universe collapsing, and taking hundreds of millions of dollars in customer “investments” with them, there’s a hue and cry that something must be done. You didn’t hear much of that when early adopters were making millions off of every dollar invested. But that’s not the point, is it? Crypto, not backed by a national economy or the full faith and credit of a government, not pegged against any number of global currencies, or even backed up by a giant vault of gold, is like walking in your local casino and putting your bet down on red. Pretending surprise and alarm that the ball dropped on black, people are now outraged. Look, I still hold Bitcoin. At its high that holding represented about 1/500th of my net worth. Now it represents somewhere less than 1/1000th. If it went to the moon, great. I’d take my winnings and go home. If it collapsed, also great. It’s a tax loss that offsets a bit of earned income. If you took a 3rd mortgage on the house and pawned everything you owned because crypto couldn’t lose, well, yeah, you’re an idiot. I know there’s a subset of popular opinion out there that believes everyone must be constantly coddled and protected against their own stupidity, but damn, sometimes stupid should be painful and people should be allowed to take their lumps.

3. Singing. You know what doesn’t happen when I’m working from home that does when I’m in the office? Well, it’s a lot of things, but the one that’s currently topping the chart is the fact that while I’m home there’s no one sitting 15 feet away with their headphones on singing at full volume like they’re the only motherfucker in the motherfucking world. I was raised to believe in valuing civil behavior, but every now and then expecting a guy not to take his red stapler and beat someone unconscious is asking a hell of a lot.

What Annoys Jeff this Week?

1. AFGE Local 1904. Here we are ten weeks past the “end of max telework” and the union, such as it is, still hasn’t come through on delivering the new and improved telework agreement. So, we’re still grinding along with only two days a week like pre-COVID barbarians… as if the last 30 months didn’t prove that working from home works. All this while hearing stories of other organizations tucked in next door that are offering their people four or five day a week work from home options. Gotta love working for the sick man of the enterprise. There’s probably plenty of blame to go around, but since the updated and perfectly acceptable policy for supervisors was published ten weeks ago, I’m going to continue to go ahead and put every bit of blame on Local 1904 for failing their members (and those who they “represent” against their will) by not getting this shit done.

2. Traffic control. When I leave for work, there are two main routes from my house to tie in to Route 40, a major track for many local commuters. There are a few other ways to get from here to there, of course, but both of those take me significantly out of my way. Wednesday morning, I was most of the way up one of these primary routes when I found the way blocked by a county deputy with his lights flashing. Behind the deputy was a rollback, diligently attempting to extract a truck who on this particular foggy morning decided to jump the ditch and attempt to climb a tree. I’m sure everyone there was doing fine work, but it might have been nice to maybe block that particular road where it starts rather than directly at the scene of the incident. It would have saved a shit ton of us a 20 minute backtrack in the dark hours of the morning.

3. Netflix. I’m usually a big fan of Netflix. I find a lot of their original programming delightful. I’m currently being entirely charmed by the first season of Wednesday. Where Netflix is falling down is their ceaseless drumbeat of emails and advertising to try to convince me to watch the newly released docudrama starring the Duke and Duchess of Sussex. Let me be clear – Netflix would have to hold a literal gun to my head to convince me to watch that absolute dumpster fire. Even then, it would be under loud and continuous protest. The level of money grubbing and attention seeking displayed by those two incredibly privileged, overly coddled twatwaffles would be breathtaking if it weren’t so transparent. Netflix might think they’re worth $100 million, but I wouldn’t give you a plug nickel for the set. I wish the happy couple every opportunity to disappear into the privacy, obscurity, and irrelevance they say they want… and that they so richly deserve. 

What Annoys Jeff this Week?

1. COLA. Retirees are getting an 8.7% cost of living adjustment for 2023. In contrast, active employees are on track for a 4.6% general pay increase. In my head it feels vaguely like those two figures should be reversed, or perhaps they should be on par. I mean a raise of 8.7% for managing to simultaneously be retired and stay alive is good work if you can get it, but it sends a bit of an odd message to the people who are still schlepping to the office and actually doing the work.

2. Planning. I spent a good portion of the last month working with my advisor to make plans and tweak accounts to make sure I didn’t run afoul of the IRS in 2023. I see yesterday that the IRS has now updated their income brackets for next year due to this year’s inflationary pressure. Those updated brackets imply there are probably a few other changes coming in the next few weeks that could very well have made the last month’s work mostly or wholly unnecessary. Sure, it would be nice to have a little more cap space for IRAs and 401ks next year, but it also means I could have kicked my own planning down the road for a year or two before needing to make changes in how we do things.

3. The union. We’re three weeks past returning to the office under a pre-plague telework agreement that allows for working from home no more than two days a week. It’s also been three weeks since personnel not covered under the union contract were rolled up under their new agreement that allows them to work from home three days each week. In these last three weeks, there has been absolutely no communication from AFGE Local 1904 about why they’re continuing to hold up this benefit for the rest of us. I have no idea what they’re thinking, but they’re making management look downright reasonable, accommodating, and open handed. We’re rapidly approaching a point where I’m going to be willing to pay some dues so I can show up and be an antagonistic bastard at every single meeting they have.