What Annoys Jeff this Week?

1. Panera. About once every three months lunch from Panera Bread sounds like a good idea. I’ll walk in, order something that sounds tasty, get it back to my desk, and then promptly be disappointed that it wasn’t as good as I had hoped. It’s not their fault. If I would just show up and order soup and a bread bowl everything would turn out alright. This dissatisfaction is precisely what I get for walking in and trying something new when I already know there’s something on the menu that I like… but apparently I need periodic $10-12 reminders of why new things are bad.

2. Politics isn’t personal. Hard as it is to believe, I don’t hate people who have the audacity to disagree with my political positions. It’s never occurred to me to pick or maintain friendships based on whether anyone approves or disapproves of the right to bear arms, or to have an abortion, or on tax policy. Politics, in my mind at least, is mostly a “business” function. Although many of my beliefs are deeply held and intensely personal, I’m smart enough to know instinctively that with about 300 million other Americans all wandering around with their own moral compass and free will, there’s a chance that some of them might disagree with my positions. Some of them might even disagree intensely. That’s fine. Once upon a time that kind of disagreement was even considered healthy in a democracy… but that never stopped people from being able to share a drink or a meal together across the aisle. That sort of thing is probably out of fashion now, but fortunately that’s not something likely to dissuade me.

3. Game of Thrones. The idea that it’s going to be another twelve months before another Game of Thrones episode airs is just really sinking in. As much as I appreciate its far ranging filming locations and production values second to none, I despise the HBO programming model that delivers only ten new episodes per season. Although it’s apples and oranges, the first season of Star Trek booked a whopping 29 episodes. Sure, It’s a classic first world problem, but since I live in the first world that’s usually the kind I tend to encounter. It just feels a bit like perhaps there’s a happy medium that falls somewhere between the 11th and 29th episodes.

In the stretch…

The last two weeks have been the longest stretch since I moved in that something hasn’t gone horribly wrong. Nothing has broken. Nothing is leaking. There’s no new mold to report. No one has dropped of a junk car in the driveway. Things have settled into a relative state of normal. If anything, normal makes me nervous. It’s like the prelude to something worse. The calm before the storm if you will. It’s the new normal, means that I’m in a perpetual state of waiting on the other shoe to drop.

I should probably just embrace it and try to ride out the last two days of the workweek into a long weekend and trip home. There will be plenty of time for mayhem and chaos after Sunday. For now what I really need is a nice calm couple of days leading into what is looking likely to be the closest thing I do this year to taking a summer vacation. All is well. Things are good and my stress level is way, way down… so why do I feel the need for some all-American debauchery bubbling just under the surface?

Rolling boil…

I got an email on Monday night from the property manager (after talking to the actual homeowner) stating emphatically that he would be in on Wednesday (that would be today) to address the laundry list of things that were broken in the house and/or to haul away junk left by the previous tenant. Being 7:30 here in the east coast, I think it’s now officially safe to say that he isn’t coming today. What has been a low simmer most of the week is now a rolling boil. That small bit of sympathy I had yesterday? Yeah, that’s pretty well gone. The good will of being new to the neighborhood and not wanting the first thing I do to be make waves is worn off completely. Now I pretty much want to be a pain in the ass until everything is resolved to my satisfaction. I wonder how many phone calls a day I get before it’s technically harassment?

A sign of life…

After another week of ponderous waiting, I was given another gentle reminder that this thing up north might actually work out. I got to spend a few minutes talking to a to individual who will act as my “sponsor” during the transition and in-processing period. It wasn’t exactly the call from HR that I have been waiting for, but it’s a sign of life. At this point on the long, torturous process I seem to be overly given to looking for signs and reading tea leaves. Absent the magic moment when they throw the switch from tentative to official, that is probably as good as it’s going to get. After nine months, you’d think that I would be use to waiting for things to happen.

The ability of the system to make the simple things hard is never far from my thoughts these days. Since this whole exercise involves filling out some paperwork and moving my electrons from one database to another, it’s still hard to understand how it could possibly take as long as it does. The irony is that once they pull the trigger, they’ll probably want to give me a short reporting date and wonder why I can’t get out of here with a whole two weeks notice. I’ve been around this Army long enough to know better than spend a dime making preparations without a set of orders in hand. So, I hurry up and wait.

Marking time…

Whomever decided that patience is a virtue should be clubbed about the head and neck like a baby seal. I can only assume that anyone who thought sitting around quietly waiting for something to happent to them, must not have had much worth waiting for coming their direction. Yet, here I sit; anything but patient and without the first thing to do about it other than continue sitting here waiting. That and railing against the virtue of patience, of course. I suppose they can make me wait, but there’s no power in heaven or on earth that can make me like it… or even want to like it. Gratification has been sufficiently deferred and I want it now, damnit.

Yes, if you’re wondering, it feels better now that I’ve said that. I’ll be busy marking time if anyone needs me.


If anyone is following along at home, tonight’s update is just a brief note to say that this morning’s interview went well. That is to say as well as an interview can go when the prospect of the interviewer being able to make an offer anytime in the near future is completely unknown. Like all my other sit downs with selecting officials from across the Mid-Atlantic, this office is also subject to my nemesis the hiring freeze. That unfortunate circumstance notwithstanding, I’m comfortable that I delivered the best pitch possible… and now we’re back to the waiting game. That’s progress.