Monday, September 21, 2009

Monday Musings

My friend Joe is going to leave us in a few days. Joe hates foo-foo, frilly, girly stuff. So, naturally, the women in the office teamed up to decorate his desk with as much pink, foo-foo, frilly stuff as they could find. I don't think you can find anything pink in the BX today ... it's all been dumped on Joe's desk.

Joe got a lot of going-away gifts. (Yes, we have a strange custom here ... we wait until somebody has already cleaned out their stuff and pared their belongings down to what can fit into an airplane carry-on, and then we give 'em lots of new stuff to take with them. Makes sense, no? No.) If you've been reading my blog for a while, you know that burgers have a special place in the hearts of the Band of Buddies. So here's what I gave Joe:

Camp Hope Burger
Oil on canvas, 4"x5"

We had a big storm blow through here the other evening. I was driving back to the office when it hit. It was amazing - we had a "tan-out": the blowing dust was so thick that I could not see the sides of the road, and the only way I saw the vehicle ahead of me was because of his taillights. I completely missed the turn-in to my building (the turn-in is about the size of an entire Wal-Mart parking lot), but found the entrance to the back lot. The wind and dust was dying down, but then the rain hit. Wow. BIG drops - the kind that make an audible "blop" when they hit, only they were loaded down with all the dust in the air, so they were really mud drops. I, of course, had my white shirt on. It became a white-and-brown-polka-dot shirt. Fortunately, I got it in the washing machine a little later and it cleaned up okay.

The wind, though, evidently played havoc with communications systems all over the place. Our internet in our rooms was knocked out and has been up intermittently since then. It's been bad at work, too - our satellite antenna got blown all over the roof and it took our IT guys a couple of days to get our system back up to a somewhat-unacceptable level. All this right at the end of the fiscal year, too. Our cost and budget people are about to go postal.

Last week, I wrote a post about our support contractors being sent home. The ones who are leaving have all left now. Yes, they can be sent home that quickly. Fortunately for us, some of them will be doing more or less the same jobs from back in the States. The difficulties we face are the 7 or 8 hour time difference, the fact that they're only working 40 hours a week instead of the 65+ that we are, and they're off on Saturdays and Sundays, which are regular workdays here. But at least we have some support. The reason for all this? Money. We don't have as many projects underway anymore, so we don't need as many people helping us. Even for those who are still needed, there is a big cost savings to moving them back. It costs an obscene amount of money to have an engineering and management support contractor in-country, but the same person working in the States only costs a ridiculous sum. And the difference between an obscene amount and a ridiculous amount is quite significant. Sometimes I think I'm on the wrong side of the business. But then, I still have a job, and most of them don't ... hello, unemployment line!

1 comment:

David M said...

The Thunder Run has linked to this post in the blog post From the Front: 09/23/2009 News and Personal dispatches from the front and the home front.