Monday, December 8, 2014

Confer among the conifers

One of my few pieces of hard-earned parenting wisdom which I would share with first-timers without hesitation is this: if your pre-verbal child seems the slightest bit under the weather, and you have the kind of health insurance coverage where the out-of-pocket cost of a pediatrician's visit is minimal, then take the kid to the doctor. The doctor is the medical professional who may very well be able to tell you that your toddler, who runs around in good spirits all day but then wakes up in the middle of the night inconsolable and won't go back to sleep unless it's in mom and dad's bed with random flailing and kicking thrown in for good measure, actually has a mild touch of pneumonia. Which might not have been your own first guess.

Despite our little bino receiving just such a diagnosis a few days ago (and continuing to require extra TLC sleeping arrangements even after the antibiotics course had begun) we somehow managed to get pretty far in the Christmas readiness agenda this past weekend, obtaining and putting up and decorating the tree, stringing up the outside lights, and all that. This frees us up to devote mental space and energy to Christmas shopping, and also from my perspective helps to restore a bit of equilibrium, since I am no longer commuting back and forth from an undecorated home to a hyper-decorated office. It's nice to have the consistency and not feel seasonal whiplash twice a day.

So speaking of the office and calendars and consistency, I can report as of today that things remain consistently unchanged. No word as of yet on our contract renewal. Last week I was reminding myself that the decision wasn't supposed to be made until the 15th, but then I thought about it a little longer and actually went back and re-read some of my earlier posts (which, no kidding, is one of the reasons I blog, so that I can fact-check myself when my organic memory fails me) and lo and behold, the contract proposals were due on October 15 and decisions were supposed to be reached by November 15, which clearly has long since come and gone with nary a whisper of news. As I've said before, this isn't particularly shocking, the government ignores self-imposed deadlines all the time, but I am a little surprised that the 30 days post-proposal milestone went by unremarked. Specifically, I have numerous easily agitated co-workers who pepper our boss with questions all the time, looking for some new information (or reading of scattered tea leaves) to cling to for guidance about the scary, unknowable future. I would have thought that by now enough of the squeaky wheels would have pestered my boss sufficiently to prompt some kind of ad hoc conference room get-together, if only for my boss to officially say "they haven't made a decision, they haven't told me anything, and when they do I will share that with all of you" so that he could get a little peace.

Of course now that I've realized that we're overdue for that kind of team huddle, I'm expecting it any day now, and even moreso after an announcement was made over the weekend about the president declaring this year's Boxing Day a holiday for federal employees. This has an impact on my fellow contractors and me because we are no longer allowed to be in the office without government supervision. If all the civilian employees are out of the office on the 26th because of the federal holiday, then none of us are technically supposed to be here working, either. But since it's not a company holiday for us, that means either we're stuck using our own personal leave time, or our boss will have to somehow cover our leave out of overhead expenses, or something like that. Presumably the boss will let us know what the specific deal is with all that once he figures it out for himself, and maybe gives us a new contract update at the same time. Or maybe nothing on the new contract, and just tell us he's giving us all the long Christmas weekend free and clear, so just enjoy it and don't worry about whether or not we'll be in transitional mode handing things over to a new contracting firm in the new year. We shall see!

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