Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Two Bits and a Rant

Good heavens, if I thought I was slacking before my last post, I'm not sure what to call not posting for nearly three weeks! But, here I am, posting again, even if this post does threaten to be whiny and dejected. Onward though...

First bit: I'm making O4 on April 1st. Which is GREAT!! (Though I do feel just the slightest bit cheated for making it on April Fool's Day. Is that some kind of commentary on my career? Just as a point of reference, I felt the same way when my divorce papers were dated April 1st. *That* likely was a commentary on the circumstances :) ) I posted my happy news on Facebook as "O4 on 04-01-11. Whooooppeeee!!" My aunt commented back, asking what that meant. I explained, saying I'd be promoted. Due to the vagaries of FB and email notifications, I thought she asked the question again (not that she was too "Denise" to get it the first time), and it got me thinking, what *does* it really mean? Ok, so it means more money, which will be great and useful and well-appreciated, even though sometimes I think the Coast Guard already pays me an obscene amount of money.

But beyond the money, I am really grateful that my hard work and perseverance has paid off with a promotion. It's nice to get that recognition of a job well done (or at least done to a satisfactory level). For me, right now, I don't think it means much more beyond that, though. No one at school knows what being an O4 means (beyond a couple of the other military folks in my Private Enterprise/National Security class...which I've already proved to them that I'm a little bit of a PITA know-it-all. Have I said before I feel like I've got an unfair advantage in that class? Eleven years of military experience v. four to five years administrative/work  experience like many of the others have...let's just say I have an opinion on most everything--not that that's really an anomaly, but opinion + experience is a powerful combination). And I doubt it will mean much once I get to Headquarters...just another of the multitude of Junior Officers in the building. Maybe after the HQ tour...XO of a bigger boat will be good fun. Couldn't do that without the promotion. More opportunities, different challenges, I guess that's what it really means.

Second bit: just as I've been slacking with the blog, I've been slacking with general correspondence as well. My good friend Rickey sent me an email in the middle of February!! and I haven't gotten back to him yet. He shared this sweet photo of his friend Sammy, chillin' on a beach in Central Cal. Dog's life :)

And an old shipmate sent me an email about a previous post. How cool to hear from him.

And a friend sent me a great message about my last post. I *really* need to get back to him on that. I've been thinking about my response, but haven't quite gotten fingers to keyboard yet. Sorry, friend...I feel like a schmuck for pestering you about your comment, and then procrastinating my own response. Got a million excuses: midterms, readings, excuse-blah, blah, blah, papers to write, excuse-blah, blah, blah, spring break, family emergency, excuse-blah, blah, blah. But just excuses in the end.

And on to the rant! I'm finding that bureaucratic red-tape is all the more galling now that I'm a student of public policy. There was a confluence of three different events that really rained frustration down on my head. None of the three of them would piss me off separately...well, maybe the motorcycle license part would annoy me, but all three of them within the same day just made me mad.

So I knew I needed to get my motorcycle license renewed while I was in Hawaii for spring break this time. My learner's permit had expired the week before, and I really want to be able to keep riding my bike, especially now that spring is coming and the weather is getting better. I tried to find a loaner bike over Christmas break so I could just take the road test and be done with it. But I couldn't find one...friends had bikes, but they were either not registered or on the other side of the island or kinda too big to feel comfortable taking on the road test. Actually the best line was from my mom's pastor--he doesn't loan out his bike, his wife or his guns. All for very good reason :) So, no bike. I knew I was going back to Hawaii for spring break, so I signed up for the Hawaii-sponsored motorcycle safety Basic Riders Course. First minor bit of frustration here: the DOD-sponsored course I took last spring wasn't good enough for the state of Hawaii. Had to take theirs to get the waiver for the road test. But I understand that. The policy is a tool to generate revenue through their continuing education program at the community college. So I took the class over spring break. The next day I went to get my license.

Well, apparently, Hawaii has a rule that if your learner's permit expires, there is a 90-day cooling off period before you can do anything about getting a new license, learner's or permanent. WHAT?!? Are you freaking kidding me? No consideration for the fact that I'm a Hawaii resident on active military duty stationed outside the state. I was supposed to attempt the road test at least once during the year my permit was good in order to get an extension. Never mind that I tried in Hilo and was told, maybe they could do the road test if it wasn't raining. Not raining? In HILO?!?! Are you freaking kidding me?

I asked why they had that rule (poor lady behind the desk, I really tried hard not to take my frustration out on her), and was told so that people didn't just come in and keep renewing their learner's permit. WHAT?!? Are you freaking kidding me? First of all, the learner's permit is not all that great. You can't take passengers and you can't ride after dark. Yeah, I want to put up with both those restrictions for a lengthy period of time, because they're both so convenient. And, and, and...they'd make more money that way anyway. If someone came in to renew their learner's permit for the entire six-year duration of the regular license, the state would make $30 ($5 x 6 years) instead of the $20 they make on the regular license. ARGH!! Really?!? I can't imagine what the real reason is for the policy, but it's gawd-awful annoying.

The second incidence was my fault. Totally. I went into the local library to enjoy a quiet place to read a couple chapters for my Federal Budgeting class. I took my water bottle in and sat down in a reasonably comfy faux leather chair, which just happened to be rather centrally located in the middle of the library. I got the first sip out of my water bottle before I was brusquely told by the stern library security guard (really, a security guard in the LIBRARY?!) that drinking wasn't allowed in the library. I said, rather snottily, it's just water...from your water fountain. She just as snottily pointed out the signs that said no drinking or eating in the library. I put the water bottle away. Water, in a faux leather chair, reading MY BOOK!! Not doing a water dance in their rare books collection. And, and, and...she noisily told a table of four middle school boys to "SSSSHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!" about as obnoxiously as humanly possible. I really thought that only happened in the movies.

So the next day I went back, and sat around the corner instead of smack in front of her desk. And safely enjoyed casual sips of water from my water bottle while reading my book. That's why the first incident was my fault...should never have sat where she could see me.

That same afternoon, I went looking for an outlet to plug my phone into while I read since it was low on battery. There was a block of tables around a pillar with outlets that was labled "for laptop use." *ALL* the other outlets in the library had little flap signs over them that said, "Not authorized for use. Use outlets in Laptop designated area." Ugh, seriously?

I recognize the need behind all the policies. But where's the leeway for responsible people? I said it was a rant...I never said it was rational.


Victoria said...

ROFLAO. Because policies are made in response to the IRRESPONSIBLE people!

Like this: the a-h who **stole** lots of stuff from one of our university farms, so now there's a policy that nobody can have anything from the farms, ever. Which means that 1) seed from the testing lab goes to waste, 2) fertilizer from the testing lab goes to waste, 3) produce from the hort farm goes to waste -- particularly painful -- and you can never, never, never make a personal phone call.

And just try hiring a student assistant!

I do think, though, that circulation librarians are like parking it cause they can.

Hey, congrats! Loot Com Girl! *Well* deserved I am sure, and I hope you go out and enjoy at least the first month's bonus frivolously.

Victoria said...

I meant, the a-h who stole from my *previous* university farm.

But hiring a student assistant is really hard at my current uni....