28 July 2008

Ever have one of those days...

...where you feel like you just can't do anything right? Yesterday was like that for me. I went to work and after a mercifully short and not terribly boring Commander's Call, I talked to the Command Chief who is the highest ranking enlisted person in my unit. He had given this lovely speech about how the enlisted ranks need to take care of their own, and look out for each other. He also talked a lot about doing what you need to do to get promoted, and how no one is looking out for your career as much as you are, that you are responsible for your own career. So I went to talk to him after the meeting and said, "Look, here's my situation." And I laid it all out for him. I've known him for a long time so I felt comfortable to sort of speak freely. I'm doing everything you are supposed to do, everything the leadership tells you to do, in order to get promoted. I'm WAY qualified and eligible for my next stripe. But because of the way manning is authorized for my office, I'm stuck in a place where I simply can't get promoted, unless someone (that would have to be the Commander) was seriously motivated to get me promoted. There would be some paperwork (OK, a ton of it) involved and perhaps a slight bending of the rules. Not outright illegal, just a slight bending.

A word on bending the rules, in a situation like this. Just about anything, and I do mean anything, is waiverable or negotiable. Anything. AND, I've seen situations where someone should have just been out on their ass, they broke the rules (BIGTIME) and got caught red-handed, and yet they not only stay in, they get promoted. So, tell me why someone who is doing everything right, going above and beyond and generally being well known as 'a good shit,' can't get promoted to save their life?

I digress. I have a whole list of accomplishments I can rattle off, and it seems to count for nothing in this instance. So I asked Chief, plain and simple, "Is there nothing that can be done to get me promoted? I'm doing everything you are supposed to do. Col G has said, 'Do A, B and C, and I will promote you.' Well, I've done A, B, C, D, and E, and I still can't get a stripe. Is there nothing? Seriously?" And he kind of shrugged and said that sometimes sacrifices had to be made. I then asked, "So am I correct in stating, my choices are to stay in the job I love and I'm really good at and never get promoted, or cross train (again) into some other career field that I don't like and am not as good at, to get the stripe?" He said he'd talk to the Commander but we'll see. He's a nice guy and he means well but I don't think he cares that much about whether I can get promoted.

It's just incredibly frustrating. I deserve the promotion. I've worked hard and done everything they said I had to do, and more. But at least I will be back in the office next weekend and hopefully seeing my face will remind him that he promised to talk to the Commander on my behalf. Oh, and on the heels of telling me there really isn't anything anyone can do, he told me, "Please don't leave the unit and go somewhere else." I wanted to say, "Don't put me in a position where I have no choice but to leave, in order to get a deserved promotion," but I felt like I had pushed him enough. There will be another opportunity to make that threat if I feel like I need to.

Then I found out that the math classes that I busted my ass to pass.....don't count toward an associate's degree granted through the military. When you originally come in, they tell you about this degree. It's SO EASY! It's FREE! All you need to do is have a pulse and fog a mirror and you will get a degree! Yeah. I talked to two people this weekend, griping about the unfair application of outside credits....one woman I work with is has a Masters degree, plus 15 hours of a doctoral program and that isn't good enough for the piddly military associate's. Another guy has an MBA and they said that his math credits don't count for the stupid military associate's. I mean, there are ways I can still get the degree and it is in fact free. But still! Math classes that count toward a degree from a nationally accredited college aren't good enough for this? BS! On the positive side of this is knowing, in general, how highly educated and motivated the enlisted force of today is :)

Then when I got home, the husband was in a bad mood...the ghosts of recent 'trouble in paradise' had come back to haunt him. My fault, because it was my mistakes that caused the trouble in paradise. Not to discount or belittle it. It's just that I thought maybe we were past the worst. And then he said he didn't want to talk about it, which is like waving a red flag in front of a bull, for me. Not talking about it is what got us to the low point in the first place. In fairness he later said that he just didn't want to talk about it right then. OK. Fair enough. But still. After the day I'd had, the last thing I felt like doing was going over all that again and apologizing again and just generally reliving it.

So it really was one of those days. I just couldn't find my butt with both hands. But today is a new day and I hope it's better. It's my last day before my second summer class begins. And it looks rainy.

24 July 2008

What to do, what to do?

You know what really bothers me? When someone wants to tell you their side of a story but won't let you have own perspective. I've been having a falling-out with someone I thought was a really good friend, and she has her side of what happened, but when I wanted to talk about my side, she was all, "I just need some space from this whole thing." Meaning, I don't want to listen to what you have to say.

I'm afraid she really means to end a friendship over what started out as a relatively small incident. Something happened a few months back, it bothered the both of us but neither of us said anything about it. I, of course, can only speak for myself, but I got over it. Yeah, I was hurt, irritated, upset, whatever....and then, I got over it. But it felt to me, like my friend was beginning to avoid me, end phone calls a little quicker, things just didn't feel the same. We got together less and less, but we did get together a few times, and when we hung out I thought we were ok. I don't know what happened. She says she felt a "hurt vibe" from me on the phone and it was just heavy and hard to get past, so she stopped returning my calls. Well, I don't know that it is unreasonable to be hurt when your friend just stops talking to you....is it? So I'm hurt, she's uncomfortable with it and doesn't want to or can't address it so she deals by avoiding me, leading to more hurt....see where I'm going with this?

You can't make someone be friends with you, or talk about something they don't want to or can't deal with. But come on. Let's put on our big-girl panties and get it on the table. Is one uncomfortable conversation just too high a price to pay for a friendship? I love her, I truly do....but I'm not the only one who bears responsibility for the health of the relationship. I've done what I can do. I've apologized for my part, I've told her how I feel, I've accepted my share of the blame.....and I did it without anger, or bitterness, or nastiness. I calmly spoke my piece. She asked for space and I'll give it to her, but I am worried that we've already had our last conversation. We live near each other and will likely cross paths again at some point. But how sad, really.

So last night, I went out with some other friends, drank too many beers, and hooted and hollered at karaoke night at a local sports bar. It helped to laugh and relax, and realize that even if she doesn't want to be friends with me anymore, there are still people who do. I'll be sad and I'll miss her, but it is her choice. I have to let her make it.

15 July 2008

Pot, meet kettle

I've been reading a little bit about this political cartoon/satire that was recently on the cover of The New Yorker magazine, that depicts Barack and Michelle Obama fist-bumping in the Oval Office, with the American flag burning in the fireplace under a picture of Osama bin Laden. Barack is dressed in what looks like a turban and Middle-Eastern/Islamic looking robes (or something like that) and Michelle looks all radical with a giant Afro and a machine gun slung over her shoulder. People are FURIOUS about it. Or at least pretending to furious and offended by it.

Personally, I think it's kind of funny and it obviously reflects what some people's perceptions might be. I think it's closer to the truth to say that it is obviously overdone and exaggerated.

But here's my question : why is it OK to make fun of (by way of vicious bumper stickers, tshirts, cartoons, a countdown calendar for pete's sake) George Bush or John McCain or Dick Cheney or Karl Rove or whoever the right-wing target might be, and it's NOT OK to poke a little fun at the other side? Who can dish it out but can't take it? Come on, put on your big boy pants and deal with it.

This is why I am really beginning to despise American politics. It's all about posturing and pandering and not at all about doing anything useful.

06 July 2008

Feeling kind of down today

And I'm not sure why. Not that it really matters why, but I've been in a funk all day. The husband got home this morning (flew a red-eye home) and we haven't done much today. I was in such a mood that I didn't feel like going to church today, and that is sort of saying something.

This sounds terribly vain and I guess it is, but I think maybe part of the reason for feeling down is that I have been gaining weight and I know it. Whether they will admit it or not, most people have a 'magic' number in their heads that, if they see it on the scale, they go,"Good Lord, that's HUGE.' Or, in my case, I said to myself, "Good Lord, I'm getting FAT.' The magic number is like the upper limit of acceptable. This morning when I weighed myself, I weighed in at thismuch under the weight I was when I joined Weight Watchers. It's my magic number. NOT pleased at all to see it.

So I went for a run today, partly because I felt fat and knew I needed it even though I didn't feel like it, and partly because I paid good money to register for races later in the fall and I have to train for them sometime. It did make me feel a little better. Then we went out and bought shoes and swimsuits for the boys and got some fruit at a local fruit farm that I love. I actually made dinner tonight which is kind of unusual. I've been very anti-cooking lately, for some reason. I will do it when I have to, but only under protest. Tonight I felt like it so I did. And miracle of miracles, there was no whining, wailing or gnashing of teeth from the peanut gallery.

Right now, I am procrastinating (AGAIN!) on taking my anthropology midterm. And this week I have to get ready to go TDY (temporary duty) to California. I'm looking forward to it...it will be fun to work with the guy from that base again, and I'm going with a good friend of mine who shares my office. But for some reason, I'm not super excited to go. Traveling is going to be hectic, and I already feel like I'm late for the flight, and I don't leave for three more days. I have to miss two and a half lectures at school, and while I"m certain the professor doesn't care and may not notice I'm missing, I am worried that it will make the final hard. Even though Holly is going to copy her notes for me. Wuss. I'm getting so whiny in my old age, I swear. I complain and say that I want to work more, and get to travel like I used to, and when I get the chance, I'm all namby-pamby about it.

Foul mood. Blah.