Mr. Helen was part of the sequestration this summer - which meant he had to take 1 unpaid day off every week. Since he works 5 days per week, that's the equivalent of losing 20% of pay. We knew it was coming so we made some adjustments to retirement plans and cut back on discretionary spending and managed to make it through that.
We were so blessed to have been given our great Grand Canyon Adventure by Little Helen and that ended up being our vacation this year. We live in a great coastal area and literally have a beach 4 miles from our house, so we bought season passes and still had a really nice summer, even with the aggravation of the sequester.
The Saturday before he was going to start back to work full time, he was running on the treadmill and his right knee started aching and pulling a bit. Instead of paying attention to that, he kept running because he wanted to run 5 miles (he was at 3.5). At 4.75 miles he heard a sound in his knee and he literally had to grab the rails to not fall off the treadmill. I was in the house and heard him yell so I ran downstairs to find him sitting on our back step holding the knee and rocking back and forth. Long story short: an extremely bad and large meniscus tear.
So, he stumbled through what was to be his first full week back at work and then he had surgery. The doctor told him to take off 3 full weeks, which he did. October 1st was to be his first post surgery week at work. On September 27th at 4:00 in the afternoon, he received a call at our home saying that if Congress did not put a budget into place, he was to report to work on October 1, but then would be immediately furloughed until there was a budget.
That is where we are today - Mr. Helen is laid off from his job until further notice. He is able to file for unemployment. which will help us not to completely go under water. All in all though, it has been a frustrating year. All of this unemployment and sequestration reverberates much further than just partial paychecks. It affects his retirement plan, health insurance and of course, his mood.
For me, due to the politics involved in the government shutdown, it is affecting some friendships. Or maybe I should say acquaintances. I never mind a well thought out opinion about something - even if I don't agree with you. What I do mind is the endless, thoughtless posting and reposting (especially on Facebook) of out and out lies in the form of photo memes. I finally decided that if someone I was "friends" with was doing that to the point that I was offended by it, they probably weren't a real friend at all. I have ended up unfriending some people on Facebook because of it.
All this got me to thinking that maybe we need some "Political Harassment" training in the same way they give us sexual harassment training at work. Just like you'd never assume it's OK to go ahead and tell a risque joke, perhaps people should consider before they post certain things on social media.
Or maybe that's just me who feels that way.
In the meantime, I'm trying to keep a positive attitude. I'm thankful for all our true friends who are concerned about Mr. Helen and me (regardless of their political affiliation). Hopefully this will be over sooner than later. And on the first day of furlough, we're setting warmth records here - going to be over 80 degrees today - so Mr. Helen went fishing.
That's life. Sing it Michael.