Showing posts from April, 2008

Feeling the Blues and Bike Theft

My response to the Letter of Reprimand being put in my file at work was supposed to be turned in yesterday but management dragged their feet in getting us some necessary paperwork so they've put off until next week our deadline for responding. My original letter was two pages in length. It's since been pared down to one page as I removed a lot of the opining I'd done in the original. Just the facts. The letter is all typed and ready to go—like it will matter any. There is legislation moving through the Senate (H.R. 2881 – FAA Reauthorization Act of 2007). which will hopefully address our lack of contract negotiations with FAA management. There are still many hurdles to overcome before the biggest hurdle of them all: a Presidential veto. Bush has said he will veto the bill if it contains language which is favorable to labor. What a guy. This is a snippet from a longer statement the Bush administration made with respect to some of the language in the bill..." The A

Barack on Fox and the Ironman Rolls Through

I'm not a Barack Obama supporter but neither am I a John McCain supporter. I watched Obama on Fox News Sunday yesterday in an interview with Chris Wallace. It was an interview he was reluctant to do. He shouldn't have been as I thought he only helped himself. I watched McCain one week earlier in an interview with Tim Russert on Meet the Press. He wasn't impressive and came across as a man well past his prime. I don't see how McCain could possibly win the election. My guess is Obama will be our next president. The last thing our country needs is another Clinton or Bush in the White House. Let's get rid of the Ted Stevens' and Teddy Kennedys' and the like while we're at it. I say term limits for all! The job of Senator or Congressman was never meant to be a full-time position. It was intended for individuals from the masses to step forward and represent the people then go back to their lives. That was the one thing I admired about Paul Wellstone when

My Turn and Ache Speak

My area manager at work asked me if I would write a response to the Letter of Reprimand they intend to place in my file. I told him I would but that I'd rather let this entire episode fade away so I can get back to thinking about other stuff; stuff less frustrating. Writing the letter describing my thoughts at what played out would only suck me back in again. And it has. I spent part of last night and a bit of this afternoon drafting my reply . I've put way more thought into this than I'd care to admit. My weekends are mine, not the FAA's. I wrote a two-page response in 10 point font. I'm not at all hopeful that they'll do the right thing and turn the focus from me to the supervisor who unnecessarily escalated our disagreement into something much more. I'd love for them to look at what the supervisor did wrong that day and how his actions were uncalled for and extremely disruptive. I've been around long enough to know that FAA management is only inte

The Anatomy of a Lynching

(Across the bottom of the hard copy of this letter as I prepare it for upload to my blog is written: "Input ignored, not considered".  I assume those words were written by my union rep.  It doesn't matter who wrote it; it's true.) The following is a letter I wrote to FAA management in response to a Letter of Reprimand they intend to place in my file for some trumped-up charges against me. I was conducting on-the-job training in sector 29 when Mr. Mark said he needed a 30 and a 15 (miles in trail restriction between aircraft) on some ORD (Chicago, IL) landing traffic. AAL764, #1 in the sequence was in our sector. #2 in the sequence was AAL1210, well south of OBH (Wolbach, NE) in sector 39 and already 10 miles-in-trail with AAL764 when measured to their next common fix of DBQ (Dubuque, IA). #3 in the sequence was a United flight, 20 miles-in-trail with AAL764 being worked by sector 28 overlying us. After analyzing the situation I felt that it wasn't our routin

Christmas is Over So Where is My Warm Weather?

I finally got around to taking down the Christmas lights off our house on Thursday. This is the latest I've had them up. I thought it'd be fun to light them one last time and so I did—all Wednesday night and into Thursday morning. I got some fun remarks from neighbors and no doubt some strange looks. The gloomy weather continues its hold on this part of the world. I think we're all in need of some sunshine; I know I am. Hmm—maybe there's a connection between the gloomy weather and turning on our Christmas lights. Yesterday's ride found me 20 miles from home in a cold rain. I was soaked through by the time I made my way back. It wasn't too bad and if it's all I've got to work with I suppose that's the way it has to be but I'd really like to feel the sun's heat on my back for a change. I miss that. I think I saw a forecast temp in the 70s for the early part of next week. That's a start. Rachel made plans to go up and see her best frie

Thank You Sir, May I Have Another?

The Beatings will continue until morale improves. I don't know who coined that phrase but I've heard it more than a few times since the FAA imposed its work rules (wrongly calling it a contract) on Air Traffic Controllers of which I'm one. Sure, it's a funny phrase because it sounds so absurd but there's a certain amount of truth in it. I had a meeting with management on Tuesday where they gave me a letter of reprimand which they intend to put in my file. I have two weeks to respond in writing to the charges. I began to write a response but I never finished it as it became apparent that whatever words I'd write wouldn't change the outcome. They'd already heard whatever I had to say and they dismissed it all. The charges are baseless and the, um, investigation which followed filled me with anger which concerned me. I came home from work on Tuesday and Tammy didn't like what she saw in me. She did the best she could to convince me that I needed to

Juno, Package Delivery and a Tuber's Tutorial

The killer snowstorm they were forecasting for us never materialized but still, you'd never know it's spring around here. I've heard we can expect temps in the 60s next week. I'd be happy with 50s at this point. Our furnace went on the blink a couple nights ago. I couldn't even get the fan to turn on. I phoned Center Point and they were able to get a tech out within 20 minutes. It appeared there was no power to the furnace at all and the tech couldn't explain that. He found that the igniter was bad. A simple fix. From the time I made the phone call for help to when he left was no more than 45 minutes. Quite impressive. We watched Juno this past week. I suppose some may call it a chick flick but I thought it was an excellent movie. I believe it comes out on DVD this week. Tammy and Rachel thought the writing reminded them of the Gilmore Girls. This will probably be one of those movies we buy. I don't usually buy movies but I have a few. The last one I fe

Collecting Thoughts, More Winter and a New Nuvi

Thanks to Rob, my post about the fine folks I work for will have to wait to see the light of day. I thought it was a good post but Rob thought I should maybe hold off on going live with it for a little while; like until after I retire. And so I will. The main purpose was served though in that I was able to document my frustration about the environment I work in. You'll simply have to wait to read it. Unless of course, you request it in which case I'll happily email you a copy of it. You've probably heard the saying: those who can't do, teach. In the world in which I work all too often those who can't do, manage, and some of them do it quite poorly. But don't take my word for it; just ask any air traffic controller. I'd been too tired to ride earlier in the week so when I got home yesterday Tammy insisted that I get out on my bike. I love it when she does that. She told me I'd feel better once I got out there and she was right. It was a beautiful day

Losing My Religion

This is one of several posts being put on the back burner until my days with the FAA are finished for fear of certain reprisals should this go live while I'm still employed. So much for freedom of speech. If I had any illusions that I work for reasonable people, those illusions have proved to be a mirage. The title of this post is in reference to those who stumble their way through mediocre careers while sitting in judgment of people who do a job from which they ran (or as in the case with the supervisor at the center of my dispute)—decertified themselves when the going got tough. Amazing. This is about coming to the realization that truth is something which gets in the way of power and not something which necessarily wins out at the end of the day. I made reference a few days ago to some troubles I was having at work as the result of a traffic situation and how it was handled. It was a simple sequencing problem for some Chicago arrivals and me trying to show my trainee how

Chris Greseth and Directional Help

We've got a new worship leader at Hosanna! Chris Greseth. He had the service rocking this morning by following a traditional hymn (which we seldom sing) with a Joe Cocker tune, Feelin' Alright . Not that I've ever heard a Joe Cocker tune sung in church for that matter; I'm pretty sure that was Bill's idea as it was a nice segue into his message. Chris came to us a couple months ago from St. Joseph, Missouri (I think). He's filling some very big shoes left behind by Jon Russel and from what I can tell he's going to be a really good fit. I can't sing nor can I play any instruments but I do appreciate good music. On the way out of church I had a former neighbor tap me on the shoulder—Greg Green—easily one of the best neighbors I've ever had. We both made promises to get in touch with each other and I really hope we do. He moved maybe ten years ago to a place out in the country. The only contact we have now is of the kind we had today and that's to

Bad Dog, Gas Money and Some Tough Miles

I was a bad dog at work last Tuesday; at least according to a certain supervisor. I'd love to tell you all about it but I should probably exercise some discretion and hold off just a bit and see how it plays out. I spent far too much time during my days off dwelling on it. I hope to return the favor by the time it's all over. Let's just say that common sense met unreasonableness and because of that an investigation is underway. I welcome it. Little man syndrome. Ever heard of it? Rachel mentioned that she's down to a quarter tank of gas in her car. I have to smile about that. We'll no doubt be hearing her say that a lot in the weeks and months to come. She works teaching dance but whatever she earns goes back into her studio dance lessons. She had some leftover money from her trip to Seattle which she offered to use to fill her tank. We told her to keep it. Tammy and I both feel that her main focus should be school and there's no way she can take on another

Out Like a Lion and She Did It!

I don't remember if March came in like a lamb but it definitely is going out like a lion—a white lion. The winter of 2007-08 will be one to look back on and be thankful that a winter like this is the exception and not the rule. With temps forecast to be in the mid-40s by Wednesday, this will be gone soon. Sucks to be a hobby farmer trying to keep from falling on your butt as you make your way through the slush and mud to feed the animals. Hi Tim . Rachel has her license. Maybe that last sentence should be ended with an exclamation point. I'm happy for her but I'm probably more worried than I am happy that she will be out there on her own. Tammy took her this morning for an 8:20 appointment for her test. She didn't breeze through it but she passed. Maybe that's a good thing if it leaves her with the impression that she can do better. Anyway, I'm looking forward to seeing her when she gets home from school so she can fill me in on all the details. I'm c