Friday, May 9, 2008

A Letter From Ventris and My Lost Cross

Keith came by the house yesterday to set up the desk he made for our den. Tammy begins working from home (telecommuting) in the next couple weeks so we needed an additional desk to accommodate the equipment she'll be using. Keith made the desk to match the corner unit he did for the other side of the den minus the upper cabinets.

Rachel has been working overtime studying for her APUSH (Advanced Placement U.S. History) exam. She's been getting together regularly with friends in study groups and quizzing each other. They had the test today from 8am to noon. Miss Clark, her teacher, took all their cellphones from them before the test began. What Miss Clark didn't know was that all the kids had set the alarms on their phones to go off at noon when the test was over. It made for a good laugh.

Rachel won't get the results back until mid July. Provided she does well enough on the test it will count as credit for college. She said it was very tough.

I got a letter in the mail yesterday from none other than Ventris Gibson, Assistant Administrator for Human Resource Management for the FAA. I had written a letter to George Bush back in January detailing my frustration with what I see as hypocrisy with FAA management in regard to pay. When the FAA imposed their pay and work rules on controllers in September 2006 it was told to us that they needed to get costs under control. It actually had nothing to do with that but I suppose it sounded reasonable. Anyway, Ventris states in her letter that "the guiding principles for the new pay system are: ensuring pay for performance; ensuring long term affordability; continuing to support career progression; attracting the best candidates to manager positions; and continuing to provide clear incentives to remain in and progress upward in the management chain." In other words; being an air traffic controller isn't something we want to reward anymore than is necessary. Becoming a traffic dodging supervisor, a one year working the boards wonder is where the real money is at.

I went out for what I figured would be a 50 mile ride today but once I got out there I decided to go a bit longer. I was having a good ride until about 12 miles north of Prescott, WI, when I felt some sort of bug near my shoulder trapped between my jersey and my base layer. It felt like it was the size of a bee so I reached in, grabbed it and threw it off to the side. I did it quickly so as to minimize my chances of being stung. In the process I caught my hand on my necklace which holds my cross. I didn't see anything wrong with it so I pressed on. A couple miles later I noticed that the necklace was dangling open and that the cross was gone. I turned around and slowly retraced where I'd been but I couldn't find it. I spent the next 30 to 45 minutes going over the route while asking God's help in finding it. It was difficult to know just where I'd had the encounter with the bee as I was in a bit of an endorphin induced zone and not so focused on my surroundings.

I was a couple hours from home and around 4:15 I decided I needed to give it up and head back. It made me sick to think that I'd lost it as it has a lot of meaning for me. I felt like I was leaving a part of me behind. Rachel was having a bunch of kids over for an APUSH party and I needed to be there as Tammy was at work.

I hope to head out early in the morning tomorrow before the rain gets here and see if I can do better by walking the stretch of highway rather than scanning from on my bike.

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