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Tuesday, June 29, 2010

The Census Office Gets Back To Its Usual Tricks!

As I had mentioned in my earlier post, our crew did a pretty good job on Sunday, and finished verifying pretty much all the binders that are supposed to go out for the VDC phase of NRFU. So, it came as no great surprise then that I got a call from the census office about an hour before my shift was supposed to start yesterday, telling me that there was no work for my shift to do, so I should not bother coming in to work!

Obviously, this is the same type of trick they pulled on me earlier on, which got me quite upset at them at that time. This time, though, I was not so much upset as amused by the whole thing. By now, I have come to accept the incompetence of the office supervisors at the census office, so there is no point in getting upset at them.

They assured me that the rest of my schedule should still be good since they were anticipating a good deal of work during the rest of the week. I will believe that when I actually see it. I am making some minor adjustments to my schedule to accommodate my census work schedule, but I am not going whole-hog trying to accommodate them and throwing the rest of my schedule into disarray. I have learned my lesson, and I am hoping for the best, but fully prepared for the worst.

Instead, when the call came in yesterday afternoon, I simply thanked them for telling me in advance so that I didn't have to drive out there and find out there was nothing to do. After that, I decided to use the extra time to take care of more stuff related to my upcoming vacation. It still requires a lot of work before I go off on the vacation confident that every detail has been taken care of. So, I almost welcomed the ability to take care of all that even though I am not going to be paid for it! More enjoyment of my vacation is probably my payment for this effort, and it might be well worth it!!

You might be curious as to what research I am doing regarding my vacation, given that it is a guided tour in which all the details of lodging, sightseeing, most of the meals, etc., are already taken care of. Well, the research is primarily around the history and significance of each of the places I am visiting so that I can be well-prepared to see what needs to be seen. I am also doing a lot of research on shopping, what to buy, where to buy it, and how much is a reasonable price to pay for it.

I am also doing research on the times and distances involved in all the traveling I am going to be doing as part of the trip. I know the tour guides have it all worked out to a T, but I want to know how much time I will have at each place I am visiting so that I can allocate it correctly between sight-seeing, shopping, resting, eating, etc., etc. I am also reading up on the experiences of other travelers who have been to these places for pointers on what to avoid.

Then there are other mundane things to take care of such as withdrawing cash and buying traveler's checks, making sure our passports and other paperwork are in order, all the bills that come due when we are gone are properly taken care of, etc. There are also decisions we need to make on how much luggage we are going to take, what suitcases and bags go with us and what does not. Then there is the checking of the weather forecasts to make sure the right clothes get packed and others get left behind.

I still have not decided whether I should take a laptop with me, but I don't want my camera's memory card to get filled half-way through the vacation, so taking a computer along to keep transferring out the contents of the card as photos are taken everyday seems like a good idea. Is it worth the hassles or should I just carry a few more memory cards instead? Should I take a video camera with me and sacrifice the convenience, or should I leave it behind and sacrifice possibly priceless video moments during the vacation? Decisions, decisions, decisions! More research, research, research!!

If the census office calls me today and tells me they made a mistake once again in the scheduling, I would probably not mind. Is the research I am doing worth more than a few hundred dollars that the census office pays me for my time? I don't know yet, but I don't want to find out during my vacation that I should have done a lot more research.

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