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Sunday, June 6, 2010

I Wish I Had A Summer Break Like My Kids!

Yup, you guessed it: my kids are out of school and don't have to go back for the next 3 months. I am envious, and wish I had a break like that every year. I guess I made a wrong choice, coming to the US to work. I should have bitten the bullet, and in spite of potential language problems, gone to France instead. I think I would not have much of a problem with their 35-hour work-weeks, 6-week vacations, and perhaps longer strikes!

In any case, my wife and I are scrambling to find activities to keep them busy during this summer break. I have suggested that I can take some time off from work and take them on mini-vacations. They are now at the age when they can appreciate an educational vacation to Washington, D.C., for instance. I can show them the White House, Congress, Supreme Court, etc. and perhaps reinforce what they are learning in their social studies classes.

My younger daughter also got selected for an advanced study course in Mathematics at school. She is excited about being able to learn 6th grade math in 5th grade and move on to Algebra and other advanced middle-school topics next year. I have not sat down with them and taught them any more Vedic mathematics techniques in a while now, so this summer I might set aside some time to bring them up to speed on all the techniques I have written about in the past year.

Work has been quite busy the past few weeks as our department fielded a bunch of enhancement requests from the users for programs that we have developed in the past for their use. Since we have to squeeze in these enhancement requests in the middle of other projects, our project plans are undergoing constant modifications. New people get pulled in to new projects as we reassign resources to try and accommodate everything. It has been three years since we hired anyone new in the department, and in the meantime, we have lost 3 or 4 people. I wonder how much tighter things have to get before the company loosens its purse strings and allows us to hire more help.

I still have census work to do, and more importantly, I do still have my census job. Most of the people who were hired in May during the unnecessary, politically motivated hiring binge that my census office went through were served termination papers this week and told to go back to the unemployment office. The census office has a seniority-based termination policy, so as the terminations move backwards, I will be on the chopping block pretty soon. Not this week, maybe not next week, but probably before the end of this month. My initial 8-week hiring period is coming to an end around June 15th anyways, so I am not sure whether I will be kept on beyond that or let go at that time. By that time, my work hours will probably be so low, I will not miss either the hours or the paltry pay I get from them!

But I do have a 6-hour long shift I have been scheduled for today, so I have to keep this post short so that I can have my lunch and get going. All remaining office workers have been scheduled for 2 6-hour shifts per week for a total of 12 hours this week. Gone are the 4-hour shifts that had our office working 16 hours a day. Now the office is open only 12 hours a day, and workers are scheduled into a day or evening shift, each lasting six and a half hours long (after the mandatory half-hour break, we get paid for 6 hours each shift).

As for blogging, things are getting pretty close to normal. On Monday, I published a post on using the windows file-picker in Access. Then on Wednesday I produced a post on Vedic mathematics focusing on cyclic numbers and their relationship to recurring decimals. On Thursday, I posted my experiences dealing with the inept billing department of AT&T for the past 3 months, trying to get them to bill me correctly for the services they provide me. Then on Friday came a post on weird-looking USB flash keys with a food theme. Yesterday, I wrote up a post on my feeling that the census work was being used politically as an excuse to boost up employment numbers while the actual jobs the census bureau was producing were, in reality, worthless.

My blog attracted a variety of visitors from new countries in the past week. There were visitors from 4 new countries, in fact. They were from Laos, Gibraltar, Cameroon and New Caledonia. Quite an eclectic mix there, for sure! With the addition of these 4, my flagcounter now sports 135 flags. If unknown flags had not been removed from the widget, it would have sported 138 flags.

I am in the process of writing up blog posts for the upcoming week. My census work will never again ramp up to the point of making my life too busy, so I have decided I might as well go back to blogging like I used to before I got busy. What am I going to write about. Well, you will just have to come back over the upcoming week to find out!

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