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The Simple Joy of a Day Off

June 2nd, 2009 posted by Robert

Well, yesterday I had the day off.  I took the Memorial Day holiday on my birthday.  What did I do?  I did nothing, and it was everything I though it could be.  OK, it could have been significantly more interesting but I did enjoy not doing anything.  I managed to sleep until 9AM and then I mostly flipped channels all day.  Given a whopping 10 channels, this was obviously not as entertaining as one might hope.  I kept intending to read some more in my book, but never quite got around to it.  I chose not to sit at the computer, because that’s what I already do all day, every day.  It did get a bit warm in the container during the afternoon — one window A/C unit is simply not enough during the heat of summer here — but it cooled things down quickly once the sun stopped turning it’s attention to it.  Later we walked down to the coffee place and had a drink — tea for Guli, vanilla smoothie for me.  It was a nice enough little treat.

I did get interested enough to do a little math.  I figured that most people wouldn’t really appreciate what a day off is here.  People in real life ordinary jobs tend to work only 5 days out of 7 in the week.  That gives you 104 days off a year, right there.  Throw in 11 Federal holidays or generic holidays of choice and the total goes up.  Of course, we get those, too.  That said, sometimes people take them, sometimes don’t.  It just depends because we go from a 12 hour day to 8 hours paid when you take a day off.  On my first iteration out here in just over 2 years I only took 1 holiday.  I think we’ve taken most since then, excepting those occurring while we are on R&R.  Then I added in vacation time, assuming 2 weeks a year for normal people.  We get 2 weeks every 4 months, though the year end is 3 weeks.  All 3 of those are only 10 paid days off, not 14 and 21.  I assumed the normal people vacation is taken in one lump instead of being split up, and didn’t count the weekend days that wrap them because it’s already covered in the 104 days.  It doesn’t work that way for us, of course, as there are no weekends to deduct.

These totals come up to 129 days for normal jobs, and 60 for us, or being off from work roughly 35% of the time for you, and only 16% for us.  It’s kind of funny how the numbers can present odd views though, because while the average time you need to make it through for a day off is only 5 days, whereas for us it’s closer to 7-8 weeks or so.  I’m awful tired of it all, but we’re going to stay out here for just a little while longer to build up the coffers and enable us some flexibility.

BTW, I’m not being whiny about it, just wanted to point out why I did not ambitiously pursue anything on my day off.  Of course, there really isn’t anything to do anyway. :)


Meet The Newest American Citizen

December 1st, 2008 posted by Robert

This morning, my wonderful wife became an American citizen.  She passed the test with flying colors.  After a short wait under the watchful gaze of George Bush and Dick Cheney, we had the oath taking ceremony.  I only had my PDA camera since cameras are not allowed, so I apologize in advance for the awful quality of the pictures. :)

Taking the Oath

Taking the Oath

I would like to congratulate Guli as she worked hard getting all the paperwork together and done and studying the civics questions.  We put enough time in beforehand that things today went smoothly and quickly.  Hallelujah!

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Whoa! It Rained!

September 8th, 2008 posted by Robert

Now that might not sound to special to the rest of you, but around hereabouts it’s kinda unusual.

There I was (no shit, this really happened) in the office doing whatever it is that I do, I noticed a sudden increase in the amount of grit in the air.  I look up and back at the windows, and clouds of dusts are billowing out.  Now, a typical duststorm will easily penetrate this building, but usually it’s a gradual kind of thing.    When I say dust clouds are billowing out, it’s like it’s being pumped into the building, now seepage.  Then it gets dark out.

You may remember these pictures from a previous storm:

Lots of Dust

Well, it was heck of a lot oranger and darker than that time.  The building 40m in picture 2 where you see a dim outline and a slightly more obvious tree at right center?  Well, we couldn’t even see the other building that’s only about 8-10m from us!  At one point, the truck parked outside, 4m from the door was only dimly visible.  There was a heck of a wind blowing.  Usually these storms stroll sedately through and take their sweet time coating everything around.  This was shaking the doors.  Then it lightened up a little and the ground began to get slightly darker in spots.  Whoa!  That’s rain!

It was bad enough that all the comms went out, too. Sure, AFN dies if you stop praying for it in the first place, but AFN radio died about a half hour before the storm dropped on us. It may have been coincidental, it’s out probably a third of the time or so. AFN cable dropped when the storm hit, and then all the phones and network took a dive. Interestingly enough, Radio Sawa stayed on the whole time. :)

Now, in the real world, it’d be rain.  Here, it’s actually dusty mud falling from the sky.  As the wind continued to blow, the storm kept moving.  The dust went meandering off to the east, and the wet mud fell more and more.  30 minutes later, the only way to tell it actually happened is the high amount of dust all over the inside of the building that we need to clean up some, and the vehicles are all streaked with dustspots where the mud hit, splashed, and dried near instantaneously.  Total time of this strange weather experience?  15-20 minutes, tops…

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US – Costa Rica Galleries Uploaded Part II

August 28th, 2008 posted by Robert

So, where were we?  Ah yes, on the road to Playa del Coco in Costa Rica.

Heres a shot from the ridge above PdC, which is out of sight to the right

Here's a shot from the ridge above PdC, which is out of sight to the right

We did some diving.  One day decent, the other day…I don’t want to talk about it. 👿 Visibility not so hot.

4 white tips and a moray eel

4 white tips and a moray eel

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US – Costa Rica Galleries Uploaded Part I

August 27th, 2008 posted by Robert

In a shocking display of speed and concentration, I have uploaded the pictures from our recent trip to the US and Costa Rica in less than a month after we got back.  I believe it was actually 28 days, even!

We went and hung out in Denver.  I didn’t take too many pictures but we did go to the aquarium with Hunter and Lois.  Curved glass tends to yield criznappy shots, though, so a lot didn’t make the cut.

Hunter and Guli at the aquarium

Hunter and Guli at the aquarium

We went to Costa Rica for 10 days during this time.  We flew into Alajuela / San Jose and drove up to the Arenal Volcano area and did some hiking and adventuring over there.  I liked the canyoning, where we went rappelling and hiking through watery canyons.  We got rained on a lot.  It was a nice change.

Arenal Volcano, Costa Rica

Arenal Volcano, Costa Rica

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