My unexpected (but fully paid) vacation: Day 5

This is my little digital journal from the government shutdown.  Today is day 5 (Monday Oct 7th), not counting the weekend.  Click here to see all of my government shutdown journal entries.

I had to change the title of this journal series because last night CNN reported that Congress had approved back pay for all furloughed government employees.  No word on the end of the Government Shutdown, though.  So this means that I’m going to get paid to sit at home and not work while Congress continues to argue over their own specific party-line agendas.  It’s pretty embarrassing.  It’s tempting to just go ahead and do some actual government work from home during this time where we know we’re going to get paid anyways, but we were all warned that we would be breaking the law if we tried to perform any work or if we even volunteered our time to our government jobs.

So here is what I did today.  I woke up at 7:30am this morning and caught up on my Facebook news feed.  I try to catch up at least once in the morning and once in the evening in order to keep up to date on all my friends postings.  Of course, if I have some spare time during the day, I’m not above quickly checking it on my phone multiple times during the day.  But I usually spend not much more than 5 or 10 minutes a couple times a day keeping up to date with my news feed.  I’m not one to go digging for stuff or to go commenting and liking all over the place.

Here is a quote from my post on Wednesday of last week … Government Shutdown Day 2:

My baseline weight ends in 3, so I will try to stay at or below that weight throughout the furlough.

It’s now Monday … only 5 days later.  I got on the scale this morning and my weight ended in a 7.  Whoa.  That’s 4 extra pounds in only 5 days.  I need to lay off the daily banana smoothies.  And the side stops to Burger King.  And the pre-holiday egg nog.  And the special Cub Scout camp fire desserts.  I was doing so good maintaining and even losing some weight before the furlough.  But not being at work all day seems to have changed my eating and snacking habits significantly.  Gonna have to work harder on that while I’m home.  The thing that typically works for me is to not eat at all the regular times, but to hold off my eating until I actually feel hungry.  That, plus not eating very much junk food tends to work pretty well for me.

My first order of business this morning was to sit down and pay the end of the month bills.  Yes, the end of September.  It’s only October 7th, so I’m not technically late on any of these bills yet.  And I’m one full month ahead on paying most of my utility bills, so I’m not really at risk for getting the water or the TV or the phone shut off even if I was really late in paying the bills.  But I should have done it about a week ago, regardless.

Why am I a full month ahead in paying most of my utilities, you ask?  I’m slightly embarrassed to say that several years ago, when I was very busy in a musical at the Cocoa Village Playhouse, I got behind on some of my utility bills and one time got my water cut off.  And another time I got my cable TV and phone cut off.  Embarrassing.  So to keep that from happening ever again, I paid double what was due at some point or another and have maintained that pre-payment status ever since.  So most of my utility bills come to me with a zero balance due.  So basically I pay them all a month in advance.

After paying the bills, I started to feel hungry, so I ate a bowl of cereal.  I know, not very healthy.  But more healthy than a Dunkin’ Donuts doughnut, right?

After that, I picked up sticks in the yard and then I tried to change the mower blades, but I failed.  I was not able to get the old blades off.  I verified that the bolts were right hand threaded and that I wasn’t trying to tighten them.  I posted to Facebook that I needed to borrow an impact wrench and then I mowed the yard using the old blades.  I had to go slower than I wanted because the old blades were pretty dull.

After I was done mowing, I checked the movie showtimes and noticed that Gravity starring Sandra Bullock and George Clooney was playing on the IMAX 3D screen in Merritt Island.  I got showered and drove to Cocoa to eat lunch before the movie.  I had a club sandwich on garlic toast and bottled water at Oleander Bakery in Cocoa Village which would have been a fairly healthy lunch, but then I followed it up with a pumpkin cupcake which I really didn’t need.  But who can pass up a seasonal limited time only pumpkin cupcake?  It was pretty great, by the way.

Then I saw the movie on the big IMAX 3D screen.  I had a Fandango coupon from the Central Florida blood-mobile, so it only cost me a dollar as opposed to the normal 12 dollar price.  I’m a tight-wad so I would be hard pressed to pay 12 bucks for a movie.  But that’s just me.  Anyway, the movie was really great.  I’m usually not easily impressed with movies these days.  And I’m usually not easily impressed with special effects in movies these days.  But this movie was done very well.  The 3D IMAX experience was probably the only way to see this particular movie.  It feels like you are actually out in space with the characters.  The filming and the special effects and the production were all amazing.  During most of the movie it felt like it was all done in one long take, and it was very well choreographed.  It’s just an amazing movie.  It was so amazingly well made that I forgave them for creating a universe where a debris field could take out all our communication satellites and also take out the Hubble Space Telescope at the same time.  But hey, they had to take some artistic liberties, didn’t they?  🙂

After the movie, I went to a drive-thru car wash and mini-detail joint.  Then I drove home.  I got a phone call from a high school friend who I haven’t heard from in several months and we caught up on each other’s lives for a bit.  We talked for 45 minutes during his drive home from work.  My wife cooked dinner and then had to run to a school parent meeting, so I fed the kids the dinner that she cooked and I ate too.

Then I got online and bought my wife and I two tickets to see Young Frankenstein at the Cocoa Village Playhouse for this coming weekend.  I’ve been in a number of productions there (8, I believe) and have lots of friends performing there, but that’s not the only reason we go.  The quality of the productions there are second to none.  It’s a truly incredible place.  It’s Broadway quality at community theater prices.

I’ve had a full day today, but I had just enough energy to work on one more item from my to-do list tonight.  I got all the photos off my iPhone camera and organized them on my computer and then sent out the best photos to grandparents and aunts and uncles.  And some of the cub Scouting photos, I also sent to our Cub Master.  And now I’m typing up this blog post.  That about does it for today.

Looks like my to-do list now has 27 items on it.  I got a few checked off, but I did a lot of tasks today that were not actually written down on the list, plus I added a couple new items throughout the day, in typical fashion.

What will tomorrow hold for this furloughed government employee? Stay tuned! 🙂


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