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About Furloughed Fed

Robin Ferrier works in the Office of Communications at the NIH National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. She is also the Vice Chair of the Gaithersburg Book Festival and a published fiction author. Prior to working at NIH, she spent 6 years working for Johns Hopkins University. She also worked... Read more

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Getting Up to Speed

I’ve been working since I graduated college in 1998. I started my first job one week after graduation, and since that time – for 15 years – I’ve been employed. I’ve had small breaks between jobs – maybe a week here or there. But I’ve never left one job without another one lined up. I’ve always known what’s next and when that “next” would start.

And now? Now, I’m facing Day 8/10 (8 not counting weekends; 10 counting weekends) as a furloughed fed.

The truth is, Days 1-4 were “easy.” On Day 1, a half day after I finished my “orderly shutdown” activities, I took some time for me and went to a wine tasting event that otherwise I wouldn’t have been able to attend. I also picked up my daughter early from day care.

Days 2-5/7 I chronicled on my Facebook page.

Furlough Report, Day 2: Ran 3 miles. One load of laundry in washer, one in dryer. Next up: Breakfast and vacuuming. Other potential items on the agenda: organizing my closets, inventorying my wardrobe to see if there are any tens I don’t wear/need anymore. Yup, I’m pretty exciting on Day 2.

Furlough Report, Day 2 Update: Downstairs vacuumed. LL’s play space downstairs straightened. Hall coat closet reorganized. Baker’s rack in the kitchen reorganized. Not done: Filing. Refrigerator cleaned. Pantry organized… The filing might still happen today. The other items? Not likely!

Furlough Report, Day 3: Getting ready to give blood. Figured I’d do something good on one of my day’s off. Seems like the right thing to do. [NOTE: I also caught up with an old coworker and then picked up my daughter early from daycare.]

Furlough Report, Day 4: Spent an extra hour and a half with LL this morning (yay!) before dropping her at daycare. The rest of the day: Gaithersburg Book Festival duties, coffee with a fellow furloughee, other paperwork.

Furlough Report, Day 5/7: Spent an extra hour and a half with LL this morning (yay!) before dropping her at daycare. Attended a meeting about the Gaithersburg Book Festival. Grocery shopped. Gaithersburg Book Festival work. Organized the only two closets in the house not yet organized. Hudson to the vet for suture removal. Picked up LL early from daycare. Made a real (semi-homemade) dinner.

Furlough Report, Day 7/9: Laura went to her dad’s this morning. So far I’ve run 2.7 miles in 32 minutes. (Boy have I gotten slow!) Next on the agenda: laundry (seriously, do I do anything else BUT laundry these days?!), shower, errands. And a lunch date. Other possibilities for the day: writing, work for the Gaithersburg Book Festival. Oh, and finding out a way to revert to the old Yahoo! mail format. (Ha!)

And now… now it’s Day 8/10. I’m feeling a little stir crazy and the reality of being (sort-of) out of work is setting in. The truth is, it’s difficult to be productive without the structure (and time restraints) of a full-time job. I thrive under structure. It’s why I was so productive with my fiction writing when I was in graduate school or had a writing group.

So what am I doing today, on Day 8/10? Errands. Grocery shopping. This blog. Maybe some writing. And going a little bit stir crazy since it’s raining and I can’t get out to run.

Robin Ferrier

About Robin Ferrier

Robin Ferrier is the Vice Chair of the Gaithersburg Book Festival. She has had three short stories published in anthologies and literary journals and had a play performed in Source theater's 10 Minute Play Competition. She has an M.A. in Writing from Johns Hopkins University and a B.A. from the University of Virginia.


2 Responses to “Getting Up to Speed”

  1. Marlyn Ferguson
    On October 10, 2013 at 2:32 pm responded with... #

    Hi Robin –
    So sorry you’re having to deal with the Shutdown!
    When I read your post I thought how amazingly productive you are and I wondered to myself if you at some points thought – how did I ever find time to work? But you kind of answered that at the end.
    I am holding you and all of your co-workers in my heart and hoping that everyone gets back to work soon!

    • Robin Ferrier
      On October 10, 2013 at 3:02 pm responded with... #

      Hi, Marlyn. Thanks for your comment and support. I actually had a Facebook “friend” post early on that she was glad the government was being shutdown. Talk about insensitive. How people can blame federal government workers — or cheer this shutdown — is beyond me. As to how I ever find time to work, let’s just say that my house isn’t quite as clean and many dinners are pre-made, pop in the oven dinners when I’m working full time. In an ideal world, I’d work part-time and have more time for my house, my daughter, my volunteer work, and my passion (writing). But I’m a single mom so part-time work isn’t an option. So in this less-than-ideal world, but a good world nonetheless, I make do. I employ “good enough” housekeeping, “good enough” meals, etc. And I keep my priorities in order: family, work, volunteer gig, everything else.

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