Another Monday at home. While I rather enjoyed the first couple weeks of the MN state government shutdown, I am getting a little antsy about my extended vacation. I can apply to get my first unemployment check this week, but if there is a budget agreement this week and it includes back pay to July 1st, I would just have to pay it back. So I'll wait another day or so...
It's not the money that's bothering me. I'm saving about $50 a week on gas, cutting back on household expenses, and making do with back pay and The Hermit's income. And while I basically like my job, I am not going stir crazy being away from it and my coworkers. I try to not let my job define my life. And if there is one thing this vacation period has shown me, I have a life outside of my job that is much more meaningful than earning a paycheck.
What bothers me is that, while Governor Mark Dayton pulled what I think was an incredibly savvy move and agreed last Thursday to the Republican legislative majority's budget plan, MINUS a few social agenda issues that I do not think should ever be part of a budget bill, the legislators have continued with business as usual, bickering, dragging their feet, and complaining about the legislation THEIR party drafted. They are basically holding 22,000 state employees hostage, not to mention those that depend on suspended services. Dayton will not call a special session to end the budget stalemate until all the ducks are in a row so to speak, which I think is wise governing, because with the pathetic toddlers we have in office, a special session without said ducks in a row could turn ugly. So I may return to work later this week. Or not. I never thought it could come to this.
By the way, my state senator and representative are both Democrats, very much involved in the community and good examples of responsible elected officials. I was in a school/community musical last fall with the wife of Senator Tony Lourey, their three children, and the granddaughter of Representative Bill Hilty. I am proud to know them and to have voted for them. I am glad that they are not part of the party that created this fiasco.
So here I sit at home. It's better, however, than being out working in chest waders on a lake this week. The whole state of Minnesota is experiencing a high pressure system producing heat and humidity that has not been seen in years. It is 91 degrees here now, with humidity off the charts. This is expected to last throughout this week. I have complained about frost in July before; this is just another turn of Minnesota weather. We even have an air conditioner now. I have never thought one would be of much use here, maybe one or two days a year. However, my stepson Ryan happened to have one that would not fit any of his windows, so he loaned it to us. It would not fit any windows in the house, so we put it in the cabin. It is a mixed blessing. It provides a thermal refuge, but it makes it that much harder to go outside or to the house and face the reality of summer. Summer here is so short anyway, I won't complain, but I can't even play my mandolin because of the humidity!
So I'll end on this note: When the going gets tough, the tough get Surly. Surly beer, that is. Perhaps the only good thing that came out of this year's MN legislative session was a bill that allowed this successful MN microbrew to sell their own beer at a proposed brewery/restaurant. Imagine that! That such a proposal had any opponents is living proof that we have not reached the age of political enlightenment. Yet. Until then, I'll sit back, enjoy the show, and sip a Surly CynicAle. Perfect. Or maybe I should just forget state work and apply for a job at Surly. :)