Thursday, August 14, 2008

Sick Leave

Here it is Monday in my world, and I've called in sick. A dangerous thing to do, as it immediately runs up red flags about three-day weekends and sick leave abuse. Calling in sick on your Friday is just as bad. During my FAA career, I've known of probably a dozen people who've received letters of reprimand for suspected sick leave abuse, and the most prevalent eye raiser is taking sick leave in conjunction with weekends or annual leave.

Nonetheless, I made the call at about ten this morning for a four o-clock shift. I'd known since about six this morning that I was going to have to do it, and there didn't seem any point in waiting until the last minute. The sooner they know about it, the sooner they can make arrangements to work around it, which is particularly necessary for this particular shift. Most likely, someone on an earlier shift will be held over for the tail end of my shift. I doubt they'll call in somebody extra unless they were already short-handed, and even then they don't always.

I don't actually feel all that bad, but as it's the early stages of a cold, it doesn't seem quite nice to go on in anyway - as I understand it, the early stages of a cold tend to be the period when you're most contagious. As two of my crew members are a husband and wife who are expecting a daughter in about three weeks, sharing it seems especially lacking in consideration. At least for them, anyway - there are a couple of others whom I'd love to share it with, but I doubt I could be so lucky. Besides, I've got nearly five months' worth of sick leave in the bank, and in my mind this is what it's for. That's the FAA's official position too - "We don't want you here if you're sick" say they. Of course, there's the inevitable dispute over what 'sick' really means; the working definition is generally assumed to be 'unfit for duty'. I suppose I could go in anyway and save the eight or sixteen hours, and force all my corkers to use theirs instead - and before you laugh, know that this happens more often than it should - especially after school starts; we'll have people working in just the same condition that I'm in now, and it's easy to watch the cold work its way through the tower, easily lasting a month. I've heard that the Navy has to deal with this sort of thing on any of its ships when they leave on a cruise: Everybody brings their various germs and infections onboard with them, and it takes a month or so for everything to work its way through the crew - after which everything is pretty stable until the next port call, whereupon it starts all over again.

I owe it all to taking a friend out to lunch on Tuesday. He was having occasional coughing spells, but attributed it to having just had his house fumigated over the weekend. I felt fine all day yesterday, and went out for lunch with another friend whom I've probably unknowingly infected. The first signs were late last evening, when I started getting that sore throat feeling from sinus drainage. By about midnight, I was pretty sure about it, and dosed myself with some Emergen-C ( and slept fitfully. The cats were unusually attentive, which might mean something - and then again, it might not. They could just as well have been concerned because their feeders went off at a different time or because they're used to having the bed to themselves after six a.m.

So anyway, just a few idle thoughts:

Roo burgers, anyone? An Australian scientist suggests that switching from beef to kangaroo in burgers and such would reduce green house gas emissions from cattle. I suppose you'd have to be quick about it though, before it hopped off your plate! See this link for the new item:

Is it just me, or does the current Russia/Georgia tiff seem eerily parallel to Germany and its neighbors in the late 1930's?

Slightly related to that, a bumper sticker I saw today: Make coffee, not war! (Probably put out by a Starbucks-Folgers coalition)

How do you get rid of pigeons? I've got an on-going problem with pigeons roosting on the top of my hangar doors. While they're not getting into the hangar, their feathers and nesting materials are - and the poop is messing up the lock on the door. My first thought was to invest in a new pellet gun, as the burglars got my previous one a couple of years ago; but I don't particularly want to kill them, I just want them to go away. One of my hangar neighbors has one of those plastic owls above his hangar door, and it's covered in pigeon poop - not a sterling recommendation, I shouldn't think. The other option I'm considering is installing some of those bird spikes that you seen on public buildings and other places where they want to discourage birds. A casual search on the web revealed that those things are not cheap: enough to do my hangar door would be two or three hundred bucks - I could equip an army of kids with BB-guns for that kind of money!

The iBook's battery is dying fast, so I'm going to have to cut it off here for now. Have a good weekend!

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