Use it or lose it

It’s March now, and I’ve used up almost all of my vacation time that I accrued in 2020.  At my workplace, they have a policy of ‘use it or lose it‘ in terms of how vacation time is managed.  I’ve earned four weeks of vacation a year due to how long I’ve worked at this particular company, along with a codicil that was agreed to in the union contract when my fellow employees and I were absorbed into this company from our previous one.

Basically, it said that employees that had 10 plus years of service with the absorbed company were due 2 weeks of vacation, rather than having to ‘build from the ground up’ with the new company.  Though that’s all well and good, by this time, had the old company still been in business, I’d have accrued FIVE weeks of vacation, so I’m getting stiffed by one week, not that I tend to use all of my allotted time for the purpose of going anywhere. That being said, I guess I’m grateful for having the time given at all, when by this time I’d still be at three weeks in the current company system.

Where’s all this going?”  I’m sure you’re asking yourself.  Well, nowhere actually, only emptying my brain on a Monday evening, in the midst of my vacation time.  Then again, I haven’t written in awhile, so I thought I’d throw out some things while my brain was interested and my fingers were nimble.  Yes, lucky you dear reader, lucky you.

By my recollection I’ve started any number of entries since my last tome hit the interwebs back in October of last year.  I wrote for a little while and then set them aside to mildew and fester, and finally tossed them into the rubbish bin as they were no longer either viable, or current.  For whatever reason my blogging jones just doesn’t seem to be able to get off the dime to finish an entry before it becomes dated.  Even this one is now 2 days after when I started it.  Go figure.  Procrastination, thy name is me.

We’re quickly winging our way down from the end of winter to the beginning of spring in about 2 weeks.  While I’m writing this, it’s snowing outside.  This after a day of 70° weather on Sunday.  Yeah, really.  A good amount of the snow that had accumulated over the winter melted, then was pummeled into submission by the rainstorm we had Sunday evening.  Naturally after that the temperatures went down to more seasonable 30s and 40s culminating with the snow that’s currently falling here at Casa Leathers.

The remainder of the week has appointments, and a visit from the local plumber/electrical repair guys, to do some work that has been needing attending to for probably the better part of a year.  What has been needing fixing are assorted electrical and plumbing issues, though one became very immediate on Sunday evening when the kitchen sink developed a clog.  I tried getting rid of it with the usual remedies (a plunger then noxious chemicals) but neither of them worked.  Time to call in the experts.

Suffice it to say, I have other reasons for this last week of vacation, the house is in dire need of cleaning and sprucing up.  It’ll be interesting to see if I can get that accomplished.  Wish me luck!

Technically speaking, Part IV

When we last left this series, I was planning on changing the location of the router and fiber modem.  Instead, I chose to run my Cat 6 cable to the middle of the house, except in this configuration, I changed the wireless repeater to an access point.  This way, the router, and modem can stay in place, be hard-wired to the computers and the access point will do the heavy lifting in terms of extending the wireless signal to the rest of the house.  I also reset and reprogrammed the repeater to the upstairs bedrooms, and everything seems to be working the way it’s supposed to.

The big test was this past week when we were on vacation.  Before we walked out the door last Saturday I checked, re-checked, and then re-re-checked the system, to make sure there weren’t any drop-outs or signal loss or degradation.  The cobbled-together system worked like a champ.  Our security cameras stayed connected, all the smart bulbs and smart plugs stayed in contact with the router and the router itself, being that it’s connected to the cloud, was accessible to me even on the other side of the state through both my laptop and cellphone.

Even so, while we were on vacation, we stayed in a place that had a more advanced version of a home network.  It’s from Netgear and it’s called Orbi.  In the house, (which is on 2 floors), there was the actual router, and two physical satellites installed on the walls (the outer walls, though it might have been the correct placement for the building) which by my estimation bathed the house in high-speed wifi coverage (what’s now being called WIFI6 or .   The few times I checked the speed on my phone, I was getting throughput in the 650-700 Mbps range, which was more than sufficient for doing things that I needed to at the time, and anyone else using the wifi signal/coverage would have been able to do the same.  As far as I could tell, there was no signal drop, and everything that needed to be connected to the system stayed connected.  Unfortunately, it’s not an inexpensive system, and outlaying $400-$1200 for more advanced wifi coverage for me isn’t an option.

As of right now, my own system is working just fine.   As a matter of fact, it’s working better than I’d anticipated.  Honestly, I’d tried this method once before, purchasing a dedicated access point and installing it in the house about midway, but it didn’t work.  Though as I recall at the time I attempted to do it wirelessly and that seemed to be where things fell apart.  Instead of taking the system a step further and hard-wiring the AP to the router, I gave up.  I went back to just using wireless repeaters, and degrading my signal through the piggy-back system, and making do.

Coming full circle

It’s early Saturday morning, which means my vacation is rapidly coming to a close.  By this time tomorrow I will be tucked into my bed, snuggled under the covers and anticipating (or dreading) going back to work.  I’ve purposefully stayed away from my place of employment so as not to interrupt the flow of work (hopefully) happening in my absence.  I expect things haven’t been going completely hunky-dory.  Certainly they didn’t the last time I went on vacation, and despite my best efforts to be sure my relief had all the tools he needed to get the work done, I expect it’s going to be a wreck when I go back on Sunday.

Needless to say, I haven’t missed being at work all that much.  I do get four weeks of vacation per year and as I’ve said many (many!) times, I’d be content taking two weeks of vacation and just getting paid for the other two weeks.  But my employer prefers that their employees take all of their alloted vacation.  Basically ‘Use it or lose it‘.  So I use it.

This week has not been so much sitting on my ponderous butt, watching TV.  It just so happened that my wife and I had scheduled four medical appointments, and we were on the go for most of the days that I was off.  Monday and Wednesday were the only exceptions, but Wednesday was gobbled up by an emergency dental appointment due to the fact that my wife slightly broke one of her teeth.  So that needed to be attended to.  And was.

Even though I spent some time helping a friend furnish her new apartment, I didn’t necessarily neglect my own domicile.  I ordered 4 large plastic storage boxes from Amazon (actually probably larger than I needed) and have been sorting through some things that I haven’t had use of in several years, that need to be secreted away before something nefarious happens to them.  I have to say I’d be pretty devastated if something did happen to them, and certainly I wouldn’t forgive myself easily.  If at all.  Once I have that attended to, I think I’ll breathe a sigh of relief.  That’s been a long time in coming to get accomplished.  At least when I have need of them again, I’ll know where they are.  I hope.

Anyway, it’s back to work tomorrow.  Only one more week of vacation to take for this fiscal year, then I’ll get another four weeks to agonize over on April 11.  Never ends, does it?