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Thursday, January 2, 2003

My whole day swirled down the drain, thanks to the Government.

I spent the morning and half the afternoon waiting for the Government to call me back. The Government has a very cheerful answering machine message, making empty promises. "I'll return your call," says the Government. The Government might as well be saying, "Let me cut your meat for you."

A Government website sucked out my soul. It took me most of the day to deal with the Government's obscure and convoluted maze of options, some of which are not optional and others of which are dead ends. I bit through the insides of my cheeks over the remarkable and astounding incompetence of the Government's webmasters, if they dare to call themselves by that name.

Now, the Government isn't responsible for the fact that I printed out ten pages of their drawings and sketches before I realized I needed a new color cartridge in my printer, as yellow and black were the only colors I was getting. But I do blame the Government for forcing me to access ten different websites for the ten pages, and for creating them in a format that took fifteen minutes for each page to print. Inefficiency, thy name is the Government of the United States of America.

We are trying to bid on a project offered by the Government, but they're trying to make it impossible. Between the finding and the downloading and the printing, it turns out not even to have been worth the time I spent on it today. There's no possible way for the company to make money bidding Government work if it's this difficult.

It's no wonder the Government ends up paying a thousand dollars for a hammer. The corner hardware store gets so bogged down in paperwork it can't figure out how to qualify to sell the Government a hammer. By the time the lawyers and accountants have turned the hardware store into an official Government hammer supplier, bingo. A thousand-dollar hammer.

After using up my whole day getting as much information about this Government job as I could find, the Boss tells me we probably won't bid on it. Too complicated, he says, and he doesn't think he has time. Fine by me. I've seen the forms I'd have to fill out before we could give the Government a price on their project. I know I don't have time.

on the verge

Despite evidence to the contrary, the little oak in the garden has faith that spring is coming.

Now I just hope the Boss isn't afraid to tell me we're not bidding the job. I laid it on pretty thick, how hard I worked getting all the information for him. If he thinks he "owes" it to me to go through with the bid, that'll mean I've made even more work for myself. I'll have to make sure he realizes that I fully support him in his decision to bag the whole project. First, though, I'll have to make sure he comes to that decision.

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While walking to the post office today I was thinking about Emmitt Smith. What I'd like to see is for him to play in Houston next season and lead that team to more wins than the Cowboys get under their new (and expensive) head coach. I'm just perverse that way, I guess.

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One year ago: Swamped
"I didn't know if I'd make it back home again, because there was no place for any more water to go."

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