Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Why is it that everyone and their third cousin twice removed

wants to keep sending me back to square one?

It never fails no matter how hard you try. I’d just bet that if you went to the booby hatch and asked around you would find that most of the people there were, at least at one time, victims of being sent back to Square One.

The family snow blower is a classic example.

I have a one car garage and I store the Miata there. It really never leaves the garage during the winter except in December for an hour or so to get an inspection sticker.

So I pulled the Miata all the way forward so it is against the lawn mower and the chipper-shredder. I put the snow blower right behind the Miata. All I have to do is open the door and start blowing snow come the next snowfall.

It’s a piece of cake.

I put the snow blower behind the Miata instead of in front of it so that I didn’t have to open the garage door, shovel out a space to pull the Miata out to get to the snow blower.

I bought the snow blower so I didn’t have to shovel snow in the first place.

Enter the powers that be that insist that the snow blower will get in the way and that the proper place for the damned thing is in front of the Miata.

Bam! Back to square one.

I am now right smack dab exactly where I do not want to be. I might just as well not have gotten a snow blower in the first place and saved my money for all the good it will do me parked in front of the Miata. I will still have to break out the shovel and bust my ass.

I dug in my heels on this one. The snow blower stays.

Going back to Square One is without a doubt the biggest frustration in my life. Nothing infuriates me more than to bust my ass just to see that I have gotten right back to where I started.

Another one took place when I thoughtfully installed an off/on switch to the roof vent fan.

The roof vent fan is thermostatically controlled and goes on when it is needed and turns itself off when things in the attic space cool down. The switch was installed as a safety by-pass to enable me to replace the thermostat if it ever burns out. That way I will not have to either flip a circuit breaker or wire the thermostat ‘hot’. In addition to that, I had gutted the entire upstairs down to bare studs and re insulated and sheet rocked the entire upstairs after intensive modifications to route the hot air to the highest point of the attic where it would be evacuated by the fan.

This included vents to draw in cool outside air. I did a good job.

Except that I added the on/off switch. The fatal mistake because everyone and their cousin INSISTED that running the fan was a waste of electricity even though I pointed out that the air conditioning, which does use a lot of electricity was not running nearly as much as it used to and that the roof would last a lot longer, too. Roofs are not cheap.

Nobody would listen to me and the AC kept running and the roof slowly cooked away and I was now back to Square One again. I was furious.

So I simply bypassed the switch with a jumper and now it runs on the thermostat like it is supposed to. Everyone wails about it, but that’s just too damned bad.

One of the worst back to Square Ones I ever had was in college. There were seven stations required to go through to get registered for classes. The line on station one was about eleventy-seven miles long, maybe longer than that.

Once you got to the first station itself, the rest of the process wasn’t all that too awful bad. It went pretty quickly, actually.

I was clever. I counter the number of people on Station one. There were four people manning the station. Then I went over to the nearby cafeteria and borrowed a tray and bought four cokes and put my packet under the tray.

As I headed up to Station One, everyone naturally assumed I was some kind of school employee and the crowd parted like I was Moses going through the Red Sea.

When I arrived there, they gratefully took the cokes and I slipped them my packet and they took it without batting an eyelash. I was through the bottleneck and went through the next several stations quickly.

It was the last station when the person told me I didn’t have some damned thing or another that I was supposed to have been issued at Station One.

There it was, back to Square One again.

Fortunately I got lucky and I had a friend that was near the front of the line at Station One snag me a form, but for the life of me I can remember the frustration of having to start all over again.

There is a Coast Guard Regional Exam Center (REC) where I used to keep my file. It was about an hour and a half from where I work and being so close to work, it was a slam dunk that I kept my file there.

These people were true Jedi masters of Catch-22. They could have you going in circles for months. They did until about a decade ago when I decided that I was tired of playing their silly little games.

I had my file moved to another REC, this one being five hundred miles from the original REC and I will say that the new place at first scared the holy hell out of me.

The woman there said, “May I help you?” and I inwardly cringed. After all, I was dealing with a Federal agency and any offer to help from a Federal employee is generally a good reason to cringe.

These people in this office were different. They actually meant it when they offered to help you. At first I was terrified!

Then she said something I will never forget. To this day I do not believe a Federal employee ever said such a thing.

“Let me go over your paperwork so we get everything right the first time,” she said. “I just hate sending people back to Square One.”

You could have knocked me over with a feather. Right then and there I knew I had made the right decision to move my packet five hundred miles away.

It was worth getting up to leave in the middle of the night to drive all the way there. The expenditure of gas and tire wear and time was meaningless. This was a deal at twice the distance.

The women found an I that needed dotting and a T that needed crossing and one other thing; my photographs were not to specification, but she had a quick fix for that one, too. She sent me to a photo shop a couple of doors down. I was back in fifteen minutes with the pictures.

My paperwork went through and I had my renewal in a few days instead of the several months it often took at the place I used to keep my file.

Best of all, I wasn’t sent back to Square One!

Can’t beat that.

my other blog is: http://officerpiccolo.blogspot.com/ http://piccolosbutler.blogspot.com/

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