I’m home. But only for a short stay. I got home from my FRC (fast rescue craft) class last night. I’m leaving for my course in Leadership (management level) on Sunday. FRC was only 3 days. Leadership is 5 days. All these courses are required (by law) for me to keep my license.
So, I really only have today and tomorrow to catch up on a lot of stuff. I’ve got to go for an eye exam this morning (also required for my license- yearly). I’m going to the dentist tomorrow morning. I need to get a haircut. I need to try and get my computers fixed. I need to see about getting my house exterminated (pretty sure I’ve acquired mice since I’ve been gone- and some sort of LARGER creature that is rampaging around my attic at night).
When I get back from the leadership course (in Baltimore at MITAGS), I’ve got to get my USCG physical done (required yearly so I can keep my license). That entails blood tests I’ve got to get done for my Dr to renew my prescriptions. I’m trying to do that through an online service since it’s MUCH cheaper (and I REFUSE to get sucked in to the Obamacare trap!!)
After I get done with all the medical crap (and “training” crap) I need to do in order to keep my license (without it I am not ALLOWED to work), then I need to try to figure out my tax situation.
Since I am not working for an American company now, they don’t take anything out of my paycheck for taxes. This is the first time I’ve been in this situation. I’m pretty sure I’m supposed to pay my own taxes quarterly now. All I know is, I’ve got to get my accountant on it so I don’t get screwed (any more than usual) by the IRS next year.
I’m still in the pool at work so I’m figuring I’ll be due back around Dec 4 (leave Houston Dec 2). That means that in my “month off”, I’ll have had 14 days at home. That’s pretty typical now a days, considering all the required courses and not required (except by the company) “training” we have to take in order to keep working.
How the HELL did it come to this? A free country where most of your time is spent trying to complete government mandates (license to work, TAXES)? A job at sea once was the ultimate in FREEDOM. You just had to do your job and nothing else mattered. Now, it’s almost the complete opposite.
First of all, if you piss in the jar and it somehow ‘fails’ the test, then you’re OUT, completely and totally. You can not work for ANYONE for a LONG time. You might as well forget about ever working at sea again. What that piss test has to do with your job is totally beyond me, it’s just a bunch of pure BULLSHIT that has tied it to your ability to do your job, but it has become all important. 🙁
After you manage to pass that hurdle, of the company deciding that they OWN your time OFF the job as well as on it, then you can try and pass the ‘physical’ hurdle. Some (very few now) companies are happy enough with the required USCG physical (which gets harder and harder every time there is some sort of incident that gets some news coverage).
Most companies now have their OWN standards. They have their OWN doctors they send you to for things like MRI’s and even psychological tests! Here’s an example of what one recently thought was important that I could do: balance on one foot on a trampoline for a couple of minutes. Another thought I needed to be able to climb up and down the stairs for 20 minutes while carrying a weight of 50 lbs (for a company where it’s not allowed to carry weights of over 35 lbs)! Remember, you can’t set off the BP/pulse monitor either while you’re doing all that!!
Then, once you pass all that and you’re actually allowed to show up on the job, you have to complete a ream of paperwork before you can actually START even the simplest job (JSEA, risk assessment, PROMT card, etc). Oh yeah, you have to be dressed to the hilt in all sorts of ‘safety’ gear: steel-toed boots, hard hat, hearing protection, safety glasses, coveralls, gloves, lanyard for your hard hat.
But NO knife! They are ‘prohibited’ as DANGEROUS. WOW! What twisted logic we have to live by offshore.
So, here I am, a person who chose to go to sea for the FREEDOM it once offered, now suffering from an overdose of ‘safety’ which has completely destroyed the freedom. The same thing is happening on shore. All over the country.
What the HELL has happened to America? A country founded by people from all over the world who once valued their FREEDOM above all else? We’ve turned into a country of whiny-baby scaredy cats, willing and able to sue anybody and anything and blame anybody but ourselves, we need to be ‘protected’ from the big bad world and even ourselves. 🙁
I wonder is it some sort of disease? Something that causes people to lose their common sense? Or is it some kind of intentional mind control, something put out by ‘our leaders’ to get us to stop thinking for ourselves and just do whatever they tell us, no matter how stupid (no knives, airport strip searches, etc).
My guess would be the second one. 😉