Monday, March 30, 2009

Puka shell necklace of f-bombs

I should be in bed right now, resting for tomorrow morning's ride and my return to work after a 3-day weekend. But Lauren reminded me of another bureaucratic finger trap we have to negotiate when we get out of the Navy--retrieving our money from the Thrift Savings Plan(TSP). When the market was stupidly healthy, the TSP looked like a good idea, not because it was a great rate of return, but because I couldn't under any circumstances get at the money. Of course, when Wall Street jumped the curb after driving drunk for half a century, not being able to pull our money out of a plummeting stock market under any circumstances wasn't as attractive. Luckily we only lost half our investment. The other half, however, is safely guarded by forms and procedures and government employees and my indefinite resignation approval.

We had planned on using our TSP investment to fund our transition out of the Navy and travel. Getting the money isn't that big a deal, it's just that it shouldn't be a deal at all. I mean, it's my money. The hassle makes me wary of accepting the new GI Bill. I'd have to hassle with the VA the entire duration of my graduate education. And, again, all this comes with the territory and it's really not that big a deal.

What is a big deal is that nearly nine months after submitting my resignation, I'm still waiting for an answer. What's crazy is that the Navy can use the entire year notice I gave them to decide to deny my request for resignation. Because my four-year contract is, in fact, an eight-year contract, the Navy is well within its rights to keep me on. Because of this, my year notice isn't worth squat until the Navy comes back with a decision. At first, the waiting was only frustrating in its own right. Now, it's interfering with my plans this summer, with my job search, with our search for a new place.

I go into work each day not knowing if I have two months left or two years or what. Facing a new week full of excuses and delays is frustrating enough to rip off my puka shell necklace of f-bombs, letting each beachworn conidae scatter on the floor in a sharp calcium pool of profanity.

Friday, the Reserve recruiter offered me a $10,000 bonus to accept a commission in the reserves, which carries with it a guaranteed ticket to Afghanistan. I wish he would have called this evening--the conversation would have been much shorter, but oh so much more satisfying.