Regaining Control Through #FurloughFrenzy in the #GovLife

My world is chaos except for the kitchen. I don’t know when I’ll go to work next, I don’t know if I’ll be able to make that meeting I just set for  Thursday, I don’t know if I’ll get back pay, and I don’t know the next time I’ll get a paycheck. But the sink is empty, the dishes are clean, and the counter is clear. We call it “furlough frenzy.”


There is just a need for something that we can feel secure about. There is very little that we can trust in terms of schedules or certainty. The overwhelming reaction across the nation seems to be- homes are getting cleaned. My facebook and twitter feeds have pictures of electronics, closets, basements, and other organization projects.

I know in my house I am inflicting a new level of order on the household.  I busted through a project in 10 hours that was originally  slated for weekend projects extending over 4 months.  One furniture swap I’ve been talking about with a friend (another furloughed fed) for 4 years was executed in a number of hours. It has been cathartic to focus on the one thing within my control- where the pieces of our house are placed.

Furlough frenzy projects are low-cost, high energy, short in duration, and at the end of the day we have something to show for our efforts. We don’t know if we’ll have tomorrow to finish up so we break the projects into bite sized pieces. We don’t know if we’ll get paid so we try not to spend much money.

At the end of the day  I collapse in exhaustion.  My husband comes home and wonders what on earth happened to the storage room with the boxes, papers, and furniture he collected over the years. And while not much is going to be in the same place at the end of the day- that kitchen counter will be clean.


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