Thursday, February 24, 2011

Weekly FS Blog Roundup--In the News

This week I found myself wanting to write blog posts that linked to other blogs. This isn't my usual style but there is just so much going on out there right now. A lot of what I have been reading is worrying, to say the least. There are riots, pay cuts, evacuations, and earthquakes, oh my. Sorry! I don't mean to be flip but that is the way I handle bad news, with sarcasm and dark humor.

In the midst of all the bad news there was one blog, or should I say a pair of blogs that touched me deeply. The bloggers are a husband and wife assigned to Wellington New Zealand, but they were both in Christchurch when the quakes hit. They are both fine, at least physically. The story of their finding each other in the chaos that followed the quake is amazing. You can read his point of view of the quake and the story of the magnificent kiwis. You can also read about her experiences. Warning: grab some tissues before you start reading, and make sure to check out the comment Adrian left on Amy's blog, it's the sweetest thing ever.

Another bit of bad news/good news was the shooting at the Bangkok Embassy. Good news no one was hurt, bad news there was a shooting.

Of course you can't turn on the TV right now without hearing about some new development in the middle east. The good news is that Connie discovered the source of the booming in Jordan the other day, while Adventures in Good Countries is contemplating what to protest for, a coffee shop perhaps? Wonder if that would work here in Malawi, we could use a good coffee shop, actually we could use any coffee shop. Also good news the Four Globetrotters had a nice time while they were evacuated to Morocco and are now back at post settling back in to their life.

Not everyone is having such a positive experience. The folks in Libya are still stuck trying to get out of the country days after an ordered departure. Matt finally made it back to post after being stranded en route to the middle east. If only the call had come earlier he could have had a few extra days with Jill and the kids. And really who could blame the Sherwood Family for getting fed up with being on evacuation, but even in the middle of it all the kids thought about the less fortunate.

For a really different look at the whole situation check out the narrative at Muttering Behind the Hardline, it puts a personal face to the people in these countries.

And now for the news that has everyone stirred up, the House voted to cut locality pay, and no I don't care what the media is reporting this is not about pay raises, this is about pay cuts. If this passes the Senate, we, along with a whole lot of other people, will face an immediate 15% pay cut. That is 15% of his pay check. His check that we are already receiving not some raise we may get some day, money we count on NOW. If this passes it will be gone. POOF! So what can be done? Well Kolbi called her two Senators from her home state. Wife-Mommy-Woman wrote her Senators and urges others to do the same. Digger and Herding Cats not only wrote to their Senators, they shared sample letters to make it easier for you to write to your Senators as well. You have no excuses, now get writing.

So how did we, the people who make up the FS, come to be in the budgetary crosshairs? We are not that large a group. Tiny in fact. A while back it was reported that there are more people in military bands than there are FSOs. So why are we front and center for pay cuts? Why should we get paid less to work overseas than to work in DC? Donna has an idea, she says it is all our fault. You really must read this wonderous work of logic. I am now thinking (somewhat guiltily) about all the blog posts I wrote glorifying going to Marine Corps Balls, spa treatments, household help. Am I part of the problem? Maybe, but mainly I blame the way we are all portrayed in the movies. I have yet to see a house in the movies that looks like any house I have lived in overseas, never mind all the invites to balls (we PAY for our tickets, thank you very much) and hanging out with famous people. I wish my life was that glamorous, no actually I don't, I like my life just fine.

Becky is cutting back on spending, just in case. For my family we live pretty modestly so it won't make a lot of difference in our day to day life but it will make a huge impact in our future plans. Dave and I recently started shopping for a house so we can have a place to retire in a few years. At the moment it is little more than a hobby. We spend many evenings looking at real estate on line. The money we don't need for our day to day existence goes into retirement and college savings, the small (very small) amount left is being funneled into a special account for a down payment, someday. If we loose 15% of our pay I can kiss that account goodbye.

Well that's my roundup for this week. I hope next week will have better news for all of us. No one has signed up yet for the roundup next week. If you are interested in hosting please stop by A Daring Adventure and sign up.


Becky said...

Great job Shannon!

Connie said...

Thank you Shannon! Awesome round up!

Lauren said...

Nicely done!

Anonymous said...

Great job!

Anne said...

So much great stuff here. Thanks!!

Donna said...

Excellent job, and such a great idea for a theme!