John and I are both Civil Servants who work for the United States Navy in Southern California. John has 27 years of service, and I have 23. In an unprecedented move by the government, we are being furloughed one day each week for 11 weeks. This equates to a 20% pay cut on top of no raise for the past 3 1/2 years. When this threat first reared its head, it was impossible to fathom. Surely, the negative impacts on productivity and the economies in the communities surrounding government agencies would outweigh the purported savings to the government. I will readily admit that efficiency can be gained in the way the government operates. I also believe this can be done without affecting people’s salaries, benefits, and retirement savings. Not to mention the tax revenue that the government will lose when we’re not paid.
My friend, Mary, who is a freelance writer, encouraged me to write about our experience because it’s important for people to understand what is happening in the government on a personal level. John and I decided that we wanted to make the most of a difficult situation, so we’ve planned a series of day trips to explore our local area on our furlough days. Our first foray was to Santa Barbara, one of our favorite cities.
We had lunch at the historic Joe’s Cafe on State Street which was established in 1928. It has a relaxed atmosphere and a menu filled with classic American cuisine as well as the longest bar in Santa Barbara. I ordered the Top Sirloin Steak Sandwich, Open-faced with Fries and Green Salad with Blue Cheese Dressing, and John had the Bud Perry, a Grilled Pastrami on Rye with Swiss and Dijon that also came with fries. The food was delicious, and there was so much of it!
The service was excellent and I loved that they played albums. When we first arrived, they were playing Elton John, my most enduring favorite! When we left, they were playing Van Morrison. John had told me about this place many times, but it was my first visit. Joe’s cafe is destined to become one of our favorite places to have lunch in Santa Barbara!
|Free admission and wonderful displays|
|Piece of the Berlin Wall (Western side showing)|
After lunch, we walked towards the beach and crossed the street to the Reagan Ranch Center which is located on State Street just next to the train station. The Reagan Ranch Center was established in 2006 as a way of allowing visitors an insiders view of the ranch and the Reagans’ lives there. We were led on a tour by a wonderful docent in his eighties, named Fred. He was so knowledgeable and took the time to show us how the state-of-the-art interactive exhibits worked. He also encouraged us to watch a 30-minute video about Reagan and the influence he’s had on America.
|Reagan’s Jeep Wrangler|
Regardless of your political point of view, this center has preserved an important piece of 20th century America. This place moved me so much because the exhibits captured much of my experience as a young adult in America. I graduated from the University of Dallas in 1984 as John did from Louisiana State University. Reagan’s presidency addressed so many issues we were familiar with. My father was a 30-year career Naval Officer; Reagan believed in the military. John’s father was an executive with Chevron; Reagan brought us out of the oil crisis. Admission to the Reagan Ranch Center is free and you could go there several times and not see everything.
We are determined to make the best of our situation and have several other forays planned, so stay tuned for more Southern California restaurants and landmarks.
|God grant us patience and gratitude|
Christina Conte says
So sorry to hear about your furloughs, Susan čÖü It’s great that you’re taking a positive outlook on it, though. I do so love Santa Barbara, too! My car has a difficult time turning onto the 101 everytime I have to leave! čÖé Never new about the Reagan Ranch Center, but I love the Reagan Library, so thanks for the info, I’ll definitely check it out next time!
Paula @ Vintage Kitchen Notes says
Susan, it´s an undesirable situation and yet you´re making the best of it. I absolutely LOVE that you introduced me to the reagan museum! So much history that is part of my life. The jeep with the gipper plate is wonderful.
Linda Rogers Weiss says
Wonderful blog! Really enjoyed reading about your adventures. Looking forward to the next one. Linda
Patty Price says
Love Joe’s in Santa Barbara-sounds like you had an adventure on your day off-sorry about that situation and I hope it changes soon!
Laura (Tutti Dolci) says
So sorry about this tough situation, but I love that you are keeping a positive attitude and turning the days into local explorations! I love Santa Barbara and like to visit whenever I can :).
Chris Scheuer says
It sounds like your making the best of a difficult time Susan. I work at a hospital and if there aren’t enough patients on our floor, they just call us and tell us to stay home, without pay, unless you use up your vacation time. So I understand where you’re at. It made me so mad at first but then I decided to look at it as a win/win. If I go to work, I get paid, if I don’t I get to be with my family. It’s been happening for years now so I’m used to it but I still have to remind myself to stay positive.
Sounds like a fun and delicious day!
Susan, So sorry about the furlough, but I love your positive attitude! My husband was with the FAA for 30 years before he retired, and although they threatened furloughs many times, they never happened. Glad to see you’re using your time to have some good times!
[email protected] says
Oh Susan, I’m so sorry to hear about the furloughs. I hope you guys will get through it okay. It looks like you are certainly turning the situation into a positive one. Joe’s Cafe looks awesome…and I’d go there for the music alone! Hang in there and I will look forward to more mini vacations through your forays!
Cher Rockwell says
My girl’s father is Full Time Army Nat’l Guard and his furloughs started this week too.
It’s a tough situation – sorry to hear you are having to live through that. I think it is important for people to understand the real impact of things – thank you for sharing. I like the way you are approaching your off time.
Mary Hirsch says
Susan, you definitely did the lemonade out of lemons thing and did it very well, my dear. The Santa Barbara trip was a great adventure and I knew nothing about the Reagan Ranch Center or Joe’s. You know that I agree, no matter what one’s political preferences, visiting sites like this as well as presidential libraries just widens your historical perspective, educates you and causes you to make better and more informed choices. You go, Girl. The sequestration is nuts! I am reading more and more good articles about the negative ramifications of it. I think you are brilliant to use this tactic, creating an experience worth writing about. I’ve always enjoyed your writing – you’ve got the touch, that’s for sure. Well done and I am proud of you.
Have Apron....Will Bake says
Great post, Susan. We too in Canada have been affected by DRAP(deficit reduction action plan). A lot of people have been affected. It is a stressful time for public and private sectors right now.
Thanks for sharing, and finding some good out of the bad.
Cocoa and Lavender says
So sorry to hear about the furlough days, Susan. We had them a couple of years ago at the University and it was had – more than economically, it was hard emotionally and for morale. Good luck, and major snaps for you for taking this sour lemon and making lemonade, lemon curd, lemon tarts, lemon chicken….