Black Hole of Calcutta

The basement where I worked – Gaithersburg, Maryland

People like to trash federal government workers all the time as being underworked and overpaid, undeserving of even the smallest things… like basic office supplies, clean and healthy working conditions, safe drinking water, a living wage, and many other aspects that we all take for granted in an office-based work environment. But they have no idea just how difficult some of those federal government agencies are to work in, like my former employer.

This is the basement hallway in the 60-year old building where my cubicle was located for the last six years of my career before I retired. If the image looks dark, that’s because it was; budget cuts at the time were so extreme that only two lights illuminated the entire length, from one end of the long building to the other. Many of the offices on this hallway – most of which were crammed to four times (or more) of their designed capacity with cubicles – had similar levels of illumination in them; i.e., almost nothing. Of course there were no windows.

Sound levels were so loud that they were just below the OSHA levels for required ear protection. The plumbing broke at least once or twice per year, flooding most of the hallway and offices with raw sewage, which required the replacement of everything that it touched. The drinking fountains were unusable for months at a time; sometimes because high levels of lead were discovered in them, sometimes because they were saturated with other contaminants.

We didn’t have a break room, and had no place where we could wash dishes or utensils if we brought our own lunch. Trash – even food waste – was only collected twice per week, which got rank and attracted vermin. The janitorial service was laughable.

I could go on and on. I only continued working in such bad conditions because I was so close to retirement.

Photo info:
Basement hallway where I worked
Gaithersburg, Maryland
April 2013
Apple iPhone 4S

Early Morning Drama

The Madison Range – Ennis, Montana

This is the stunning view we had during our recent stay in Montana. From our vantage point, we could – on a clear day – see all the way down the valley into Idaho, some 65 miles away. A beautiful, beautiful place.

Photo info:
The Madison Range
Madison Valley
Ennis, Montana
May 2021
Apple iPhone 12 Pro

The Badlands

Theodore Roosevelt National Park – Painted Canyon Visitor Center, North Dakota

For our lengthy road trip out to Montana a few weeks ago, we passed through the Theodore Roosevelt National Park in North Dakota. It’s a park that I’ve always wanted to visit, but just haven’t had the opportunity to do so just yet. At least this time we actually stopped to take some photos.

Photo info:
Theodore Roosevelt National Park
Painted Canyon Visitor Center
Belfield, North Dakota
May 2021
Apple iPhone 12 Pro