By: Jenn Schanz
Three weeks after a spat in Washington led to a stand–still, the U.S. government is once again open for business.
But for many of those furloughed, the return back is just a reminder of the extra work ahead.
"I think everybody's excited this morning, and at the same time a little bit concerned about how we're going to catch up on almost three weeks of work," says Dan Steinkruger, State Director for USDA.
During the shutdown, more than 800,000 federal employees, like those working for the Department of Agriculture, were furloughed. For those still at work, they weren't getting their full paychecks.
Mary Burns' husband was one them.
As a federal meat inspector, still working full time, Mary says the shutdown put him in between a rock and hard place.
He's a diabetic with other medical conditions, and needs to see a doctor regularly.
But because of the shutdown, he wasn't able to take any time off.
His only option? To be considered AWOL, which would have gone on his permanent record.
"For a guy that's already putting in the hours and the days that he's putting in, the last thing he needed was more stress," Mary says.
But it wasn't only her husband's health that worried her.
Lack of steady pay caused them to cut back on spending, in case the shutdown lasted longer.
Mary says although she can breathe a small sigh of relief, she's far from having a renewed trust in Washington.
"If this happens again next year, which they're already saying there's a real good chance of it, then we're going to be back in the same boat."