Monday, September 15 – Wednesday, September 17

Dunno about this pace …

These were a very busy three days. To say the least.  Monday’s worksite was the one that tends to be the hardest of the seven on my rotation.  While that isn’t always true, there are exceptions from time to time, it was definitely the case on Monday.  I worked pretty much nonstop until 45 minutes past normal quitting time, skipping the normal morning break and taking maybe ten minutes for lunch.  I seemed to be hustling around nonstop for most of the day.

Still, at least I had something to look forward to, as in the late afternoon we got the train into Manhattan for a shopping excursion at Jacques Torres Chocolates on Hudson Street. Best chocolates anywhere, way ahead of Godiva.  We got the 4:11 from Ronkonkoma to Penn Station, returning on the 8:15.  It was surprising to see how crowded both of the trains got, and it was very dismaying to realize that each round-trip ticket (and keep in mind they were off-peak) cost an obscene $30.50.  But hey, the chocolates were worth it, as was the very nice pizza we had at Pizza Mezzaluna on Houston Street.

Tuesday continued with the theme of tough workdays.  The site, about ten miles to the east, usually isn’t a bad one, but today was an exception.  It was basically a Murphy’s Law situation when everything possible went wrong.  I stayed about an hour longer than usual.  On a better note, I found out that the next two-week cycle will be much less hectic than the current one, which is good because I will be working a whole lot of hours (25 and 24) each week at the Major Home Improvement Retailer.  If my regular job were as tough as it has been, putting in that many hours at the MHIR would push my total workweek nearly to 60 hours. By the time I finally finished, I was so worn out that going to the gym wasn’t even a remote possibility. I think it’s best to consider this week as an occasional rest week.

My regular job wasn’t too bad on Wednesday.  I was at the worksite where I’m scheduled for two days, so I can spread out my tasks. I worked at the MHIR from 7 to 11 in the evening.  It was a pretty varied shift, in terms of the things I did, and even though the store wasn’t too busy I was the sole staff member in the garden department so there always were customers needing attention.

Published in: on September 19, 2014 at 1:32 pm  Leave a Comment  

Saturday, September 13 – Sunday, September 14

Ah, the weekend. A time to set aside the cares of the workweek and enjoy one’s leisure. No worries, no responsibilities, just time to oneself. What could be nicer?

Actually, what could be nicer is having a weekend in the first place. This was a working weekend for me, with eight-hour shifts at the Major Home Improvement Retailer both days. On Saturday I did 1 to 9:30, and 10:30 to 7 on Sunday. Still, it could have been worse. I didn’t have to get up early either day and finished up before it was too late. Also, both were fairly easy work days … well, except for the incident on Saturday evening when there was a disaster in the men’s restroom after the cleaning staff had left, and the manager dispatched me to clean up the mess (hint: water hoses work wonders).

Published in: on September 17, 2014 at 9:50 pm  Leave a Comment  

Thursday, September 10 -.Friday, September 11

So excited about the weekend … ha ha

Thursday was the end of a very tough week at my regular job.  I was at the most distant of my regular work sites,  about 25 miles to the east. It’s such an easy site that I usually finish up an hour or even more early.  Today I finished at my usual time, which I guess is the way it should be but still is an indication of just how tough this cycle is. Monday is going to be very hard as it’s at a much more challenging site. At least I will have a weekend to recover … oh wait, I’m working full days both Saturday and Sunday at the Major Home Improvement Retailer.  Never mind.

Thursday evening I went to what has become my usual hot yoga session. It went really well, in fact I’m quite (pleasantly) surprised at the progress I’ve made. For just about the first time ever I often can maintain my balance for the full duration of a one-legged position.  My flexibility has increased too, if not quite to the same extent.

Friday was an honest to real day off,  the first since Labor Day.  I was out and about quite a bit, but in keeping with the day-off theme tried not to do anything I really didn’t have to do.  Guess I succeeded.

Published in: on September 15, 2014 at 1:23 am  Leave a Comment  

Monday, September 8 – Wednesday, September 10

Oh, joy. It looks as if the current two-week cycle at work is going to be the toughest one in a long time. In fact, I can’t remember a more difficult one. Monday’s worksite is one of the larger of the seven on my rotation, which isn’t a particularly good place to start a new, unfamiliar cycle. I stayed about 45 minutes past my usual quitting time, but a couple other people who were working there ended up staying an extra three hours. And I probably would have been there later if I hadn’t taken five minutes for lunch instead of the half-hour I’m supposed to get :)

Tuesday was about the same as Monday in terms of completion time. Now, it should have been much easier in that it’s a significantly smaller worksite, and the cycle is more familiar. At least I took a longer lunch break, around 15 to 20 minutes. I did have a productive evening, however, making it to the gym for a very good back session. Barbell rows: 4 x 8 x 175. Standing calf machine shrugs: 3 x 10 x 330. T-bar rows: 4 x 6 x 140.

I went into work on Wednesday expecting the worst, as it was one of the more troublesome worksites. To my pleasant surprise I left at my usual time even with a regular 30-minute lunch. Yes, I know, no extra time also means no extra pay, but sometimes the long workday isn’t worth it. Fairly late on Wednesday evening I went to the gym for some benching. It was a very good session, if I may say so: 6 x 135, 6 x 165, 6 x 185, 4 x 205, 2 x 6 x 225, 2 x 4 x 225, 8 x 185, 10 x 135. The 20 total reps I did at 225 is the most at that weight in several months.

Published in: on September 12, 2014 at 3:34 am  Leave a Comment  

Saturday, September 6 – Sunday, September 7

Two workdays at the Major Home Improvement Retailer, but neither one was a full day.  That means a smaller paycheck for the week (not that there’s any such thing as a large paycheck, ha ha), but it did give me a much-needed rest.  On Saturday I worked from 8 am to 1:15 pm, which actually was interesting because I saw the big build-up in customer traffic that’s typical for weekends.  There weren’t too many customers in the store when I arrived, but by the time my shift was over it was pretty crowded.  As it was rather hot out (though not like last weekend’s steambath) I spent about 90 minutes watering the outdoor plants, a task I haven’t done in several weeks.  I was able to spend most of the rest of the shift working indoors in the air conditioning.  Believe me, that was a very welcome change after last weekend!

Later on Saturday I went to the gym, and did some benching.  Nothing spectacular, but it was okay: 6 x 135, 6 x 165, 6 x 185, 4 x 205, 3 x 4 x 225.

Sunday’s work hours were a bit later in the day, 12:30 to 4:30.  I spent more time outside than on Saturday, but it was much cooler so I didn’t really mind.

Published in: on September 11, 2014 at 12:37 am  Leave a Comment  

Thursday, September 4 – Friday, September 5

My day off that wasn’t

Thursday wasn’t a bad day.  In fact, it was pretty good. It was the second day at my two-day worksite, and as such it presented no particular issues.  While I wasn’t able to get out before my usual quitting time, I really didn’t mind too much.  And I definitely appreciated the fact that I didn’t have to make any more trips into Queens like I had over the past three days.

Like I did the prior week, I went to the 8pm hot yoga session.  It was the same instructor as last week, and I have to say that I really like her style.  She works everyone hard, but doesn’t act like an amateur dominatrix, and isn’t as much as some of the others into the spiritual journey stuff.  She instead treats the session as a form of exercise.  That’s more my style. I did well again, making it through the entire session without having to rest and with my balance and flexibility at least as good as it had been last time.

As for Friday, while that’s usually my day off, this week it was a different story as I went to the worksite that’s usually scheduled for Monday.  It was a relatively tough day, nothing terrible but not as easy as an actual day off would have been.  It will be another week until I have a day off from both jobs. Ugh.

Published in: on September 9, 2014 at 12:47 am  Leave a Comment  

Tuesday, September 2 – Wednesday, September 3

The daily grind

Tuesday and Wednesday were not among my better days. To put it very mildly.  Tuesday was a tough day at work, every time I thought I was done more things would crop up like Whack-a-Mole.  For a while it looked as if I would have to stay as much as two hours past my normal quitting time.  Things got a bit more orderly in the afternoon and I ended up staying only a half-hour longer than normal.  Given how hectic the day had been, however, it felt much longer.

In the early evening I had a bit of energy and decided to go to the gym for some back work.  It actually went quite well.  Barbell rows came first, 5 x 8 x 165, and then T-bar rows, 4 x 6 x 135.  Due to some knee pain, from what I don’t know, I decided to skip shrugs on the standing calf machine and instead did some using a ground-based deadlift/shrug apparatus, 3 x 10 x 230.  I didn’t much like that device.

It was just after leaving the gym that I found out that it would be necessary to make another trip to Queens, follow-up stuff related to Monday’s trip.  Or should I say two more trips, as I’d also have to go there on Wednesday too.  I was not pleased. To put it mildly. The only good thing is that by leaving after 9pm, I was able to make the 100-mile round trip in just over two hours.  That would have been impossible during rush hour, to put it mildly!

One saving grace on Wednesday is that work was a lot easier.  I worked at a steady pace, with no annoyances popping up, and even though my workday was only a half-hour shorter than Tuesday’s it seemed like it was hours less.  As for my trip into Queens, by leaving at 5pm it took me almost 90 minutes, I was surprised at all the westbound traffic on the Northern State Parkway. Though for sure it was nothing like the endless horror show in the other direction.  I left Queens about 7, which meant that I was able to miss most of rush hour.  The return trip was a bit over an hour.

Published in: on September 6, 2014 at 1:37 am  Leave a Comment  

Saturday, August 30 – Monday, September 1

I almost melted

Saturday and Sunday may have been part of the holiday weekend, but they also were full workdays for me.  I spent eight hours at the Major Home Improvement Retailer each day, 8:30 to 5 on Saturday and 8 to 4:30 on Sunday.  Of course each shift felt about 24 hours long instead of eight.  That’s because it was unusually hot and humid both days, and unlike almost all other employees on duty I didn’t get to spend my time in the beautifully air conditioned store building.  Instead, I spent most of my shifts in the non-air conditioned outdoor garden center, or around the side of the building handling propane exchanges.  With Monday being Labor Day with its traditional cookouts, there were a lot of propane exchanges.  To make matters worse, for the last two hours of my shift on Saturday and the first hour or so on Sunday, I was stuck with an absolutely backbreaking task of sorting through shingle bundles.  I probably ended up lifting and carrying 45 to 50 bundles, each of which weights 70 pounds.  It was such a hot, exhausting task that I wasn’t able to get to the gym after work on Saturday.

On Monday, I had to get up very early to drive into Queens to help with a move.  While having to get up at dawn on a holiday wasn’t my idea of fun, I got to drive on nearly empty roads.  That was a pleasure, and a rare pleasure to boot.  Later during the day I did quite a variety of things.

Published in: on September 3, 2014 at 8:38 pm  Leave a Comment  

Thursday, August 28 – Friday, August 29

Excellent yoga and a free arboretum visit, what could be nicer?

Thursday was an easy end to my workweek at my regular job. While I had to go to the physically most distant worksite, about 25 or 30 miles to the east, it went easily as it always does and I was done almost two hours early.  No complaints from me.  Later that evening, I went to the 8pm hot yoga session.  I didn’t really want to go to the one at 6 because it’s a bit more advanced than I prefer.  In any event, I had a terrific session, maybe the best ever.  My balance was decent and I was able to stretch farther than ever before.  It might have been partly physical, but also partly mental, as I was determined to push past my previous limits.  And I did.

On Friday, my day off, I finally got to see the Bayard Cutting Arboretum in Oakdale.  No, I did not swallow my pride and pay the extortionate $8 parking fee that deterred me last week.  What I did instead was park for free at the Great River train station and walk 10 minutes to the arboretum’s entrance.  There is no charge for walk-ins.  I spent the next two hours or thereabouts wandering the beautiful grounds and admiring the trees.  Some of the black oaks are truly magnificent, with amazingly thick trunks and huge spreading crowns.  I also admired the bald cypresses with their root “knees,” they’re not something easily seen in person as the northernmost point of their natural range is hundreds of miles away. All in all, I’d have to say that the most interesting trees were the dawn redwoods, on account of their unusual history.  Known by leaf fossils, they were thought extinct for tens of millions of years, until a few live ones were found in a very remote part of China about 75 years ago.

I didn’t do much for the rest of Friday, I was a bit too sore from yoga to go to the gym, but a leisurely day was fine, especially as I’d be working all day on both Saturday and Sunday at the Major Home Improvement Retailer.

Published in: on September 1, 2014 at 2:32 am  Leave a Comment  

Monday, August 25 – Wednesday, August 27

An okay cycle, I guess

It looks as if the new 2-week workcycle that started on Monday will be about mid-range in terms of difficulty.  There have been easier ones, and there have been harder ones, and that’s that.  Monday was the only day which I had to stay past the usual quitting time, and it was for only about 20 minutes.  Actually, Wednesday could have been a very long day indeed, on account of some unexpected obstacles I encountered, but I was able to get my district manager’s permission to omit some thing I normally would have had to do.

It’s actually very good that I didn’t have to stay late on Wednesday, because after a short break I headed into the Major Home Improvement Retailer for a 4:30 to 8:30 shift.  Some of it consisted of a task I particularly dislike, namely humping heavy boxes (mostly 35 to 45 pounds) up a 15-foot ladder into an overhead storage area.  It has to be done, of course, and I suppose it had some exercise value.  After completing that task, I helped the store manager set up a large new display of snowblowers.  It was a bit weird, to say the least, because Wednesday was a steamy hot day with temperatures over 90.

Speaking of exercise value, I went to the gym on Tuesday (Monday was out as other things intervened) for bench pressing.  I didn’t feel particularly energetic and figured that I’d have a mediocre session at best.  It actually turned out pretty well: 6 x 135, 6 x 155, 6 x 185, 6 x 205, 4 x 4 x 225, 6 x 185.  I had been planning to do some shoulder work but right after benching I developed a severe cramp in my left bicep and decided against it. Next time I bench I’ll try for a 5 x 5 at 225.  Should be do-able.

Published in: on August 29, 2014 at 3:15 am  Leave a Comment  

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