Thursday, July 17 – Friday, July 18

That’s an early morning

No work on Thursday, but that does not mean it wasn’t an early morning.  In fact it was even earlier than usual.  I left at 5:30 to drive a family member to LaGuardia Airport for an early flight.  Surprisingly, traffic on the Long Island Expressway and Northern State/Grand Central Parkway wasn’t too bad, even though it was past the start of rush hour.  It didn’t take more than about 1:10 to get to the airport.  Why the lack of traffic?  Most likely it was because traffic tends to be lighter than usual in the summer, just like LIRR ridership. Whatever the reason, I’m certainly not complaining.

Getting back from the airport was a bit more complicated, due to a crash on the Expressway near Exit 46 that caused a bit of a backup.  While crawling along I got a phone call informing me that my scheduled 8 to midnight shift at the Major Home Improvement Retailer was cancelled.  That’s not an uncommon occurrence, the result I presume of slower-than-expected sales earlier in the week, and even though I appreciate the money I was so physically run-down that I wasn’t too bothered.  I’m still getting over 20 hours for the week.  Once back home I basically just goofed off for the rest of the day, too worn out to do much of consequence.

Friday was another day off, at least this time I had some energy.  In the late morning I walked for about an hour at the Sans Souci County Park in Sayville.  Although the trails in this park are dirt, in contrast to the paved Setauket-Port Jefferson trail, I consider it walking rather than hiking because it’s pretty flat.  Still, it was nice, as was the weather.  Later in the day I actually went to the gym for the first time in too long, I really do intend to get back into the swing of things now that work should be less brutal.  All I did was some bench presses, as time goes on I’ll do more: 6 x 135, 6 x 165, 6 x 185, 6 x 205, 4 x 225.

Published in: on July 21, 2014 at 2:43 am  Leave a Comment  

Monday, July 14 – Wednesday, July 16

I survived, how?

Monday dawned bright and early with the start of a new two-week cycle at my main job.  More precisely, a horrible two-week cycle.  I don’t know why things were scheduled this way, but about a month’s worth of work has been packed into these two weeks.  Monday’s worksite was close by, but that’s the beginning and the end of the good news.  I stayed two hours longer than usual, which may not seem too bad, except that it was almost nonstop work for over nine hours.  All I could manage were a couple breaks of about five minutes each.  Fortunately I did not have any work in the evening at the Major Home Improvement Retailer.

Tuesday’s worksite is one that’s usually pretty easy.  Thing is, “usually” is not the same as “always.”  It wasn’t quite as tough a day as Monday, in the sense that I stayed 90 minutes longer than usual instead of two hours.  Once again, hardly any breaks.  The downside is that I had to work the 8 to midnight shift at the MHIR, and naturally enough it was not an easy shift.  There was a big delivery of freight for the garden department, and with several people working it took the full four hours to get it all packed out.  I actually had been scheduled to spend the first two hours of the shift on plant watering, but thanks to torrential downpours Mother Nature took care of that task for me.  Thanks, mom.

Wednesday marked further improvement at my main job.  When I arrived at the worksite and saw how much had to be done, I was expecting catastrophe.  Thankfully, it went okay, and I stayed only slightly longer than usual.  Extra help and the experience from doing the same work the prior two days were what made the difference.  I was so beat out from the late night on Tuesday that I don’t know how I would have coped had things not gone so well.  What was not so good is that I had yet another MHIR shift from 8 to midnight.  This one was as hectic as the previous evening’s, and due to some late-arriving customers I never did get my 10 to 10:15 break.  By the time I left I could barely stand upright.

Published in: on July 18, 2014 at 12:03 am  Leave a Comment  

Thursday, July 10 – Sunday, July 13

Still dragging

Making it through hot yoga on Wednesday did not mean, unfortunately, that I was physically back at 100%.  Through most of the day on Thursday I was pretty much dragging myself around without much energy. Fortunately, it was a fairly quiet day at my regular job, though I found out that next week is going to be very tough indeed.  Wonderful.  In the evening I worked the 8pm to midnight shift at the Major Home Improvement Retailer.  As shifts go it wasn’t too bad, busy but not hectic.

Friday was a day off from all work.  I did some errands, wasted too much time online (how surprising!), but mostly just goofed off.  No, I didn’t go to the gym.  Right now my enthusiasm is at a low level, but I’m not too concerned because this sort of thing has happened before and I always end up getting re-energized.

Saturday was a more active day.  In the early afternoon I went to the Setauket-Port Jefferson hiking trail, starting from the Setauket end.  My plans were to walk to about the one mile mark and return.  I got to that point and had some newfound energy, so I kept going … and going.  It was fairly hot outside but not intolerable.  When all was said and done, I went to the 2.5-mile mark before turning around.  It would have been only another three-quarters of a mile to the trail’s end, but time was getting short and the eastern end in Port Jefferson is the least interesting part.  I ended up hiking 5 miles in 100 minutes, for a 3mph pace.  Not bad for steep terrain.  Later on Saturday we went to the Sonic drive-in, about 15 miles away in Deer Park, but the line was way too long, so Panera was the substitute.

I didn’t do much during the day on Sunday, it was much too hot to consider any outdoor activities, and at 6:30 I went to the MHIR for a shift lasting until midnight.  I didn’t think it was going to be particularly busy, as there’s no freight on weekends and the garden department isn’t as busy as it had been earlier in the season, but it turned out to be a rather hectic shift indeed as quite a bit of seasonal merchandise had to be moved.  At least it went by quickly.

Published in: on July 15, 2014 at 11:08 pm  Leave a Comment  

Monday, July 7 – Wednesday, July 8

Mustering up the energy for yoga

These weren’t the best of days in physical terms.  Lots of aches and pains, my guess is that I had picked up some sort of low-level bug that’s not enough to make me outright sick, but was draining my energy reserves. It didn’t help that work was generally on the tough side on Monday and Tuesday, though Wednesday was somewhat easier.

Monday’s worksite was in a location that is especially annoying due to the almost complete lack of phone service. Apparently Verizon Wireless hasn’t gotten around to building enough cell towers in the area, notwithstanding the fact that it’s a densely populated suburban area.  What, do they think it’s actually some sort of remote countryside or something? It wasn’t that I had to make much use of my phone, it’s that the constant search for a signal very quickly drained the phone’s battery.  In the space of eight hours it went from a full charge to less than 5%.  Tuesday’s location, about ten miles away, was scarcely any better, but this time I had the foresight to keep the phone turned off most of the time, turning it on every 30 minutes to check for messages or texts.  It came as a relief to spend Wednesday in a location with a strong signal.

Tuesday was the only evening of the three in which I worked at the Major Home Improvement Retailer.  I’m getting only 12 hours this week, though next week will more than make up for that with 24.75 hours.  Given the way I was sort of dragging physically, it’s just as well that I didn’t work that much.  Tuesday evening’s shift was a fairly easy one, not too much heavy lifting or scrambling up ladders.  The one drawback is that there is no break room for the next two weeks, as the store’s non-public areas undergo renovation.  Several desks in the kitchen design area served as a sort of impromptu break room.  Better than nothing, I guess.

On Wednesday evening, I was recovered enough to make it to hot yoga. Aspirin beforehand dealt with the aches and pains I would be experiencing.  The session was crowded, though the room wasn’t quite as hot as usual, possibly in deference to the hot weather we’ve been having.  It wasn’t the usual Wednesday evening instructor, in fact it was my first session with her, and all I can say is that she was tough.  Very tough.  She didn’t even call for any water breaks during the 90-minute session.  Nonetheless, I made it though the session without having to rest, and in fact my balance seemed a bit better than usual.  Not bad at all.

Published in: on July 11, 2014 at 1:12 pm  Leave a Comment  

Saturday, July 5 – Sunday, July 6

It was a fairly quiet weekend for me.  On Saturday morning I hiked the western half of the Setauket-Port Jefferson trail whose eastern half I had walked on Monday.  The western half was hillier, downright steep in a few spots, though the scenery wasn’t as interesting.  As it was a weekend the trail was quite crowded, mostly with runners.  I noticed to some bewilderment that among the runners, women outnumbered men by at least 3:1. No idea why that’s the case.

Most of the rest of the weekend was rather uninspiring.  By Saturday afternoon I was feeling rather weak and run-down, which continued into Sunday.  Going to the gym just wasn’t about to happen.  On Sunday I had to work a 6:15 to midnight shift at the Major Home Improvement Retailer.  Thankfully, it was a pretty easy shift, not at all hectic, and I was able to get through it okay.

Published in: on July 10, 2014 at 3:11 am  Leave a Comment  

Wednesday, July 2 – Friday, July 4

Travel on holiday weekends: not fun

Wednesday was a low-energy day if there ever was one.  Maybe it was the fact that it was so steaming hot outside.  Or maybe it was because I was at the halfway point of my week off.  Whatever the case, I spent most of the day trying to muster up the energy to go to the gym, or to go to yoga, and eventually doing nothing at all.  Well not totally nothing, as I worked the 8 to midnight shift at the Major Home Improvement Retailer.  I was on plant watering duty, which is the sort of thing I can more or less muddle through.

Thursday was much more interesting. We made our annual, or sometimes less frequent, trip to Callie’s Candy Kitchen/Pretzel Factory in Pennsylvania.  Both establishments are a few miles apart in the Poconos, about 15 minutes off of Interstate 80.  The drive there, leaving around 10 am, took about two and a half hours, the route being Long Island Expressway/Grand Central Parkway/Triboro Bridge/George Washington Bridge/I-80.  It really wasn’t a bad drive, though since I wasn’t actually driving I wouldn’t have had much basis for complaining :)

After stocking up on way too much candy and way too many pretzels, we started the return trip about 3pm. Same route, different direction.  And very different timing.  Traffic on I-80 was ferociously heavy, with people getting away for the long holiday weekend, but fortunately it was all in the other direction.  We breezed right along.  Once we got onto the George Washington Bridge, unfortunately, the rest of the trip was basically one big traffic jam.  Even the HOV lane on the Expressway was no help.  The return trip took about 4:15, a full hour and 45 minutes longer than the morning.  Oh, and the worst part … the (obscene) tools, a repulsive $29!

It rained almost all day on Friday, so much for a Fourth of July cookout.  Though I’d have to say that takeout from Famous Dave’s BBQ was a very good substitute.

Published in: on July 7, 2014 at 4:37 am  Leave a Comment  

Monday, June 30 – Tuesday, July 1

A non-green sight on the Greenway

Monday.  The first day of my week off from my regular job, though I’ve got 20 hours scheduled at the Major Home Improvement Retailer.  What shall I do with all this free time on my hands?  I decided to start out by hiking on the Setauket -Port Jefferson Greenway, a recently completed 3.5-mile trail that connects the two communities.  “Hiking” might seem a strange choice of word for a paved path, about the width of a single-lane road, that is open to walkers, runners and bikers.  Yet I’ll stick with it, as the Greenway has some fairly substantial elevation changes, not like trekking through the Himalayas but certainly much more than a stroll down the lane.

I parked just off Old Town Road, near the midpoint of the Greenway, and decided to hike east to the Port Jefferson end and back.  Another time I’ll try the western half to Setauket.  The first quarter-mile or so went through a residential neighborhood, right past peoples’ backyards.  It then went into a wooded area, down a long hill and through an old sand-and-gravel operation, and then up a steep incline that lasted for maybe a third of a mile.

At was at the top of the hill where I was in for quite a surprise.  Local governments have been trying for over 15 years to get federal “Superfund” money to clean up an abandoned factory complex known as Lawrence Aviation.  So far they’ve made little progress.  The factory site is up a long, fenced-off driveway and isn’t visible from anywhere on public land.  Well, almost anywhere.  Turns out that the Greenway runs right along the site, offering an excellent view of the rusting, decaying, graffiti-covered buildings.   It’s a strange juxtaposition, all I can think of is that when the Town of Brookhaven was assembling land for the Greenway this particular route was all that was available. Anyway, I walked the remaining half-mile or so to the Port Jefferson terminus, had a Diet Pepsi from the 7-11 located conveniently at the trailhead, and walked back to my car.

On Tuesday, I figured it was high time to drag my lazy self to the gym.  It was so hot out that hiking the other half of the Greenway was a distinctly unattractive option.  I started out with bench presses, using the flat bench this time: 6 x 135, 6 x 185, 6 x 205, 4 x 4 x 225, 8 x 185.  Not bad.  Then I decided to do some back work, using the T-bar row apparatus which was right next to the bench.  It was the kind that had a home plate-shaped base, with the pointed end in a corner, and with a pivoted sleeve on the base.  You slip a barbell into the sleeve, add weights on the other end, grip the bar using a D-shaped handle from the cable station, and row away.  I did 8 x 90, 8 x 115, 8 x 135, 8 x 145.  It wasn’t bad, much more natural-feeling than the T-bar apparatus with the chest pad.

I worked the 8 to midnight shift at the MHIR, assigned to plant watering.  Normally I can get the watering done in about two hours, but tonight it took closer to three, as what with the hot weather the plants were soaking up water like anything.  Still, it wasn’t a bad shift.

Published in: on July 2, 2014 at 9:40 pm  Leave a Comment  

Saturday, June 28 – Sunday, June 29

“Time wasting” is the most apt term to describe these two day.  Not entirely, of course; I worked at the Major Home Improvement Retailer on Saturday, and did some interesting stuff on Sunday, but all in all I spent way too much time aimlessly diddling around on the computer.  Not that I have any reason to regret this.  It isn’t as if I have some sort of imaginary daily to-do list that’s in addition to all the actual things I have to do.

While Saturday’s shift at the MHIR was mainly routine, one incident early in the shift starkly illustrated that I’m not completely over all the turmoil I experienced when in the straight commission life insurance pyramid scam.  I was helping a customer buy a gas grill, a transaction which would require some processing at the service desk. The desk workers were swamped at that particular time, and after a wait of maybe three or four minutes the customer said “You know, I’ll come back tomorrow” (customer-speak for “Ha ha, you lose, schmuck!”)

It sent me into quite a funk even though I get no commissions and am not on any quotas. Had something of this nature happened in the life insurance scam, I would have made no money and an idiot manager would have scornfully said that I lost the sale because I didn’t have a “positive mental attitude.” Ugh.

Published in: on July 2, 2014 at 1:52 pm  Leave a Comment  

Wednesday, June 25 – Friday, June 27

Still recovering

It was on Wednesday that the effects of Tuesday’s 15-hour workday really hit me.  In many respects this is to be expected, as the adrenaline – or, more likely, sheer force of will – that had carried me through Tuesday had pretty much worn off by then.  Another factor, which in retrospect might have been even more important, is that Wednesday in and of itself was a tough day.  I spent just under seven hours at my regular job, and though the worksite was fairly close-by it was a more difficult day than usual.  No actual crises, just a series of low-level issues that demanded my attention almost nonstop. And then, no rest for the weary, it was back to the Major Home Improvement Retailer for yet another shift.  To be sure, it was from 8 to midnight, not another 3:30 to midnight marathon, but it still made for an 11-hour workday.

Thursday was my birthday, and thankfully I had to work only at my regular job.  It was at the most distant worksite, about a 30-minute drive to the east on the Sunrise Highway, but as is typical for that site the work went okay.  Later on, we had excellent chicken parmigiana, and went out for Italian ice.  By 9pm I was pretty well exhausted, no doubt from having worked 26 hours in the prior two days … or maybe I was just getting old :)

Friday was a day completely off from both jobs.  Thank God.  I really, really needed a break.  While I really should have gone to the gym, or maybe yoga, I was just too beat.  At least the day wasn’t a complete waste in physical terms, as I hiked for about an hour at Sans Souci park.  It would have been nice if there had been some hills, but it still was decent.  And I probably wasn’t yet in any frame of mind for rugged exercise.


Published in: on June 30, 2014 at 3:12 am  Leave a Comment  

Monday, June 23 – Tuesday, June 24

Yes, I made it. Somehow.

Call Monday the proverbial calm before the storm. Or, more specifically, the easy day before the brutal day.  In a last-minute change, I got sent to a different workplace for my regular job, fortunately it was both closer and more organized than the one on the original schedule.  I was there for the full shift, no finishing up early, but that’s mainly because it was the first day of a new 2-week cycle and that’s always a bit complicated.  Learning curves, and all.

In the early evening, I went to the gym to do some bench pressing.  Naturally enough, both flat benches were taken, both by groups so it would be awkward at best to try to work in. Rather than wait, I decided to give the decline bench a try.  It’s been longer than I can remember since I last tried declines, so I started light and worked my way up: 6 x 135, 6 x 165, 6 x 185, 6 x 205, 3 x 4 x 225. Keep in mind that doing a particular weight on the decline bench is somewhat easier than on the flat bench. By the time I finished my last set at 225 a flat bench had opened up, so I went over to it for some cooldown work: 6 x 185, 10 x 135.  All I can say is that the first rep at 185 was really awkward after having used the decline bench!

Tuesday.  The day I’d been dreading for two weeks, since the Major Home Improvement Retailer’s schedule came out.  I was working  my regular job during the day, of course, but then was scheduled to work 3:30 to midnight at the MHIR, for a total workday of almost 16 hours. I had been quite surprised when I had seen this on my schedule, as I have indicated on the MHIR availability page that I’m not available before 5:30 on Monday through Thursday.  As complaining would have been in bad form, I figured the only alternative was just to deal with it.

My regular job went by fairly well, and it was in a close-by location, so I had about an hour’s break between jobs. This good note continued when I first arrived at the MHIR, as I did about an hour’s computer training and it looked as if the rest of the shift wouldn’t be bad.  If only.  Around 5pm word came out that a Big Boss would be making an inspection tour the next day, with particular attention to the garden department.  This of course necessitated all sorts of cleanup activities, and to make matters worse there weren’t many people scheduled and it was too late to call in any more.

My role in all this?  I was assigned to use a pallet jack to pull all of the fertilizer pallets out of their shelving bays, and then to clean the bays of any spills or other debris.  It was dirty, hot, and backbreaking work, and would have been a challenge even if I hadn’t already worked a full day at another job. Somehow, some way, I was able to summon enough energy  – from reserves I didn’t know I had – to stumble through the shift.  I must say that the bays actually looked quite clean!


Published in: on June 27, 2014 at 1:09 am  Comments (2)  

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