Wednesday, August 13 – Friday, August 15

Miracle yoga recovery

After Tuesday’s workplace struggles I was hoping against hope that Wednesday would be easier.  Dealing with another lousy day would be very low on my favorite-things list.  Things ended up, well, sort of in the middle.  It wasn’t a good day, but it wasn’t bad either.  Guess that’s okay.  Just getting into work was a bit of an accomplishment, as torrential morning rains caused flash flooding and many road closures.  I saw a couple cars that had been caught in low spots and almost completely submerged. By the time I left, everything was fine.  My plans to go to the gym got sidetracked by some other things I had to do.

Thursday was definitely a step up, way up, in terms of being an easy day.  It was at the most distant of the worksites on my rotation, about 20 miles to the east, but traffic wasn’t an issue.  Work went very smoothly, none of the snags I’d been encountering, and I was able to leave over an hour before the usual quitting time. 

I decided to go the 8pm hot yoga session on Thursday.  When I had gone on Wednesday of last week I hadn’t done particularly well, with my balance and stamina both lacking.  Not this time. I had one of my better sessions, being able to make it through the 90 minutes without having to rest and with much better balance.  It could be the different instructor this time, or it could be that last week I still hadn’t been physically 100%.

Friday was my one day completely off this week.  It was nice weather, especially in the first part of the day, so I decided to hike for a while in Sans Souci County Park.  It’s flatter and less challenging than the Setauket-Port Jefferson trail but still quite nice.  I occupied myself by identifying the various tree species along the trails (mostly pitch pine, scarlet oak, white oak, and sassafras). Later in the day I went to the gym for bench pressing: 6 x 135, 6 x 185, 4 x 205, 3 x 4 x 225, 8 x 185.


Published in: on August 18, 2014 at 1:58 am  Leave a Comment  

Monday, August 11 – Tuesday, August 12

So much for expectations

Monday began a new 2-week cycle at work.  Now, one thing that’s often been a bit troublesome is that the worksite at which I start a cycle also happens to be one of the larger sites with a high volume of work.  It can be troublesome because the first day of a cycle is often somewhat difficult, learning curves and all.  And unnecessary too, as the worksite for the second day of the cycle, when I have a better grasp of what I’m doing, is one of the smallest and easiest. Surely the company could switch them, right?

As you might have guessed, things turned out very different on these two days.  Monday was a pretty easy day despite being the start of the cycle and a bigger worksite.  Tuesday was basically one catastrophe after another, I ended up staying well past my normal quitting time, largely because the site was quite disorganized. If I’d gone there on Monday to start the cycle, it would have been all that much worse.  So I’m glad there was no switch!

I moseyed off to the gym on Monday evening, doing some back work.  It wasn’t a bad session, even though I kept the weights fairly light.  T-bar rows: 8 x 100, 2 x 8 x 115, 8 x 100.  I concentrated really hard on maintaining good form and not bending upward at the top of the rep.  Doing so allows one to hoist more weight but decreases the exercise’s value.  Standing calf machine shrugs: 3 x 10 x 360.  Not much form involved on this exercise, which has a very short range of motion.  Barbell rows: 8 x 135, 2 x 8 x 155.  This is an exercise I haven’t done in months, so I used a light weight. Once again I concentrated on form, keeping a deep forward bend throughout each rep. 

On Tuesday evening we went out for dinner at Cafe Amici, an excellent Italian place that coincidentally is in the same shopping plaza as the Major Home Improvement Retailer.  The food’s always of top quality and reasonably priced, which may be why there was a 20-minute wait on a Tuesday.  For a while I had a low opinion of the restaurant, because back in my days enmeshed in the straight commission life insurance pyramid scam I had gone there soliciting and the manager sent me packing.  I now realize, however, that I was intruding on their business and being unwelcome, trust me when I say that businesses HATE solicitors.  It’s something I can see clearly now but couldn’t see at all back then.

Published in: on August 14, 2014 at 9:16 pm  Leave a Comment  

Thursday, August 7 – Sunday, August 10

The hours went fast

Thursday was another easy day at my regular job, being the second day at a two-day worksite.  In fact it was almost too easy, as by 11 am I had completed all of my assigned duties, but had to stay until 1 before it was okay to leave.  I managed to find various things here and there. Just as I always do.  In the evening, we went to Joe’s Crab Shack in Riverhead for, well, crabs.  While I wouldn’t say that crab is one of my favorite foods, it is really nice to have from time to time.

Friday was a day off from both jobs.  In fact it was the only such day all week. While I had various inchoate thoughts about  things I might do, in the end I decided to take advantage of a day off and not try to accomplish anything at all.  Yes, this lead to my goofing off for a good part of the day, but that’s fine with me.  And it wasn’t a complete do-nothing day, as in the early evening I went to the gym for some bench pressing.  Nothing too heavy, but it went fine:  6 x 135, 6 x 155, 6 x 185, 4 x 205, 3 x 4 x 225, 8 x 185.

Saturday and Sunday were a bit unusual in that I worked an early shift at the Major Home Improvement Retailer both days.  Saturday I did 9 to 2:30, Sunday 8:30 to 4. As far as I can tell this is the earliest I’ve been at the MHIR. Both days were fairly busy with customers, Sunday more so than Saturday, and what was nice is that I got out with plenty of time to do stuff during the rest of the day. In the case of Saturday that meant getting various errands done, while on Sunday it meant not doing too much of anything.

Published in: on August 12, 2014 at 2:49 am  Leave a Comment  

Monday, August 4 – Wednesday, August 6

Normalcy, what a wonderful sensation

After having been so sick last week it was a wonderful feeling to get back to something approaching normal.  Just being free of the constant aches and pains that had plagued me was a real joy.  On Monday, I wasn’t 100% back to normal, still being a bit weaker than usual though the aches were gone, but I had no trouble making it through the workday.  Which actually means more than it might seem, as it was a fairly tough workday.  It shouldn’t have been, being the second half of the two-week workcycle when things usually get easier, but a number of unexpected things came up and the volume of work was greater than usual.  I ended up staying a short time beyond my usual quitting time.

Tuesday was slightly easier at work than Monday had been, but was still moderately difficult. Without letting on too much, the best I can say is that the worksite did not prepare for my arrival as they should have, and with the lack of preparatory work on their part it was harder on my part.  I’ve gotten the impression that the management at this particular location doesn’t really welcome my presence, not because they don’t like me as a person but because they don’t appreciate the services I provide.  Fortunately they have no control over my presence, that being a home-office decision, and while at one time I might have cared about what they thought I’m long since past that stage.

Wednesday was the easiest workday of the three by far.  It’s the location where I spend two days instead of one, which means that it’s often a very low-pressure, almost leisurely day.   I was done well over an hour earlier than usual.  Which gave me more than ample time to get into the right frame of mind for – yes! – hot yoga.  Last week had been a complete washout because I’d been sick, but I finally was ready to take the plunge (or, more accurately, roast) once again. It wasn’t easy making it through the session, as I had to lie on the mat and rest a couple of times (as did several other people), and my balance seems to have deteriorated a bit, but all in all I’m very glad I went.

Published in: on August 8, 2014 at 1:22 pm  Leave a Comment  

Thursday, July 31 – Sunday, August 3

Four (mostly) lost days

Wednesday’s suspicions that I had been coming down with the flu were indeed quite accurate.  Or something like the flu, something that caused all sorts of lethargy with almost-constant aches and pains.  Ugh.  I couldn’t do much of anything on Thursday or Friday, venturing out only a few times and only briefly.  Any misgivings I may have had about missing work on Thursday quickly evaporated.  There wasn’t a chance in a million that I could have made it through an hour of work, let alone a whole workday.  My absence probably won’t impair my chances of getting the promotion, at least not to any meaningful degree.  I’ve scarcely ever been out in over two years with the company.

On Saturday morning I was somewhat better, though I wasn’t about to go and compete in a triathlon or anything.  Well actually I was scheduled for a noon – 9pm shift at the Major Home Improvement Retailer, which in my current state was something akin to a mini-triathlon. The first couple hours went okay, but then I started losing strength, fast.  It didn’t help that there was a pretty much nonstop flow of customers.  At my lunch break from 4:30 to 5, I ventured out to a nearby 7-11 and had a cup of watermelon chunks, about the only food that interested me at all.  As soon as I came back I knew that I’d never make it to 9.  By that point it was a struggle to stand upright.  Finally, at 5:45 I threw in the towel, so to speak, and told the manager that I’d have to leave.  She was fine about it and even offered to drive me home if I didn’t feel capable.  It’s not far, and I was able to drive myself okay.

Sunday things were much better.  While I still wasn’t back to normal, I was in good enough shape to get my usual errands done, and in the mid-afternoon we had a family outing to Red Lobster.  I don’t know why everyone seems to rag on Red Lobster.  Everything was quite good and the prices, if not inexpensive, are reasonable.

Published in: on August 5, 2014 at 2:39 am  Leave a Comment  

Monday, July 28 – Wednesday, July 30

So that explains it

Monday was the start of a new 2-week cycle at my regular job.  I was hoping against hope that it wouldn’t be as brutal as the last cycle had been.  Fortunately, I was right.  While it would be an exaggeration to say that Monday was an easy day, it really wasn’t that bad.  I ended up staying about 45 minutes past the usual quitting time, compared to two hours last time, and I even was able to take my normal breaks. This cycle is clearly going to be challenging, but not overwhelming like the last one.  After a break of a few hours I headed into the Major Home Improvement Retailer for an 8 to midnight shift.  It wasn’t a bad shift as these things go, I spent the first 90 minutes watering the plants and then did some freight packout.

Tuesday was spent at the easiest worksite on my current rotation, it being the easiest because it’s also the smallest.  At least it should have been the easiest.  A variety of small issues kept cropping up, none too serious on an individual basis but a bit of a pain when added together.  Even so, with a bit of scrambling I was able to get everything done by the normal quitting time.  My lunch break was a little shorter than usual, but nothing too bad.

Later in the evening on Tuesday I went to the gym.  My plan was to do back work, specifically T-bar rows.  Because the floor-mounted apparatus was in more or less constant use I decided to go for the chest-supported one: 8 x 90, 8 x 100, 8 x 115, 8 x 120, 8 x 125, 8 x 100.  Next, I did some Hammer Strength MTS High Rows, 3 x 8 x 90/90.  As it was still fairly early I had planned to do more work, but all of a sudden my energy level started plummeting.  Weird.

It was on Wednesday that the reason for the prior evening’s sudden energy loss became clear.  Almost from the start I had the sort of run-down, achy feeling that means the flu or something of that sort.  I was able to make it through the workday okay at my regular job, even though it was a busier site than the day before, though I was a bit slow and clumsy at times.  It was at the subsequent 8 to midnight shift at the MHIR when things got really bad.  My aches and pains were constant and quite severe, the aspirin I had taken having been about as effective as a handful of M&M’s (but less tasty).

I struggled through everything I did, yet still made several mistakes.  Had I been a newer employee I probably would have gotten fired, no joke.  It took an eternity and a half for midnight to roll around.  I had to text the district manager at my regular job, to inform her that I wouldn’t be able to make it in on Thursday.  This was something I absolutely did NOT want to do, as it won’t help my application for promotion and in any event will mean the loss of a day’s pay.  But I knew that getting up in a little over five hours and working a full day just wasn’t going to happen.

Published in: on August 2, 2014 at 12:37 am  Leave a Comment  

Thursday, July 24 – Sunday, July 27

Idle hands

Overwork was definitely not among my concerns on Thursday.  I went to the worksite where I had been scheduled to go on Wednesday, before I got re-routed.  Because this worksite is normally scheduled for two days, I was somewhat concerned that by not being there on Wednesday I’d have a double workload on Thursday.  Didn’t turn out that way at all.  I ended up having a fairly leisurely day, finishing up well over an hour prior to normal quitting time (which does not reduce my pay, fortunately).  Had I been there on Wednesday as well I would have had to scramble to find things to do.  While I can leave when my work for the day is done, there are some limits.

Thursday evening I went to the gym, and had a decent session.  I did bench presses: 6 x 135, 6 x 165, 6 x 185, 6 x 205, 2 x 4 x 225, 8 x 185.  Next came some Hammer Strength MTS shoulder presses: 3 x 8 x 90/90.

No work on Friday, at either job, though I did go into the Major Home Improvement Retailer for a short while to deal with a concern about my upcoming schedule.  Having taken care of the issue, I went back to the Setauket-Port Jefferson hiking trail.  I parked at a lot off Gnarled Hill Road right at the 0.75-mile mark, and hiked to the Port Jefferson end and back. That was a round trip of about five miles, and I kept up a 3-mph pace.

Saturday was pretty much a do-nothing day.  I had planned to go to the gym in the afternoon, but naturally enough other things came up and I didn’t go. This actually repeated itself on Sunday, when my plans to do in the early afternoon yet again fell through due to other things.  Not good.  On Sunday evening I worked from 6:30 to midnight at the MHIR, and what with the upcoming inventory it was a busy shift.  When I first started it didn’t look like there was too much to do, but as time went on more and more inventory-related tasks cropped up.

Published in: on July 28, 2014 at 10:22 pm  Leave a Comment  

Monday, July 21 – Wednesday, July 23

My dislike of Verizon Wireless just keeps on growing

How hard is it to build some cell phone towers?  Don’t bother responding, because the answer is “not particularly.” Cell carriers have no trouble providing adequate coverage in most areas. Or so the theory goes.  All three days I was at worksites (the same one Tuesday and Wednesday) that have such poor coverage that my phone went from 100% charge to almost dead over the course of a workday.  That’s completely unacceptable in this day and age, especially as both worksites were in densely populated suburban areas.  I really, really wish my contract with Verizon didn’t have well over a year to go, as I’m sure that other carriers provide better service.  They could scarcely provide worse.

As for work itself, it went reasonably well all three days.  I am now in the second week of the two-week workcycle, and though it’s a very tough cycle I’m now better able to handle it without having to stay late.  Monday I stayed maybe 15 minutes late, while on the other days I left at the usual time.  Wednesday was a bit unusual because I didn’t go to my regularly scheduled site (which, by the way, has excellent cell service), but at the last minute got re-directed to the same site where I’d been the day before.

Monday was my only evening at the Major Home Improvement Retailer, a 6:30 to midnight shift. It was busy, partly because there had been a big freight delivery earlier in the day, and partly because there’s an upcoming inventory.  It takes quite a bit of work to prepare for inventory, as all the materials stored in the overheads require special tagging.  I even spent some time doing freight pack-out in the plumbing department.  Thankfully the store was closed by that time, as I would not have wanted to deal with customer questions, as I wouldn’t have been able to answer any of them!

Tuesday night was another trip to LaGuardia Airport, a pickup this time.  I’d have to say that late-evening traffic was no trouble at all.  And I’ll also say that the Delta Airlines terminal is a pretty barren place. No amenities outside of security except a newsstand, and not even any seats.

Published in: on July 25, 2014 at 9:44 pm  Leave a Comment  

Saturday, July 19 – Sunday, July 20

Saturday was pretty much a low-key sort of day.  Some errands, too much time diddling around on the computer, the usual stuff.  Not a lot of motivation, that’s for sure.  Now Sunday, that was a different story, as I worked from noon to 8:30 at the Major Home Improvement Retailer.  Not too usual a shift for me.  And it was a busy shift, that’s for sure.  From when I arrived until about 5, there was a nonstop flow of customers in the garden department, all of whom seemed to have questions.  Except for a 10-minute break I ran around more or less nonstop until I finally went to lunch at 5:30.

For a while I was really into jack-of-all-trades mode, helping out in the lumber department when the worker assigned there went to lunch himself.  I was a bit concerned, as I went through only part of the initial training for that department and that was over six months ago, but I made it through my half-hour stint without doing anything wrong.  I think.


Published in: on July 24, 2014 at 1:58 am  Leave a Comment  

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  

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