Monday, February 6 – Thursday, February 9

Thanks Mom (Nature) for a short workweek!

It was not an auspicious start to the week. While I wasn’t sick, per se, I definitely wasn’t at full strength. That sort of unpleasant drag-yourself-around feeling. It didn’t help that both Monday and Wednesday were tough days at my main job. While I was at a worksite that usually isn’t too bad, there were some leftover chores that had to be done in addition to the normal assignments. They weren’t the sort of days where I had to stay late, but I had to work at a pretty fast pace and take shortened lunch breaks. Normally I wouldn’t have minded, not much, but being under 100% made it a bit of an ordeal. Fortunately Wednesday was easier, even though it was at what’s usually a more challenging worksite.

One thing about me is that I generally pay very little attention to weather forecasts. If for no other reason than that they’re often wrong. Even so, the forecasts for Thursday were rather bad: forecasts that originally called for maybe six inches of snow kept getting worse, to the point that 12 to 14 inches were looking likely. What’s more, the worst of the snow was supposed to come in mid-morning to mid-afternoon.

When my alarm went off just before 6 on Thursday morning there was only an inch or two of snow on the ground. I very easily could have made it to the workplace. Knowing the forecasts I figured discretion was the better part of valor and decided not to go in. Sure enough, by the time the snow began to taper off around 2pm there was about 14 inches on the ground, though the heavy drifting made it hard to measure. I can just imagine that getting back the 40 miles from the day’s worksite would have been, ahem, amusing. It took hours to shovel, which at least made it up for the lack of gym-going this week!

Published in: on February 13, 2017 at 1:00 am  Leave a Comment  

Friday, February 3 – Sunday, February 5

I wasn’t scheduled at all this weekend at the Major Home Improvement Retailer, which was a very fortunate thing. After doing four lot shifts in a row I was pretty much devastated. No joke – on Friday I could barely do anything at all, and Saturday and Sunday weren’t a whole lot better.  Granted, I had a lot of stuff to do on Saturday, and on Sunday I somehow mustered up enough energy for a gym trip, but all and all it was lazy weekend. But that’s fine.

Longform mystery: The European/Canadian/something woman of Chautauqua County.
On December 6, 1983, a utility worker found the body of a woman off the side of eastbound NY-17 (the Southern Tier Expressway) in Chautauqua County, in the westernmost part of New York State. Dead for less than a day, she had been shot four times, in the back, mouth, and twice in the chest. There is no information online as to the caliber of the firearm, I do not know if the police ever released that information. She may have been raped, though this is unconfirmed, and similarly unconfirmed is a sighting at a Pennsylvania truck stop the day before her death.
The woman was white, 5’4″ and 128 pounds, apparently in her 30’s, with brown hair just starting to become gray. Some moles but no tattoos or piercings. She had dental work that was both expensive and in a style usually performed in Europe. She had given birth at least once, probably 15 or more years earlier. She had an intrauterine device of European manufacture which unfortunately did not have a serial number, the brand had been available in Canada but never in the United States.
Another European connection is that the woman’s expensive trench coat was in European size 40 and the brand had not been exported to the United States or Canada. Another item of clothing, a camisole, also was a non-exported European brand. The woman had no shoes or jewelry.
What is most mysterious is the only document found on the body. It was a handwritten note, on stationery from the Blue Boy Motor Lodge in Vancouver, British Columbia. This was a rather downscale motel that has since closed. No one who worked at the motel recognized the woman. There were only three lines on the note, all in some sort of code:
Sas.k.R.h. 24233
K.R.Ba. 68301
Sarg. 74261
So far these codes have defied all attempts at deciphering them. Leaving aside the letters, the numbers may be a match for internal telephone lines at JFK Airport in New York, telephone area codes for cities in Germany, or postal codes in Austria. All of these remain speculative, however. One more thing of interest in the the number 7 on the note is written in the European style with a horizontal line, though there’s no way of knowing if the writing is the woman’s or someone else’s.
The woman does not fit the profile of any missing persons from the United States, Canada or Europe and there have been no matches on her fingerprints.

Published in: on February 13, 2017 at 12:37 am  Leave a Comment  

Monday, January 30 – Thursday, February 2

Ugh

This was most assuredly not an easy week. I was back to my “regular” work at my main job, the special project being finished, and naturally enough this new cycle is a tough one. No finishing up early, each day I had to work 7 to 2:30 with only a couple short breaks. In fact, I wan’t able to finish everything, which means that sometime in the next couple of months, when I’ll hopefully have an easier cycle, I’ll have to do this unfinished work in addition to the normally scheduled stuff.

Staying late would have obviated the need to play catch-up in the near future, but it wasn’t an option because I had to work 4:30 to 9 each day at the Major Home Improvement Retailer wrangling shopping carts in the lot. The employee who does the lot on weekdays is on vacation, so I was the substitute called into action. This was both a good thing and a bad thing. On the bad side, the work was physically tough and left me really beat. Not to mention that working four evenings in a row after full days at my main job is going to be challenging under any circumstances. On the positive side, I got 18 hours for the week, up from four hours the previous week, and I’m glad I wasn’t in garden because that would have involved all sorts of product movement in preparation for an upcoming spring reset. Still, it was hard enough, and my hopes of making one or two late gym visits got precisely nowhere.

Published in: on February 6, 2017 at 2:27 am  Leave a Comment  

Saturday, January 28 – Sunday, January 29

This was close to being a full weekend off for me. I wasn’t scheduled at the Major Home Improvement Retailer on Saturday and had only a 4-hour shift on Monday. This made a total of four hours for the week, which is the least than can be scheduled at all and is something that’s happened only once or twice to me. But that’s okay, because next week sure isn’t going to be easy. I took advantage of the lull to visit the gym both days. On Saturday, I was able to do 5 x 6 of bodyweight dips, if everything goes well I should be able to start adding weight soon. Cool. I’m also making progress with one-arm dumbbell rows, having gotten up to 5 x 8 with 85-pounders.

Published in: on February 6, 2017 at 2:18 am  Leave a Comment  

Monday, January 23 – Friday, January 27

Off to the Sunshine State

It turned out that postponing my departure to Florida hadn’t been necessary at all. There had been supposed to be near- hurricane force winds and heavy rains on Monday, but by what would have been my flight’s departure at 11am it was just slightly breezy with light rain. It was okay, there had been no charge for changing the date and I was able to get in another gym trip. Just some light machine work this time. One thing I found out that a new powder-form supplement I’m taking, Optimal Nutrition Amino Power in green apple flavor, forms one of the most delicious tastes I’ve ever had when mixed with Vitamin Water Zero lemonade flavor.  The things you learn …

Flying down on Tuesday was easy enough. I took Southwest Airlines from Long Island MacArthur, nice and convenient to me, and flew to Baltimore, then made an easy connection to West Palm Beach. Both flights were fairly full, I had a middle seat  each time, but I didn’t mind much. I read pretty much all of the in-flight magazine, and was quite amused by an “advertorial” for a baseball cap lined with laser diodes that’s a miracle cure for hair loss. All for the low low price of $799! Once I got to West Palm Beach there was a rather unpleasantly long wait at the Dollar Rent-a-Car counter thanks to a couple of rather cantankerous customers ahead of me, but given that I paid less than $80 for a 4-day rental I can’t complain too much. The car I got was a 2016 Volkswagen Jetta, which was really nice, and which had a very powerful turbo engine.

My four days in Florida were, truth to tell, a bit on the dull side. It took less time than anticipated to take care of the business matters that prompted my trip, and I don’t really know anyone down there. Not to mention that my only online access was using my phone via 4G. The highlight was on Wednesday, when I drove about 90 minutes to South Beach, an area I’ve heard a lot about but never saw. My opinion is that the Art Deco architecture is very impressive, but the traffic is miserable. Glad I went, though.

Getting back on Friday evening was a bit of a challenge. My flight from West Palm Beach to Baltimore was delayed almost an hour by mechanical issues, which meant that I’d be cutting it very, very close for my connection to Long Island. Which was of course the last connecting flight of the day. Fortunately, Southwest held connecting flights in Baltimore long enough for people to make them. I was the last person onto my flight, but made it back right on time.

Published in: on February 6, 2017 at 1:53 am  Leave a Comment  

Friday, January 20 – Sunday, January 22

 

It was a relatively quiet weekend before my upcoming trip to Florida. Friday was mainly a do-nothing day, except for a pretty decent gym trip. I’ve decided to go with dips rather than bench presses as my main upper-body exercise, somehow they just feel more effective, and managed a quite respectable 5 x 5. I’m still doing them at just bodyweight, once I get up to doing multiple sets of 8 I will consider adding weight with the dip belt. For now, though,bodyweight will suffice.

Saturday and Sunday both had 4-hour shifts at the Major Home Improvement Retailer. Although these are the winter doldrums, I was moderately busy both shifts as I was alone in the department. I suspect that during the upcoming busy season in the garden department I may not have quite as many hours as I did last year. The usual rule in the store is that each department has two full-time workers, one of whom is the department head, with the rest of the staffing being comprised of part-timers. Because garden is the largest and busiest department there are normally three full-timers. This year, however, there are four full-timers, which would mean fewer hours for part-timers like me. I actually can’t complain too much, as last spring’s 24- and 26-hour weeks were a real burden. If I drop down to an average of 16 or 20 it’ll be fine.

As I worked fairly early in the day on Sunday I made another gym trip. This time I did back work, for which one-arm dumbbell rows have become my go-to exercise. They seem to hit my muscles better than barbell or T-bar rows, and (unfortunately) I just can’t do enough reps on pull-ups to make that exercise worthwhile. Also on Sunday, I changed my Florida flight from Monday to Tuesday on account of stormy weather forecast for Monday. It really doesn’t matter, I’m going there to take care of some real estate issues and one less day won’t make a difference.

Published in: on February 6, 2017 at 1:26 am  Leave a Comment  

Monday, January 16 – Thursday, January 19

Break from the usual

I spent these days working on a special project at my main job. It was quite different from my usual activities, in fact I haven’t done work of this nature in at least two years. Adding to the difference was that on Wednesday and Thursday I worked at a site where I’ve never been before. That made things a bit more interesting than usual, even though I was at a familiar location on Monday and Tuesday. Whether I’d like to do this sort of work on a regular basis, I’m not so sure, maybe I’m just accustomed to a routine, but it made for a nice break. Especially after those two tough weeks.

Thursday was my only Major Home Improvement Retailer shift, and there wasn’t much to note about it. Monday and Wednesday evenings were gym trips, and while I’m not trying to set the world on fire or anything I was pleased with how I’m doing.

Published in: on January 30, 2017 at 3:21 am  Leave a Comment  

Friday, January 13 – Sunday, January 15

It was a lucky Friday the 13th, not in the sense that anything of note happened (nothing did), just that unlike the previous Friday it was an actual day off. Believe me, after that brutal two-week cycle at my main job, the day off was highly appreciated. Other than going to the gym, I didn’t do much.

Saturday was a 6-hour shift at the Major Home Improvement Retailer, and for the most part it was pretty quiet. Things will stay that way in Garden for a couple more months, until the spring gardening season picks up again. Hey, I’ll enjoy the leisure while it lasts. Sunday was a rare weekend day off for me, and I took advantage of the break by making a lengthy gym trip. Things are going well there, with what seems to be reasonable progress.

Published in: on January 30, 2017 at 3:01 am  Leave a Comment  

Tuesday, January 3 – Thursday, January 12

Back to work with a bang!

Well that’s an example of not easing back into things. After the 3-week break I went back to my main job on Tuesday, hoping that I’d have an easy cycle to get accustomed to the work. After all, the company wouldn’t make me (metaphorically) jump into the deep end, right?

You already know where this is going. I was absolutely bombarded with work, to the point that even with skipped breaks I had to stay at least an hour late most days. I kept asking myself why I was undergoing this trial by fire, and of course coming up with no plausible answers. It’s not that I was being singled out, other people at other work sites were going through the same thing, but that didn’t make it any easier. If there’s any consolation, it’s that I will be doing a special group project for a couple of weeks once this cycle ends, and from what I’ve heard it will be tolerable. And different.

What with the seasonal slowdown I worked only eight hours this period at the Major Home Improvement Retailer, four hours on Saturday the 7th and four hours on Sunday the 8th. Saturday was extremely busy because it was snowing at a pretty good clip. People were rushing in to buy shovels and ice melt and firewood. Best of all, people bought almost all the snowblowers in stock, and they’re big ticket items. Nothing like a good snowfall to drive business. Sunday was quieter but still moderately busy.

Several more gym trips, and I seem to be gradually getting back to where I was before I got lazy. I’m not tracking everything, but one thing I did note is that on Thursday the 12th I was able to get six reps at 225 on bench press, an accomplishment I haven’t done in a year.

Published in: on January 16, 2017 at 3:18 am  Leave a Comment  

Saturday, December 24 – Monday, January 2

As the vacation winds down …

It’s funny how things seem to slow down at the end of the year. Christmas and New Year’s came and went, and my three-week (unpaid) break from my main job neared its end. Traffic seemed to move more slowly, many online sites saw fewer updates, the whole pace of life got a bit poky. I guess that’s normal, and I’ve certainly seen it before, but it just comes off as odd.

Not too much new to report. I worked at the Major Home Improvement Retailer on Christmas Eve, selling the very last Christmas tree of the season late in the afternoon, and on both New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day. New Year’s Eve was very quiet, at least in the afternoon when I worked, but New Year’s Day was a totally different story. The store was hopping, even though there weren’t any special sales. One thing I did was help throw unsold Christmas trees down the trash compactor chute, which is a difficult job because they jam up like nobody’s business.

I’ve settled into a routine of going to the gym three times a week. Mostly upper-body stuff, I really have to add more leg work. So far it’s going well.

Published in: on January 16, 2017 at 2:51 am  Leave a Comment