Friday, July 15 – Sunday, July 17

Yes, the annual Summer Slowdown at the Major Home Improvement Retailer is definitely in full force and effect. After a nice day off on Friday, which included a trip to the lavender fields on the North Fork (a bit past peak but still nice), I trudged off to the MHIR for endless workday on Saturday and Sunday … just joking, it was only a four-hour shift each day and it felt like nothing. What an absolute blessed relief. There’s a balancing point at which the burden of working long hours outweighs the extra money earned from working such hours, and during the peak season I had gone far, far past that point. What a welcome change.

I actually made it to the gym on both Friday and Sunday. Nothing too much, I just ellipted for a while and did some light machine work. If all goes well I should be back to a better and more conscientious schedule.

Published in: on July 25, 2016 at 1:02 am  Leave a Comment  

Monday, July 11 – Thursday, July 14

Four hours is plenty

It was a relatively difficult week at my main job, though I’ve had much worse. Recently i’ve had several work cycles in which the “A” days (Mondays and Wednesdays) and the “B” days (Tuesdays and Thursdays) differed significantly in terms of workload. In other words, I might be able to get out a bit early on the A days but have to stay extra time on the B’s, or vice versa.  Not this cycle. Each type of day seems to be about of equal difficulty and every day this week I finished up  at about the same time.  Guess that’s good.

I had two shifts at the Major Home Improvement Retailer, a 4:30 to 8:30 on Monday and a 7 to 11 on Thursday. Both were four-hour shifts, which is just the way I like it. Even though I was quite busy each day, especially on Thursday with a seeming mountain of freight, four hours goes by so quickly there’s really no reason to complain.

As for other stuff, I’ve gotten more and more immersed in the Unsolved Mysteries forum on Reddit.  In fact, I’ve had to be more judicious about the threads I follow, because the forum can easily turn into a time-waster of massive proportions. In moderation, though, it’s a great deal of fun.

Published in: on July 18, 2016 at 2:11 am  Leave a Comment  

Saturday, July 9 – Sunday, July 10

Ah, what a relief! It’s like I got my life back again. Yes, that’s right, while I worked at the Major Home Improvement Retailer both days, they were nice easy 4-hour shifts. Those excruciating 8-hour ultra marathons are (hopefully) done for the season. Activity in the garden department is going through its normal seasonal slowdown, and some of the newly hired people are moving on to other departments.  Just as long as I don’t get overwhelmed with hours, I’m happy.

On Saturday evening I made my long-delayed return to the gym. I did some bench presses and shoulder work, and suffice to say that the weeks off really took a major toll. What were easy warmup weights not long ago were a big struggle. It may take a while for things to get back to normal, but I’m sure they will.

Published in: on July 17, 2016 at 3:44 am  Leave a Comment  

Tuesday, July 5 – Friday, July 8

What day is it again?

I’m so used to working a Monday-Thursday schedule at my main job that it was really weird to work Tuesday-Friday this week. Maybe it’s only  one-day difference but it was really disconcerting. Of course, working on Friday meant missing my usual day off, but it wasn’t so bad, especially now that my hours at the Major Home Improvement Retailer have dropped with the end of the season.

As far as the workweek went, it wasn’t as bad as some but was a lot worse than many. If that makes any sense. Whenever one of my two-week work cycles is interrupted by a week off, as was the case here, it can be pretty hard to adjust. The second, post-interruption week never seems to go smoothly. As was the case here. Still, I shouldn’t complain, as I was able to finish up on time each day. It was just the extra pressure, for lack of a better phrase.

I worked two shifts at the MHIR this week, a 4:30 to 10 on Tuesday and 7 to 11 on Wednesday. Tuesday’s was pretty tough, not because the shift was so hard – it definitely wasn’t – but because I didn’t have much time between jobs. Going straight, or almost straight, from one job to the next deprives me of a much-needed adjustment phase. At least the shift went by quickly, and Wednesday’s four-hour shift was so fast it barely registered at all.

On a different note, not long ago I started frequenting the “Unresolved Mysteries” forum on Reddit, and it’s become a total rabbit hole. It’s all too easy to spend way to much time on it. Between such famous cases as Maura Murray, the Springfield Three and Brandon Swanson, I could spend hours and hours going over all the wild and not-so-wild theories and speculation. Avoiding such a time-suck requires a LOT of self-discipline!

Published in: on July 14, 2016 at 1:08 am  Leave a Comment  

Saturday, July 2 – Monday, July 4

I am very thankful that the Fourth of July was a day off. Not because I’m super-patriotic, but because I really needed a day off after Saturday and Sunday. Both were full 8-hour days at the Major Home Improvement Retailer. Maybe it was because they are the last such full shifts for the foreseeable future, now that the busy season is over, but they just dragged on forever. An hour would go by but it was actually just ten minutes. Except during my breaks, of course, when 15 minutes would go by in five minutes. Working such long shifts left me too beat to do much afterwards.

Monday was a nice easy day, cooking out, I really have the feeling that I’m finally getting my life back what with the major hours reduction at the MHIR.

Published in: on July 11, 2016 at 2:50 am  Leave a Comment  

Monday, June 27 – Friday, July 1

Road trips = not fun

It was quite the busy week even though I was off from my main job and had taken personal days at the Major Home Improvement Retailer. Busy in terms of flying down to Florida, taking care of some business there, picking up a car, and driving back. Needless to say, it made for a long week.

The flying to Florida was the easy part. We flew from the conveniently nearby Islip airport, but instead of the usual nonstop flight on Southwest we took American Airlines with a connection in Philadelphia. Fares were substantially cheaper than on Southwest. It actually was fun, because the 45-minute flight to Philadelphia was on a smaller plane, a 36-seat Dash 8. It felt more basic, for lack of a better term, than being on a far larger jet. And the seats are just as good. The connection at Philadelphia was pretty easy, everything was easy to find and there was plenty of seating at the gate.

Upon arrival in West Palm Beach, we had a fabulous first of a sort, using Uber to get to our destination about ten miles away. It was a fine experience.  Summoning the ride on the app was quick and easy, the vehicle – a spotless Ford Escape – arrived within a few minutes, and the driver was very pleasant. I talked with him a bit about what it was like to drive for Uber, and for all the exploitation stories you hear he seemed very positive about it. Until moving to Florida a couple months earlier he had driven a tour bus in Colorado, but found working for Uber much better. Oh, last but not least, it cost less than one of the atrocious shuttle vans.

We left Wednesday morning on the two-day drive back to Long Island. On the first day we drove about eleven hours and stopped for the night in the northern part of South Carolina.  I’ve driven to and from Florida many times, but not in the last ten year or so, but this stretch is as dull as ever. I-95 avoids cities except for Jacksonville, and for the most part the scenery isn’t too interesting.

On Thursday morning we got an early start for what Google said would be a bit under a 12-hour drive.  Ha ha ha! It took 15 hours, thanks primarily to hideous traffic around Washington. We thought we’d hit the Beltway early enough to avoid the worst of rush hour, unfortunately rush hour start very very early (and no doubt ends very very late).  I would go absolutely insane if i had to deal with that comedy every day. We didn’t get back until quite late at night. Not to mention having to pay (obscene) tolls: $4 on the Fort McHenry Tunnel, $8 (IIRC) on I-95 in Maryland, $4 on I-95 in Delaware, $9.10 on the New Jersey Turnpike, and last but not least $15 on the Goethals Bridge. Ugh.

As for Friday, I was so beat by all the driving I did basically nothing.

 

Published in: on July 9, 2016 at 3:14 am  Leave a Comment  

Saturday, June 25 – Sunday, June 26

This was a long, long weekend at the Major Home Improvement Retailer, two 8-hour shifts that seemed to drag on forever. It most definitely didn’t help that Saturday was an (ugh!) 5am start, something not fit for human beings. I was on watering duty, and what with more plants having been shipped in anticipation of the upcoming holiday weekend I spent most of each shift hose in hand. Watering isn’t hard, but can be tedious, and trying to stretch long hose lengths without creating tripping hazards is easier said than done. On a better note, on Saturday evening we went out to dinner at a very nice Italian place, in the same plaza as the MHIR, to celebrate my birthday, which was on Sunday. Speaking of Sunday, my shift began at a more civilized though still early 8am, but with only a couple hours’ of watering duty and an understaffed department I spent most of the shift running here there and everywhere dealing with customers. Happy birthday.

Published in: on July 5, 2016 at 3:20 am  Leave a Comment  

Monday, June 20 – Friday, June 24

The break will be greatly appreciated

After this week I’ll be having a week off from my main job as the holiday approaches. That’s a good thing, as we have to fly down to Florida on Monday the 27th and then drive back a car that I’ll be picking up. I’ve driven to and from Florida a number of times, but not within the past decade. I’m not dreading the experience, but I’m not jumping for joy in anticipation. The fact that we’ll be on the road on Wednesday and Thursday, just before the start of the Fourth of July long weekend, may not be a good thing. Hopefully there won’t be too many people on the road until Friday, after we get back. Hopefully.

Another reason why it’ll be good to have a week off from my main job is that the work cycle that began on Monday is a very tough one. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve had worse, but this one is really, really hard. I had to stay two hours extra on Monday and one hour extra on Wednesday despite minimal breaks. There were some complications getting overtime authorization, so I’m hoping that the overtime will be reflected in my next paycheck, rather than being delayed another two weeks. Tuesday and Thursday weren’t as bad, while I had to minimize my breaks I was able to leave on time.

Only one Major Home Improvement Retailer shift during this period, four hours on Tuesday evening. It wasn’t bad, mostly freight packout. The store wasn’t busy, but the customers who were there all seemed to have many questions. Hopefully my answers weren’t too far off the mark. Friday was a day off, but I didn’t do much.

Published in: on July 5, 2016 at 3:14 am  Leave a Comment  

Saturday, June 18 – Sunday, June 19

Another weekend that wasn’t. As usual, I was scheduled at the Major Home Improvement Retailer both days, and had full 8-hour shifts each day. As I’ve noted before, an 8-hour shift is not twice as hard as a 4-hour; things scale up at a rapid rate, so that it’s more like three or even four times as hard. About the only good thing is that within just a couple more weeks my hours should drop and I’ll be working few if any 8’s. At least I urgently hope so. Neither of this (non) weekend’s shifts were particularly difficult, it’s just that they were, well, long.

Published in: on July 5, 2016 at 2:32 am  Leave a Comment  

Wednesday, June 15 – Friday, June 17

Easy days

Days like these three offer a welcome break from my usual schedule. My main job was nice and easy on Wednesday and Thursday, being at the end of a work cycle, and I wasn’t scheduled at the Major Home Improvement Retailer. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t mind being busy, but there’s a difference between “busy” and “hectic.”

Speaking of the MHIR, it seems like the turnover rate in the last six months or so has reached epic proportions. It’s always been higher than in many other businesses, that’s the nature of retail, but nothing like what it’s been. Every time I go in for a shift I see workers I’ve never seen before, and many people who’ve been there for months or even years are leaving. I really don’t know why this is so. Working conditions haven’t deteriorated or anything. Very strange …

Friday was, of course, a day off from work. We drove into Queens and then took the subway into Manhattan for a brief visit, and while that part of the day went fine the return drive was most definitely not. Traffic everywhere, moving at a crawl if at all.

Published in: on June 22, 2016 at 3:35 am  Leave a Comment  
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