Saturday, October 6 – Sunday, October 7

Well I had big hopes of going to the gym both days and getting in decent sessions.  What I did not expect was that a dead battery put the kibosh on my Saturday trip.  The fact that the battery gave up the ghost is not surprising, as it’s the original one, six years old and with 120K miles on it.  Okay, miles driven probably doesn’t have much relevance to battery life, but my point is that I got years of good service out of it.

New battery in hand (so to speak), I went to the gym early Sunday afternoon and had a pretty good bench press session: 6 x 135, 6 x 185, 6 x 225, 2 x 4 x 225, 8 x 185, 10 x 135.

Published in: on October 10, 2012 at 11:14 pm  Comments (1)  

Thursday, October 4 – Friday, October 5

I can’t believe I ever stooped that low 😦

Thursday represented yet another installment of the Panera Bread Strategy.  The day got off to a not-good start, as some uncharacteristically heavy traffic on I-95 through Stamford and Darien stretched the morning trip a good 15 minutes over its usual 2-hour duration.  Fortunately my work assignment is not the sort of thing where an occasional late arrival is any big issue.

It was just about three when I left work, and fairly light traffic on I-95 and over the Throgs Neck got me thinking that maybe I’d be able to make it home quickly enough without having to resort to the Panera Bread Strategy.  Alas, these hopes were dashed as soon as I got on the Long Island Expressway from the Cross Island and saw that the electronic sign was reporting a 41-minute travel time to Route 110.  This route is just across the Nassau-Suffolk line, maybe 12 to 15 miles from where I saw the sign.  As it was about 4:40, I wouldn’t make it to 110 until about 5:20, and at that hour traffic in Suffolk would be a horror show.  Discretion being the better part of valor, I got off at Exit 32, just about a half-mile beyond the sign, and stopped in at Panera.  It’s the same one that I went to last week, where I saw all the, ahem, ethnic stereotypes.  There were no stereotypes this time, however.  I stayed about an hour and then had a stress-free 45-minute drive home.  I probably ended up getting home about the same time I would have arrived had I driven straight through, but I’d much rather spend an hour at Panera than stuck in bumper-to-bumper traffic.

I had some worries about what Friday’s traffic would be like.  Monday is a semi-holiday, with schools and government offices closed, and my concern was that Friday afternoon traffic would be especially heavy with people taking a long weekend.  The morning was fine, with no repeat of Thursday’s heavy traffic, and whatever fears I might have had about the afternoon were for naught because I was able to finish up work and leave at 1:30.  Even with this early departure I still had an almost-three-hour trip home, with the worst of the traffic having been on the bridge and then on the Cross Island, but had I stayed until three as usual, it would have been horrible beyond words.  I was so lucky.

As it was fairly early when I got home I spent some time sorting through some old accumulated papers to see what could be thrown out.  Among much else I came across my training manual from ABC Insurance, which I used during my training in Albany in the summer of 2010.  I looked inside, and the first section I saw consisted of techniques for overcoming resistance while “business canvassing” (better known as cold-call soliciting).  While ostensibly there was a separate technique for each type of resistance – too busy, no extra money, we already have insurance, etc. – they all involved basically the same thing, namely giving a meaningless non-response to the prospective customer’s resistance and returning to your sales pitch.

I was most dismayed, to say the least, that I ever got myself involved with a business (I use that term lightly) that would use these ridiculous sales tactics.  It’s not like they even work, as most businesspeople have heard enough sales pitches to know what to say to get rid of the salesman once and for all … “I’m not interested, this is private property, please leave at once” is a very effective response.  Those who are more polite will tell the salesman that only the company owner (or whomever) is authorized to handle insurance matters, and of course he or she is not in.  Funny, the training manual didn’t offer any tips for dealing with that type of resistance.  Anyway, seeing this garbage made it abundantly clear that getting out of the life insurance scam business was a very smart decision.

Published in: on October 7, 2012 at 8:41 pm  Leave a Comment  

Tuesday, October 2 – Wednesday, October 3

Someone please explain it to me.

Perhaps it was the rain.  Drivers do tend to reduce their speed in wet weather, and in heavy traffic slight individual speed reductions compound into much slower speed for the general flow of traffic.  But wait!  It wasn’t raining much at all, for the most part it was just a minor drizzle with long stretches of no precipitation at all.  Whatever the case, something turned Tuesday’s drive home from North Haven into a gut-wrenching ordeal lasting FOUR HOURS!  To put things in perspective, that is twice as long as it took me in the morning.  I left the work site at 3pm as usual, and despite the occasional drizzle I was at the (obscene) toll booths at the Throgs Neck Bridge by 4:15.  I knew that traffic on the Cross Island Parkway and the Long Island Expressway would be heavy, but never in my wildest dreams did I imagine what was about to happen.  The Cross Island was stop-and-go for the entire way, and the Expressway was more like stop-and-stop.  At 5:15, one hour after crossing the bridge, I was just barely into Nassau County, if I remember correctly near the New Hyde Park Road exit.  We’re talking about one hour to cover a distance of no more than ten miles.

One hour later, at 6:15, I was at Exit 53, having finally driven at a semi-decent clip for an exit or two, only to run into another horrendous delay.  After a half hour of stop-and-go driving, I made it to Exit 61, which as is often the case is the end of the worst of the rush hour traffic.  Another 15 minutes, and I finally got home.  Now, there were no crashes anywhere along the way, so that didn’t explain the horrible traffic.  It also crossed my mind – as you might imagine I had plenty of time to think – that by 6:15 and especially 6:30 most people have been out of work for over an hour, so logically traffic should be much thinner than at the height (depth?) of rush hour.  I just cannot explain the traffic.  One thing that is certain without a doubt, however, is that I was completely exhausted when I finally staggered home, and the rest of the evening was basically a blur.

Wednesday was another easy trip in the morning, but after work I wasn’t about to take any chances and decided to take the ferry.  Momentarily distracted by a horn-blowing car I missed the correct exit in Bridgeport, and after taking the next exit I soon found that finding the ferry entrance from other roads is not an easy task.  Nonetheless I made the 4:30 sailing, and had a stress-free (if pricey) trip home.


Published in: on October 6, 2012 at 1:12 am  Leave a Comment  

Saturday, September 29 – Monday, October 1

Why the three-day span?

Monday was one of my very rare days off of work, in fact the first day off since late May.  What with no traffic follies to report I decided to include it within the weekend’s report.  I was able to get up after dawn for a change and didn’t have to drive 100+ miles or pay (obscene) tolls.  Plus, I was able to get some non-work business taken care of, something that’s hard impossible to do on a “normal” weekday.

I went to the gym on Saturday and had a rude awakening as to just how far I’ve slipped, now that my exhausting schedule makes regular gym-going so difficult.  Overhead presses: 4 x 8 x 100.  So far so good.  But then I did some bench pressing, and it did not go well, or anything remotely approaching well: 6 x 135, 6 x 185, 4 x 225, 8 x 185, 10 x 135.  Yep, that’s not a typo.  I managed a mere four reps at 225 and completely lost the urge to try any more sets at that weight.  This is not good.  I had a very slight measure of redemption on Monday, with some fairly good T-bar rows: 4 x 8 x 145, 2 x 8 x 135.  Even so, I really eager for this exhausting assignment in North Haven to end, at least in part because I should be able to resume more regular gym trips.

Published in: on October 4, 2012 at 1:05 am  Leave a Comment  

Friday, September 28

Is there a stronger word than “disaster?”

If there is a day I could somehow erase from my memory, today is it.  Everything began smoothly enough, with a trouble-free drive to North Haven.  It took me just a shade over two hours.  In a stunning display of complete naivety, I actually thought this would be a good omen for the afternoon’s trip home.  Har-dee-har-har.

I finished up work around 2:30, figuring that would be early enough for me to beat the worst of the traffic.  Was I ever wrong!    Traffic was miserably heavy at the I-91/I-95 merge in downtown New Haven, for no discernible reason.  The rest of 95 through Connecticut was sluggish in spots but basically okay, certainly nothing like the 30-mile parking lot in the opposite direction.  Trouble began at the Throgs Neck Bridge, with a nearly quarter-mile backup at the (obscene) tolls.  I had a brief glimmer of hope when the electronic sign just after the (obscene) tolls said that “JFK via CIP” was only 17 minutes.  That’s just about the minimum time it ever says, and I actually thought that things would be wide open on the Cross Island Parkway.

Of course I thought wrong, thanks to the wildly misleading sign.  I had gotten through the (obscene) tolls just about 4, but it was almost 4:30 before I got off the Cross Island onto the Long Island Expressway.  That’s a half-hour to cover a distance of maybe four or five miles.  Once I got on the Expressway the comedy continued.  Traffic was stop and go, more stop than go, all the way to Exit 38 and the Meadowbrook, and after a brief respite locked down again between exits 46 and 50.  The same story repeated itself, as after some semi-decent speeds between exits 50 and 53 I ran into yet another stretch of stop-and-go that did not clear until almost Exit 61.  Keep in mind there were no crashes that I saw, just extremely heavy volume.  It was just before 6 when I finally got home, three and a half hours after starting out.  Thankfully my employer reimburses for travel based on time rather than mileage!

Published in: on October 2, 2012 at 1:35 am  Leave a Comment