Monday, January 27 – Tuesday, January 28

It makes for a long day

Both days were easy enough at my regular job.  Nothing at all like the brutally tough day I’d gone through on Thursday.  Don’t get me wrong, I do not mind working hard, it’s just that Thursday’s work had been unnecessarily difficult.  It wouldn’t have been nearly as bad if there just happened to be a huge amount of work to be done.

Anyway, these two reasonably easy days were a decent break.  On Tuesday, I worked the regular job during the day and then a 5-hour evening shift at the Major Home Improvement Retailer.  I was completely on my own, but I got through everything just fine.  It was pretty busy, so I had no opportunity to do any of the remaining online training.  One interesting thing about this job is that in a month and a half of work I’ve only seen my supervisor twice, and only for a few minutes each time.  She works weekday starting at something like 5 am and is gone by the time I arrive.  Which isn’t to say that my work is not being monitored, of course, so I have to stay on my (metaphorical) toes.

Published in: on January 30, 2014 at 2:57 am  Leave a Comment  

Saturday, January 25 – Sunday, January 26

Saturday was a nine-hour day at the Major Home Improvement Retailer.  It was also my last day working under supervision, the person training me let me take the lead on everything and just checked with me every so often to see how I was doing.  As he was doing other things as well, most of the time I was on my own.  It all worked out fine and I’m now fully qualified to go solo.  Although I was quite busy for most of the shift I was able to get some online training done.  This is an ongoing process for all employees.  I have about three hours of online work to complete by the middle of February, though then of course there’ll be more things added.

Sunday marked my triumphant (so to speak) return to the gym in way too long.  As my injured left elbow is mostly but not completely pain-free, I decided to concentrate on leg work for this session.  Yes, I did all machine stuff.  I started out with the moveable-seat leg press that I’ve been using: 8 x 410, 8 x 430, 8 x 450, 8 x 470, 8 x 490.  The last set at 490 is especially significant as it’s the machine’s maximum weight.  Yay.  Next came seated leg curls on a Life Fitness machine, 4 x 8 x 160.  To end the session, I did standing calf raises, 5 x 8 x 270.

Later in the evening I went to the Buddhist meditation session.  It’s very hard, maybe impossible, to put into words, but my state of consciousness changes, somehow, during meditation.  For this to happen to a skeptical sort like me is pretty amazing.

Published in: on January 30, 2014 at 2:44 am  Leave a Comment  

Thursday, January 23 – Friday, January 24

So much for that plan

Thursday night was going to mark my triumphant return to the gym.  The flu that had been plaguing me for over a week had finally passed, for the most part.  And Thursday was my only real option for going. I had other things scheduled for Friday, so that was out, and I would be working all day Saturday at the Major Home Improvement Retailer.

You all know what happens to careful plans.  Thursday was quite possibly the toughest day I’ve ever had at my regular job since I started there in the spring of 2012.  It was at the most distant worksite, several miles north of Exit 57, and the heavy traffic I encountered getting there was an omen of things to come.   While the workday was only about 90 minutes longer than usual, it was so hectic and exhausting that by the time I finally made it home – fighting more traffic along the way, of course – I was too beaten down to do much of anything.  Combined with all the other things I had to do on Friday, it looks like the gym won’t be an option until Sunday. I sure hope I remember how to get there.

Published in: on January 26, 2014 at 11:24 pm  Leave a Comment  

Tuesday, January 21 – Wednesday, January 22

Semi-snow day

Tuesday’s worksite was about ten miles to the west of me, right off the Sunrise Highway.  As I was driving into work, dealing with some moderately troublesome traffic, the weather forecasts were predicting a storm with about 8 to 10 inches of snow, starting in the middle of the day and possibly affecting evening rush hour.  That didn’t matter much to me, as I’m usually finished with the workday by 3:30 at the latest.  To pretty much everyone’s surprise, the snow started earlier than predicted.  It was snowing by 8 and coming down heavily within an hour or so.

Not long afterwards I got the word that the company for whom I was performing my services (not my actual employer) wanted everything finished up by noon.  I was happy, for while I don’t really mind driving in snow I figured that the later I waited the more and more crowded the roads would be.  While I wasn’t quite able to make the noon deadline, I was done not too long afterwards.  It still took me over an hour to get back, because traffic was extremely heavy almost everywhere.  Rush hour was in full swing at 1:30 what with so many people getting out early.

I wasn’t sure if Wednesday’s work would be on, but early in the morning I found out that it would be held as usual, with a start time one hour later than normal.  It was at the worksite 15 miles to the east, near the very end of the Expressway, which is always a pretty easy drive.  Despite some snowy patches, which limited my speed to about 40, it was still no real trouble.  Traffic was much lighter than usual.  My workday went fine, though my plans to go to the gym didn’t come to pass as I was still not quite physically ready.  This flu is really lingering.

Published in: on January 25, 2014 at 3:18 am  Leave a Comment  

Monday, January 20

Having to choose

Today was supposed to be a very long day for me.  From 8 until 3:30 at my regular job, then from 4 to 9 at the Major Home Improvement Retailer.  It would be hectic, especially since the location of the first worksite, near Exit 57, would require a bit of hurrying to make it to the second job in time.

Except it wasn’t a long day at all.  I knew that there was no way I could have made it through both jobs with the still-lingering effects of the flu.  It would be necessary to choose one or the other.  I decided to call in for the regular job, and go to the second job at the Major Home Improvement Retailer.  It wasn’t a hard choice, as I’ve been at the first job much longer.

As things turned out, it was a very very good thing that I was not completely worn down at the evening job, as I had to complete a complicated assignment while being timed, sort of a “final exam” at the end of my regular training.  I did well, which might not have been the case had I gotten to that job after working eight hours at the first job.  So, it all worked out.

Published in: on January 23, 2014 at 1:15 am  Leave a Comment  

Saturday, January 18 – Sunday, January 19

Saturday was a nine-hour workday at the Major Home Improvement Retailer.  My flu was still bothering me, but as I headed into work I was hoping that the day would be easy enough that I’d get through the shift reasonably intact.  For the most part, this is what actually happened.  My regular workload wasn’t too heavy, and I spent some time doing regular customer-service sort of stuff around the business.  I’ve been there long enough that I can help customers find things, most of the time at least.
The last couple of hours, however, were completely different. I had to deal with a couple of difficult and time-consuming tasks that left me pretty much drained.  Not to mention having more coughing fits.  Somehow I made it through the shift, and it was very fortunate that I had nothing much to do on Sunday.

Published in: on January 23, 2014 at 12:12 am  Leave a Comment  

Wednesday, January 15 – Friday, January 17

Two-for-one in two ways

Work was pretty easy on both Wednesday and Thursday.  As is the case every other week I spent two days at the same worksite. Because the amount of work isn’t much more than at a single-day worksite it made for a decent break from the usual pace.  Even nicer, this site is only about ten minutes away, and getting there doesn’t usually involve dealing with significant traffic.

After I finished up on Wednesday, I decided to be a bit daring and went to hot yoga even though I’d already been there on Monday.  Never before in my 6+ months of hot yoga have I gone twice in one week. I suppose what inspired me is that I’m still unwilling to do upper-body work at the gym given my recent elbow injury.  Whatever the case, the yoga session went well.  My balance was better than it had been on Monday, though my flexibility seemed about the same, however best of all I didn’t have to take any breaks during the session.  I’m not saying that going twice a week would be a regular thing, but it was good to know that I can do it.

Thursday was another two-in-one day, though in a different context: after I finished my regular work in the mid-afternoon, I went to the Major Home Improvement Retailer for a five-hour shift.  Earlier in the day I had started coughing and experiencing some aches and pains.  Could it be the onset of the flu? I was certainly hoping that it wasn’t, and also hoping that my shift wouldn’t be too physically demanding.  Fortunately it was busy but not too hard, though less fortunately my cough kept getting worse and worse.

By Friday there was no doubt whatsoever. I definitely had the flu, with near-constant coughing and all sorts of body aches.  Oh, just wonderful. I did next to nothing during the day, though in the evening I went to the meditation center in Huntington for a regular Friday evening meditation and reception.  By then my coughing had subsided, so it wouldn’t be disruptive to the session.  I’m glad I went, as the meditation was very helpful and afterwards there was some interesting conversation.

Published in: on January 19, 2014 at 10:53 pm  Leave a Comment  

Monday, January 13 – Tuesday, January 14

Getting into the swing of things

Work went pretty easy on both of these days.  I was doing the same tasks as I had done last week, but was able to complete them in substantially shorter time.  It’s a matter of practice makes perfect.  Having done these tasks four times last week, I’m now into the swing of them, so to speak, and am able to work more quickly and efficiently.  I’d say it’s the learning curve, but I hate buzzwords (or buzz expressions) like that.  Now next week I’ll start a new two-week cycle of doing a new set of tasks, and I would imagine there’ll be a similar speed increase as the cycle goes on.

My elbow was much improved on Monday, enough so that I decided to go to yoga.  While there were still a few motions that hurt, such as rotating my hand like with turning a doorknob, yoga doesn’t really involve motions of that type.  I’m glad I went, as it was a very good session.  Like last week, the room was packed to the gills and very hot.  I made it through the entire session without having to rest, and my balance and flexibility definitely were better than last week.  Balance especially.  The center’s owner usually teaches this session but was unavailable, however her substitute was really good.

On Tuesday evening I went to the gym, but although my elbow was almost pain-free I decided to play it safe and stick with lower-body work.  I was so cautious, in fact, that I decided against doing squats because they do involve the arms. Instead I did a machine-based session, not ideal but better than not going at all.  I started with leg presses on my usual moveable-seat machine: 8 x 370, 8 x 390, 8 x 410, 8 x 430, 8 x 450, 8 x 470.  I’m just 20 pounds away from the machine’s maximum weight.  Next I used a machine for the first time, another Hoist brand moveable-seat machine, this time for seated leg curls. I did 5 x 8  at resistance level 10 of 18.  Yeah, I know, that’s not much weight, but I had to get used to it.  To finish the session I did standing calf raises, 4 x 10 x 250.

Published in: on January 15, 2014 at 3:57 am  Leave a Comment  

Saturday, January 11 – Sunday, January 12

When I got that weird sensation in my left elbow on Friday I knew that it would really hurt within 24 hours.  That actually proved to be off by a factor of two, as within 12 hours, in other words early on Saturday morning, it had a stabbing-with-sharp-knives sensation that was impossible to ignore.  And, naturally enough, I had to go into work at the Major Home Improvement Retailer.  As I drove there – even driving was almost unbearably painful – I was hoping against hope that I wouldn’t have to do all sorts of heavy lifting like I’d done on Thursday. One disadvantage of being new on the job is that I don’t have the option of saying that I physically can’t do something. I’d just have to bear the pain somehow.

My lucky stars must’ve been aligned just so, because I didn’t have to do much heavy lifting at all.  At one point I had to move a storm door that weighed maybe 100 pounds onto a cart, but with a little ingenuity I figured out a way of doing so while using just my right arm.  For the rest of my shift I did much lighter work, including some computer training and data entry.  Though I have to say that even typing with my left hand caused a fair degree of elbow pain.

Sunday was a very inactive day except for a trip to the supermarket.  My elbow didn’t hurt nearly as much as the day before, but I had no desire to go to the gym.  Normally I go to the Buddhist meditation on Sunday evenings, but it wasn’t being held tonight.

Published in: on January 15, 2014 at 3:38 am  Leave a Comment  

Wednesday, January 8 – Friday, January 10

Good pain/bad pain

Wednesday was definitely the best day out of these three.  Which definitely isn’t saying much.  I was at a worksite about 15 minutes to the east, and like always it was no trouble getting there.  On my way in I was figuring that it would be an easier workday than Monday or Tuesday had been, based on the nature of the worksite, but to my surprise it actually proved to be slightly more difficult.  Nothing too bad, not enough to keep me there after my normal quitting time, but surprising nonetheless.

Thursday was a very tough day.  I was scheduled to work at my regular job until 3:30, and then at the Major Home Improvement Retailer from 4 to 9.  Naturally enough, the regular job’s worksite was the busiest of the seven on my regular rotation, and despite taking only a couple very short breaks I was very worried that I wouldn’t be able to finish by 3:30.  I did, but then I had a drive of about ten miles along a very busy road to get to the second job.  Of course it seemed like all the traffic lights were red.  The drive took just under 30 minutes, which would work out to a blazing average speed of 20 mph.

I made it to the second job just in the nick of time.  Unlike the first one, there’s a time clock.  After having worked like crazy at the first job, I figured that my five hours at the Major Home Improvement Retailer would be easy.  They weren’t.  Along with a few other people I had to help move some very heavy items in the outside storage area, including cement blocks, 94-pound bags of concrete mix, 60-pound bags of fertilizer, you name it.  By the time 9 rolled around I was barely able to stand upright.

At least Friday was a day off.  It would have been really tough to handle another long workday.  After doing not much of anything during the day, I went to the gym in the early evening.  My main goal was to do as many pull-ups as possible, and I decided to try ten sets of four each.  The first set was fine, the first three reps of the second set too, and then on the final rep something very strange happened in my left elbow, yes the elbow that’s been bothering me for a while.  It sounded like a muscle tearing, but there wasn’t enough pain for that to have happened.  More likely it was a bad muscle strain.  Of course I immediately stopped the pull-ups, and I’m not going to do any upper-body work for quite some time just to be safe.  I still was able to salvage something out of the session, doing leg presses on the moveable-seat machine I’ve been using occasionally: 8 x 350, 8 x 370, 8 x 390, 8 x 410, 8 x 430, 8 x 450.

Published in: on January 13, 2014 at 2:30 am  Comments (1)