Monday, March 24 – Wednesday, March 26

A one-day calm before the storm

Mondays are few peoples’ idea of a favorite day, but of these three days it was by far the best for me. No, this is not a sign that I’ve flipped out or anything, it’s merely because it was the only day in which I actually worked just one job.  Monday marked the beginning of the second week of the two-week cycle at my regular job.  It was slightly different from usual in that it wasn’t at my usual worksite, but rather the one where I’d been last Monday.  Due to operational concerns the schedule for the two sites had to be reversed.  This doesn’t mean much, in fact it means nothing at all, just that it was a decent way of breaking up the monotony. Or something like that.  Anyway, Monday was a decent day at work, and in the evening we tried out the recently opened P.F. Chang’s at the local mall (very good). This didn’t give me an opportunity to go to the gym, which unfortunately was not so good for reasons soon to become apparent.

Tuesday and Wednesday were both two-job days.  I worked at my regular job from 8 to about 3, and after a break of several hours headed off to the Major Home Improvement Retailer for the 8 to midnight shift.  Logically this shouldn’t be too bad.  I’ve worked at both jobs in the same day many times over the past few months, and as the MHIR shifts usually were from 5 to 9 I had only a short break between jobs.  That wasn’t bad, but somehow the longer break followed by the 8 to midnight shift is much harder on me.  I don’t believe it’s because of the later quitting time.  A more likely explanation involves the length of the break between jobs.  Being off for several hours gets me out of work mode, so to speak, making it all that much harder when I have to trudge back into work. It’s mental rather than physical, in other words.

Now, the between-jobs breaks on Tuesday and Wednesday left me with enough time to go to the gym.  Which unfortunately doesn’t mean that I actually went.  Once again, it’s more mental than physical.  In all my many years of gym going it’s always been something I do after work or on days off.  True, many people are in the habit of exercising before work, that’s why the gym opens at the ghastly hour of 4 am, but I’m not “many people.”  Going before work seems way too odd even when the work is at a nonstandard hour.  Whatever the case may be, missing a few days isn’t going to be an end-of-the-world situation.  Next week I’m working only ten hours at the MHIR and will have ample opportunity to hit the gym.


Published in: on March 27, 2014 at 10:15 pm  Leave a Comment  

Friday, March 21 – Sunday, March 23

I’d like to say that I made productive use of my day off on Friday, but alas that would be stretching the truth a little bit.  A large bit.  While I did a variety of errands, for the most part “aimless web surfing” was the accurate description.  Not that I’m contrite or anything.  What with my busy work schedule I deserve some time to do nothing. In any event, I made it to the gym on Friday and like the day before did a fast-paced 30 minutes on the stationary cycle.  This time, instead of using a manual setting, I tried the “rolling hills” programmed course.

Saturday and Sunday were weird sort of days, not quite workdays yet not quite days off.  The reason is that I worked both days, doing the 8pm – midnight shift at the Major Home Improvement Retailer. Which means that each day I worked only four hours, at the end of each day, which doesn’t really lead to a true workday feel. I did another stationary cycle session on Saturday, though not on Sunday.  Work itself wasn’t bad, especially on Saturday when the usually warm weather made it pretty nice to work in the outdoor garden center.  Suffice to say that Sunday was much colder.

Published in: on March 25, 2014 at 10:21 pm  Leave a Comment  

Wednesday, March 19 – Thursday, March 20

Grinding me down

Ugh.  Both of these days were really hard ones at my main job.  Wednesday in particular was surprising, as I was at a worksite in eastern Suffolk that’s usually one of the better ones.  It turned out instead to be an illustration of Murphy’s Law, with everything that could go wrong, going wrong.  I ended up staying quite a bit longer than usual. Normally, that would have cut things fairly close in terms of making it to yoga on time, but with my injured finger still rather painful I decided to skip yoga.  It’s not that you use your fingers so much during yoga, but my concern was that the soreness would be distracting and my session would suffer.

Thursday was just as tough as Wednesday, but because the worksite near Exit 57 is always one of the more complicated ones on my rotation, I wasn’t particularly surprised.  In any event, I didn’t mind as much because it was the last day of the week for the regular job, and over the next few days I had just a couple of 4-hour shifts at the Major Home Improvement Retailer.

As I was heading to the gym on Thursday evening I was facing a bit of a quandary.  My finger was just painful enough that I didn’t really care to handle any weights.  Should I limit myself to leg work?  What I finally decided, literally as I drove into the parking lot, was that for the next couple of weeks or so I’d take a break from weights.  That’s a good thing to do every so often, and it’s been a while.  Instead, I hit the stationary cycle and did a reasonably fast-paced 30 minutes.  I’m going to concentrate on this, also possibly the elliptical, during my time off from weights and see how that goes.



Published in: on March 22, 2014 at 7:48 pm  Comments (2)  

Monday, March 17 – Tuesday, March 18


Monday was not one of my better days.  Did I insult St. Patrick or something? It was the first day of a tw0-week cycle at my regular job, and as such took longer than usual.  That’s to be expected, but because I was going into the Major Home Improvement Retailer for an 8pm to midnight shift, and wanted some time in between jobs to rest and do other things, every minute of delay seemed  to drag.  One fortunate thing is that there had been a change in worksite to one that’s closer to me than the originally scheduled site.

At 8pm I dutifully trooped off to the MHIR to start my new duties.  It was a bit confusing at first because there was no one to tell me exactly what I was expected to do, but after about 45 minutes I got the necessary instruction.  The work was hard, more physically demanding than what I’d been doing, but really not bad.  For the second two hours of the shift the store was closed to customers, which actually made it easier to get things done.  It looked like it would be a decent shift … until around 11:15, when things got markedly worse.  While moving a heavy shelving unit I managed to squash the tip of my right index finger.  It hurt more than I ever would have expected and began bleeding quite a bit around the nail.

I went to the first aid box and bandaged my finger the best I could.  Somehow I was able to complete my shift, and when I got home the bandage had completely soaked through with blood.

When I got up on Tuesday, the second bandage I had applied the night before was once again soaked through, and the pain had gotten worse.  It’s funny how knocking one finger out of action greatly reduces the usefulness of the entire hand 🙂  Working at my regular job wasn’t easy, but I was able to manage.  It helped that it was a much easier workday than Monday had been.

While by the afternoon I figured that my finger would heal without any medical intervention being necessary, to be on the safe side I went to the MHIR and filled out an accident report.  That would enable me to get workers’ compensation if it turned out that I needed medical care after all.  In addition, there was no way I’d be able to work the 8-midnight shift, and I wanted to make that clear to management.

Published in: on March 20, 2014 at 2:58 am  Leave a Comment  

Saturday, March 15 – Sunday, March 16

Saturday I made a trip into Manhattan for a get-together with a a few other fans of the Uncouth Reflections blog and Facebook site.  It was scheduled for 6:30 at the Blue Smoke barbecue restaurant on East 27th Street. As I haven’t spent much time in Manhattan in the past few years, especially if you don’t count those 5am work assignments several months ago, and the weather wasn’t bad, I decided to arrive early and walk around for a few hours.

Normally I would have taken the train from Ronkonkoma, but due to weekend track work that would have required a lengthy bus ride, so instead I got a ride to Patchogue and took the 12:35 to Babylon, where I changed for a Penn Station train (the person driving me did some work on my car when I was in the city).  There was a pretty good crowd on the train, though that was likely due to part to the situation on the Ronkonkoma line.  Some of the passengers were dressed in green, obviously on their way to some pre-St. Patrick’s Day bar-hopping.  It was an easy enough ride, and the change at Babylon was quick.  One nice thing about the Babylon line is how the elevated tracks allow for some nice views along the way.  The train was what I suppose one would call a semi-express, making about half of the stops along the way.

After arriving in Penn right on time a bit after two, I spent the next four hours walking around Midtown, a sort of aimless wandering with no particular destinations in mind.  A good way to explore, I’d say.  Later on I hung out in Madison Square Park for a while, bemused at the massive line for the Shake Shack hamburger stand.  Are its burgers really that good?

As for the gathering itself, it featured fine conversation, strong drinks, and okay if not outstanding food.  We left Blue Smoke around 9:30, and although some of the others planned to go for drinks elsewhere, I made my farewells and headed back to Penn Station.  I wanted to get the 10:15 to Babylon, which with the connection would get me back to Patchogue just before midnight.  Staying out longer wasn’t really an option as I had a nine-hour day on Sunday at the Major Home Improvement Retailer.  Besides, as the trains got later they’d be less pleasant with all the revelers returning home.

Speaking of Sunday, it indeed was a very long day what with my nine-hour shift.  It’s the last time I’ll be doing my current duties, before switching to something else on Monday.  It wasn’t really a bad shift, just long.  I’m looking forward to the shift.

Published in: on March 20, 2014 at 2:28 am  Leave a Comment  

Wednesday, March 12 – Friday, March 14

Being laid low by a head cold, while still having to work very long hours, I’m not in any shape to write too much about these days.  Synopsis: work was easy Wednesday and Thursday, yoga went surprisingly well on Wednesday, I had a pretty decent upper-body session on Thursday though still sticking with machines (Hammer Strength plated-loaded dips: 6 x 8 x 340, Life Fitness seated incline presses, 4 x 8 x 240), my shift on Friday evening at the Major Home Improvement Retailer got cut (not uncommon for Friday and weekend shifts), and we went out for sushi on Friday evening.

Published in: on March 17, 2014 at 2:53 am  Leave a Comment  

Monday, March 10 – Tuesday, March 11

Back to another old favorite

Both days at my main job were about as easy as I’ve ever had.  The tasks I’m doing during this two-week cycle are easier than usual, and now that I’m in the second week of the cycle I can do them quickly. On both days I left around an hour earlier than usual, though of course I still get paid for the full shift.  Not a bad deal.  Another nice thing was that both worksites were fairly close to me, with no traffic issues.

On Tuesday I had a 4-to-9 shift at the Major Home Improvement Retailer.  It was one of my last shifts before moving into the new assignment in the garden area. As my regular duties were fairly light I helped out in the lumber department, and also did some general customer service around the store.  Maybe it’s because I’m getting impatient waiting for the new assignment, but the shift really seemed to drag by.  It was as if 9pm would never come.

When I went to the gym on Monday evening I wanted to do leg work, but once again was worried that doing squats would make me too sore for Wednesday’s yoga.  Wanting something more than machine work, I decided to give deadlifts a try.  It’s been months since I last did any.  Not wanting to overdo things, I kept the weights light: 6 x 225, 2 x 6 x 245, 6 x 225.  While for most exercises 24 total reps isn’t much, deadlifts are so tough that they’re an exception. I also spent a while on one of the stationary cycles.

Published in: on March 14, 2014 at 2:41 pm  Comments (1)  

Friday, March 7 – Sunday, March 9

No gym during the day on Friday, as I was a bit sore from Thursday’s session as well as Wednesday’s yoga.  Truth be said, I didn’t do much of anything before moseying into the Major Home Improvement Retailer for my 4 to 9 shift.

It’s when I arrived that things took a surprising turn.  I found out that starting the week after next, I’ll be moving to a new job function, the freight team for the garden department.  That itself is not surprising, as the MHIR moves people around all the time.  What was more surprising is that my hours will be very different: 8pm to midnight on Saturday, Sunday, Monday and Tuesday.

That’s actually going to work out pretty well.  My regular job is 8 to 3:30-ish Monday through Thursday.  Under the new schedule at the MHIR, I will have Fridays completely off, and on Saturdays and Sundays will work only four hours each evening.  While I will have two days (Monday and Tuesday) at which I’ll be working both jobs, up from just Tuesdays now, the MHIR shifts will be for only four hours and there’ll be a substantial break between the two jobs.  All in all that’s better.  I won’t have the nine-hour Sunday shifts that I now do, which will come as a major relief. As for the new duties, I believe they’ll be a welcome break too, as my work pace should be steadier in comparison to the ups and downs of my present function.

Saturday came as a major relief.  It was my first day completely off from work in two weeks, and I tried to savor every minute 🙂 I was able to get quite a few things done, though I was careful to avoid putting myself on any sort of schedule (and thus defeating the point of a day off).  In the early evening I went to the gym for some back work.  As I’ve been doing, I used the Hoist moveable-seat row machine, 4 x 8 at resistance level 17 of 18.  Wanting to try something different, I went back to another old standby, T-bar rows, figuring correctly that if I used the palms-facing handle my still-questionable elbow would be fine.  I did 8 x 95, 3 x 8 x 120.  All went fine.

Sunday was my next-to-last long shift at the MHIR.  It was slow at first but then got very busy.  I’d say I spent half my time doing my normal duties and the other half, during the downtime for the regular stuff, assisting customers in various parts of the store.  It wasn’t a bad day, as these things go, but it was a long one.  What didn’t help was that I was adjusting to the time change.  As far as I know it was the first time in my lift that I worked on the day a time change took effect.

Published in: on March 11, 2014 at 4:22 am  Leave a Comment  

Wednesday, March 5 – Thursday, March 6

Happily returning to yoga

I’d have to characterize both of these workdays as “much easier than average.”  I was done by 2:30 each day, a full hour before normal quitting time, though I still get paid for a full day.  Being three and four days into the current two-week cycle is really paying off, as I can accomplish my tasks at a quick rate.  As for the next cycle, beginning the week after next, I haven’t any idea, as I don’t yet know what it will involve.

Wednesday marked my return to yoga, after missing last week.  It turned out that the instructor hadn’t been there last week herself, as she had been on vacation.  Maybe she was still in a mellow frame of mind after her trip, but for some reason she wasn’t quite as rigid as usual.  I made it through the session no trouble.  If missing a week set me back in any way, it wasn’t apparent.

Thursday I made a trip to the gym, which I would have to say was the most crowded I’ve ever seen.  Pretty odd, given that Thursdays usually aren’t that bad.  I started out with the Hammer Strength plate-loaded dips, doing 2 x 8 x 320, 3 x 8 x 330, and a cool-down set of 8 x 270.  Then came Life Fitness seated incline presses, 5  x 8 x 230.  I tried doing some barbell bench presses but my left elbow wasn’t having any part of it.  What I think causes the pain is the way my hands are positioned when holding the bar, with my palms facing away from me.  On the machines my palms are turned inwards facing each other, and that seems much easier on my elbow.  Next time I’ll try benching with dumbbells and see how that goes.


Published in: on March 9, 2014 at 4:45 am  Leave a Comment  

Monday, March 3 – Tuesday, March 4

Starting the cycle

Monday marked the beginning of a new 2-week cycle at my main job.  In other words, for the next two weeks I’ll be doing mostly the same tasks at the different worksites in my rotation.  While this keeps things from getting too boring, it does mean that the first workday of the cycle tends to be a longer one, what with the learning curve and all that.  Indeed, I stayed about 45 minutes past my usual ending time as I got used to the new tasks.  While that’s not a huge amount of time, coupled with the worksite’s location near Exit 57 on the Expressway it did mean that I ran into some early rush hour traffic after work.  It wasn’t all that bad, certainly nothing like I’d encountered on a daily basis when I was driving to Connecticut or Westchester in late 2012 and early 2013, but it was enough of a reminder of how bad traffic can be that I didn’t much appreciate it.

On Monday evening I made a trip to the gym for leg work.  No, I didn’t squat, even though I should have.  What kept me from doing such an important exercise was the fear that I’d be too sore for yoga, as had been the case last week.  No way was I going to miss yoga for two weeks in a row.  If avoiding that risk meant doing other exercises rather than squats, so be it.  I ended up using the Cybex leg press that I’d used a lot in the recent past, 5 x 8 x 340.  Next, I wanted to do lying leg curls but the machine was broken, so I used a Hoist moveable-seat machine for 4 x 8 at resistance level 11 of 18 (yes, pathetic, I know).

Tuesday was a double day, one in which I worked at both my main job and at the Major Home Improvement Retailer.  I initially had some worries about being able to make it to the latter job for the 4pm start of my shift.  The fact that the first worksite was off the Sunrise Highway, probably about 20 minutes from the MHIR, was a cause for concern.  It all turned out to be for naught.  Working more quickly because it was the cycle’s second day, I was finished with the first job shortly before my normal 3:30 quitting time, and had no trouble making it to the MHIR.  It turned out that my shift at the latter job was really busy, so by the time the shift ended at 9 I was totally beat.

Published in: on March 7, 2014 at 12:14 am  Leave a Comment