Thursday, July 24 – Sunday, July 27

Idle hands

Overwork was definitely not among my concerns on Thursday.  I went to the worksite where I had been scheduled to go on Wednesday, before I got re-routed.  Because this worksite is normally scheduled for two days, I was somewhat concerned that by not being there on Wednesday I’d have a double workload on Thursday.  Didn’t turn out that way at all.  I ended up having a fairly leisurely day, finishing up well over an hour prior to normal quitting time (which does not reduce my pay, fortunately).  Had I been there on Wednesday as well I would have had to scramble to find things to do.  While I can leave when my work for the day is done, there are some limits.

Thursday evening I went to the gym, and had a decent session.  I did bench presses: 6 x 135, 6 x 165, 6 x 185, 6 x 205, 2 x 4 x 225, 8 x 185.  Next came some Hammer Strength MTS shoulder presses: 3 x 8 x 90/90.

No work on Friday, at either job, though I did go into the Major Home Improvement Retailer for a short while to deal with a concern about my upcoming schedule.  Having taken care of the issue, I went back to the Setauket-Port Jefferson hiking trail.  I parked at a lot off Gnarled Hill Road right at the 0.75-mile mark, and hiked to the Port Jefferson end and back. That was a round trip of about five miles, and I kept up a 3-mph pace.

Saturday was pretty much a do-nothing day.  I had planned to go to the gym in the afternoon, but naturally enough other things came up and I didn’t go. This actually repeated itself on Sunday, when my plans to do in the early afternoon yet again fell through due to other things.  Not good.  On Sunday evening I worked from 6:30 to midnight at the MHIR, and what with the upcoming inventory it was a busy shift.  When I first started it didn’t look like there was too much to do, but as time went on more and more inventory-related tasks cropped up.

Published in: on July 28, 2014 at 10:22 pm  Leave a Comment  

Monday, July 21 – Wednesday, July 23

My dislike of Verizon Wireless just keeps on growing

How hard is it to build some cell phone towers?  Don’t bother responding, because the answer is “not particularly.” Cell carriers have no trouble providing adequate coverage in most areas. Or so the theory goes.  All three days I was at worksites (the same one Tuesday and Wednesday) that have such poor coverage that my phone went from 100% charge to almost dead over the course of a workday.  That’s completely unacceptable in this day and age, especially as both worksites were in densely populated suburban areas.  I really, really wish my contract with Verizon didn’t have well over a year to go, as I’m sure that other carriers provide better service.  They could scarcely provide worse.

As for work itself, it went reasonably well all three days.  I am now in the second week of the two-week workcycle, and though it’s a very tough cycle I’m now better able to handle it without having to stay late.  Monday I stayed maybe 15 minutes late, while on the other days I left at the usual time.  Wednesday was a bit unusual because I didn’t go to my regularly scheduled site (which, by the way, has excellent cell service), but at the last minute got re-directed to the same site where I’d been the day before.

Monday was my only evening at the Major Home Improvement Retailer, a 6:30 to midnight shift. It was busy, partly because there had been a big freight delivery earlier in the day, and partly because there’s an upcoming inventory.  It takes quite a bit of work to prepare for inventory, as all the materials stored in the overheads require special tagging.  I even spent some time doing freight pack-out in the plumbing department.  Thankfully the store was closed by that time, as I would not have wanted to deal with customer questions, as I wouldn’t have been able to answer any of them!

Tuesday night was another trip to LaGuardia Airport, a pickup this time.  I’d have to say that late-evening traffic was no trouble at all.  And I’ll also say that the Delta Airlines terminal is a pretty barren place. No amenities outside of security except a newsstand, and not even any seats.

Published in: on July 25, 2014 at 9:44 pm  Leave a Comment  

Saturday, July 19 – Sunday, July 20

Saturday was pretty much a low-key sort of day.  Some errands, too much time diddling around on the computer, the usual stuff.  Not a lot of motivation, that’s for sure.  Now Sunday, that was a different story, as I worked from noon to 8:30 at the Major Home Improvement Retailer.  Not too usual a shift for me.  And it was a busy shift, that’s for sure.  From when I arrived until about 5, there was a nonstop flow of customers in the garden department, all of whom seemed to have questions.  Except for a 10-minute break I ran around more or less nonstop until I finally went to lunch at 5:30.

For a while I was really into jack-of-all-trades mode, helping out in the lumber department when the worker assigned there went to lunch himself.  I was a bit concerned, as I went through only part of the initial training for that department and that was over six months ago, but I made it through my half-hour stint without doing anything wrong.  I think.


Published in: on July 24, 2014 at 1:58 am  Leave a Comment  

Thursday, July 17 – Friday, July 18

That’s an early morning

No work on Thursday, but that does not mean it wasn’t an early morning.  In fact it was even earlier than usual.  I left at 5:30 to drive a family member to LaGuardia Airport for an early flight.  Surprisingly, traffic on the Long Island Expressway and Northern State/Grand Central Parkway wasn’t too bad, even though it was past the start of rush hour.  It didn’t take more than about 1:10 to get to the airport.  Why the lack of traffic?  Most likely it was because traffic tends to be lighter than usual in the summer, just like LIRR ridership. Whatever the reason, I’m certainly not complaining.

Getting back from the airport was a bit more complicated, due to a crash on the Expressway near Exit 46 that caused a bit of a backup.  While crawling along I got a phone call informing me that my scheduled 8 to midnight shift at the Major Home Improvement Retailer was cancelled.  That’s not an uncommon occurrence, the result I presume of slower-than-expected sales earlier in the week, and even though I appreciate the money I was so physically run-down that I wasn’t too bothered.  I’m still getting over 20 hours for the week.  Once back home I basically just goofed off for the rest of the day, too worn out to do much of consequence.

Friday was another day off, at least this time I had some energy.  In the late morning I walked for about an hour at the Sans Souci County Park in Sayville.  Although the trails in this park are dirt, in contrast to the paved Setauket-Port Jefferson trail, I consider it walking rather than hiking because it’s pretty flat.  Still, it was nice, as was the weather.  Later in the day I actually went to the gym for the first time in too long, I really do intend to get back into the swing of things now that work should be less brutal.  All I did was some bench presses, as time goes on I’ll do more: 6 x 135, 6 x 165, 6 x 185, 6 x 205, 4 x 225.

Published in: on July 21, 2014 at 2:43 am  Leave a Comment  

Monday, July 14 – Wednesday, July 16

I survived, how?

Monday dawned bright and early with the start of a new two-week cycle at my main job.  More precisely, a horrible two-week cycle.  I don’t know why things were scheduled this way, but about a month’s worth of work has been packed into these two weeks.  Monday’s worksite was close by, but that’s the beginning and the end of the good news.  I stayed two hours longer than usual, which may not seem too bad, except that it was almost nonstop work for over nine hours.  All I could manage were a couple breaks of about five minutes each.  Fortunately I did not have any work in the evening at the Major Home Improvement Retailer.

Tuesday’s worksite is one that’s usually pretty easy.  Thing is, “usually” is not the same as “always.”  It wasn’t quite as tough a day as Monday, in the sense that I stayed 90 minutes longer than usual instead of two hours.  Once again, hardly any breaks.  The downside is that I had to work the 8 to midnight shift at the MHIR, and naturally enough it was not an easy shift.  There was a big delivery of freight for the garden department, and with several people working it took the full four hours to get it all packed out.  I actually had been scheduled to spend the first two hours of the shift on plant watering, but thanks to torrential downpours Mother Nature took care of that task for me.  Thanks, mom.

Wednesday marked further improvement at my main job.  When I arrived at the worksite and saw how much had to be done, I was expecting catastrophe.  Thankfully, it went okay, and I stayed only slightly longer than usual.  Extra help and the experience from doing the same work the prior two days were what made the difference.  I was so beat out from the late night on Tuesday that I don’t know how I would have coped had things not gone so well.  What was not so good is that I had yet another MHIR shift from 8 to midnight.  This one was as hectic as the previous evening’s, and due to some late-arriving customers I never did get my 10 to 10:15 break.  By the time I left I could barely stand upright.

Published in: on July 18, 2014 at 12:03 am  Leave a Comment  

Thursday, July 10 – Sunday, July 13

Still dragging

Making it through hot yoga on Wednesday did not mean, unfortunately, that I was physically back at 100%.  Through most of the day on Thursday I was pretty much dragging myself around without much energy. Fortunately, it was a fairly quiet day at my regular job, though I found out that next week is going to be very tough indeed.  Wonderful.  In the evening I worked the 8pm to midnight shift at the Major Home Improvement Retailer.  As shifts go it wasn’t too bad, busy but not hectic.

Friday was a day off from all work.  I did some errands, wasted too much time online (how surprising!), but mostly just goofed off.  No, I didn’t go to the gym.  Right now my enthusiasm is at a low level, but I’m not too concerned because this sort of thing has happened before and I always end up getting re-energized.

Saturday was a more active day.  In the early afternoon I went to the Setauket-Port Jefferson hiking trail, starting from the Setauket end.  My plans were to walk to about the one mile mark and return.  I got to that point and had some newfound energy, so I kept going … and going.  It was fairly hot outside but not intolerable.  When all was said and done, I went to the 2.5-mile mark before turning around.  It would have been only another three-quarters of a mile to the trail’s end, but time was getting short and the eastern end in Port Jefferson is the least interesting part.  I ended up hiking 5 miles in 100 minutes, for a 3mph pace.  Not bad for steep terrain.  Later on Saturday we went to the Sonic drive-in, about 15 miles away in Deer Park, but the line was way too long, so Panera was the substitute.

I didn’t do much during the day on Sunday, it was much too hot to consider any outdoor activities, and at 6:30 I went to the MHIR for a shift lasting until midnight.  I didn’t think it was going to be particularly busy, as there’s no freight on weekends and the garden department isn’t as busy as it had been earlier in the season, but it turned out to be a rather hectic shift indeed as quite a bit of seasonal merchandise had to be moved.  At least it went by quickly.

Published in: on July 15, 2014 at 11:08 pm  Leave a Comment  

Monday, July 7 – Wednesday, July 8

Mustering up the energy for yoga

These weren’t the best of days in physical terms.  Lots of aches and pains, my guess is that I had picked up some sort of low-level bug that’s not enough to make me outright sick, but was draining my energy reserves. It didn’t help that work was generally on the tough side on Monday and Tuesday, though Wednesday was somewhat easier.

Monday’s worksite was in a location that is especially annoying due to the almost complete lack of phone service. Apparently Verizon Wireless hasn’t gotten around to building enough cell towers in the area, notwithstanding the fact that it’s a densely populated suburban area.  What, do they think it’s actually some sort of remote countryside or something? It wasn’t that I had to make much use of my phone, it’s that the constant search for a signal very quickly drained the phone’s battery.  In the space of eight hours it went from a full charge to less than 5%.  Tuesday’s location, about ten miles away, was scarcely any better, but this time I had the foresight to keep the phone turned off most of the time, turning it on every 30 minutes to check for messages or texts.  It came as a relief to spend Wednesday in a location with a strong signal.

Tuesday was the only evening of the three in which I worked at the Major Home Improvement Retailer.  I’m getting only 12 hours this week, though next week will more than make up for that with 24.75 hours.  Given the way I was sort of dragging physically, it’s just as well that I didn’t work that much.  Tuesday evening’s shift was a fairly easy one, not too much heavy lifting or scrambling up ladders.  The one drawback is that there is no break room for the next two weeks, as the store’s non-public areas undergo renovation.  Several desks in the kitchen design area served as a sort of impromptu break room.  Better than nothing, I guess.

On Wednesday evening, I was recovered enough to make it to hot yoga. Aspirin beforehand dealt with the aches and pains I would be experiencing.  The session was crowded, though the room wasn’t quite as hot as usual, possibly in deference to the hot weather we’ve been having.  It wasn’t the usual Wednesday evening instructor, in fact it was my first session with her, and all I can say is that she was tough.  Very tough.  She didn’t even call for any water breaks during the 90-minute session.  Nonetheless, I made it though the session without having to rest, and in fact my balance seemed a bit better than usual.  Not bad at all.

Published in: on July 11, 2014 at 1:12 pm  Comments (4)  

Saturday, July 5 – Sunday, July 6

It was a fairly quiet weekend for me.  On Saturday morning I hiked the western half of the Setauket-Port Jefferson trail whose eastern half I had walked on Monday.  The western half was hillier, downright steep in a few spots, though the scenery wasn’t as interesting.  As it was a weekend the trail was quite crowded, mostly with runners.  I noticed to some bewilderment that among the runners, women outnumbered men by at least 3:1. No idea why that’s the case.

Most of the rest of the weekend was rather uninspiring.  By Saturday afternoon I was feeling rather weak and run-down, which continued into Sunday.  Going to the gym just wasn’t about to happen.  On Sunday I had to work a 6:15 to midnight shift at the Major Home Improvement Retailer.  Thankfully, it was a pretty easy shift, not at all hectic, and I was able to get through it okay.

Published in: on July 10, 2014 at 3:11 am  Leave a Comment  

Wednesday, July 2 – Friday, July 4

Travel on holiday weekends: not fun

Wednesday was a low-energy day if there ever was one.  Maybe it was the fact that it was so steaming hot outside.  Or maybe it was because I was at the halfway point of my week off.  Whatever the case, I spent most of the day trying to muster up the energy to go to the gym, or to go to yoga, and eventually doing nothing at all.  Well not totally nothing, as I worked the 8 to midnight shift at the Major Home Improvement Retailer.  I was on plant watering duty, which is the sort of thing I can more or less muddle through.

Thursday was much more interesting. We made our annual, or sometimes less frequent, trip to Callie’s Candy Kitchen/Pretzel Factory in Pennsylvania.  Both establishments are a few miles apart in the Poconos, about 15 minutes off of Interstate 80.  The drive there, leaving around 10 am, took about two and a half hours, the route being Long Island Expressway/Grand Central Parkway/Triboro Bridge/George Washington Bridge/I-80.  It really wasn’t a bad drive, though since I wasn’t actually driving I wouldn’t have had much basis for complaining 🙂

After stocking up on way too much candy and way too many pretzels, we started the return trip about 3pm. Same route, different direction.  And very different timing.  Traffic on I-80 was ferociously heavy, with people getting away for the long holiday weekend, but fortunately it was all in the other direction.  We breezed right along.  Once we got onto the George Washington Bridge, unfortunately, the rest of the trip was basically one big traffic jam.  Even the HOV lane on the Expressway was no help.  The return trip took about 4:15, a full hour and 45 minutes longer than the morning.  Oh, and the worst part … the (obscene) tools, a repulsive $29!

It rained almost all day on Friday, so much for a Fourth of July cookout.  Though I’d have to say that takeout from Famous Dave’s BBQ was a very good substitute.

Published in: on July 7, 2014 at 4:37 am  Leave a Comment  

Monday, June 30 – Tuesday, July 1

A non-green sight on the Greenway

Monday.  The first day of my week off from my regular job, though I’ve got 20 hours scheduled at the Major Home Improvement Retailer.  What shall I do with all this free time on my hands?  I decided to start out by hiking on the Setauket -Port Jefferson Greenway, a recently completed 3.5-mile trail that connects the two communities.  “Hiking” might seem a strange choice of word for a paved path, about the width of a single-lane road, that is open to walkers, runners and bikers.  Yet I’ll stick with it, as the Greenway has some fairly substantial elevation changes, not like trekking through the Himalayas but certainly much more than a stroll down the lane.

I parked just off Old Town Road, near the midpoint of the Greenway, and decided to hike east to the Port Jefferson end and back.  Another time I’ll try the western half to Setauket.  The first quarter-mile or so went through a residential neighborhood, right past peoples’ backyards.  It then went into a wooded area, down a long hill and through an old sand-and-gravel operation, and then up a steep incline that lasted for maybe a third of a mile.

At was at the top of the hill where I was in for quite a surprise.  Local governments have been trying for over 15 years to get federal “Superfund” money to clean up an abandoned factory complex known as Lawrence Aviation.  So far they’ve made little progress.  The factory site is up a long, fenced-off driveway and isn’t visible from anywhere on public land.  Well, almost anywhere.  Turns out that the Greenway runs right along the site, offering an excellent view of the rusting, decaying, graffiti-covered buildings.   It’s a strange juxtaposition, all I can think of is that when the Town of Brookhaven was assembling land for the Greenway this particular route was all that was available. Anyway, I walked the remaining half-mile or so to the Port Jefferson terminus, had a Diet Pepsi from the 7-11 located conveniently at the trailhead, and walked back to my car.

On Tuesday, I figured it was high time to drag my lazy self to the gym.  It was so hot out that hiking the other half of the Greenway was a distinctly unattractive option.  I started out with bench presses, using the flat bench this time: 6 x 135, 6 x 185, 6 x 205, 4 x 4 x 225, 8 x 185.  Not bad.  Then I decided to do some back work, using the T-bar row apparatus which was right next to the bench.  It was the kind that had a home plate-shaped base, with the pointed end in a corner, and with a pivoted sleeve on the base.  You slip a barbell into the sleeve, add weights on the other end, grip the bar using a D-shaped handle from the cable station, and row away.  I did 8 x 90, 8 x 115, 8 x 135, 8 x 145.  It wasn’t bad, much more natural-feeling than the T-bar apparatus with the chest pad.

I worked the 8 to midnight shift at the MHIR, assigned to plant watering.  Normally I can get the watering done in about two hours, but tonight it took closer to three, as what with the hot weather the plants were soaking up water like anything.  Still, it wasn’t a bad shift.

Published in: on July 2, 2014 at 9:40 pm  Leave a Comment