Monday, November 24 – Tuesday, November 26

And I’m supposed to do what? 

One downside of working two jobs is that it’s hard to find ways to occupy myself when I’m not working. That’s exactly what happened to me on Monday and Tuesday. I have the week off at my regular job, and I wasn’t scheduled at the Major Home Improvement Retailer, so combined with Sunday this meant three days in a row completely off. I haven’t had that state of affairs since I went to Florida in early October,  and that really wasn’t the same thing.

It would be nice to say that I found productive ways to occupy myself, but that would be a partial exaggeration.  Monday I just sort of diddled around without doing much of anything.  Tuesday was a step up. I bought most of the stuff for Thanksgiving dinner. This included a nice big turkey, as well as … actually there was no turkey, no one really likes it and we are having roast leg of lamb instead.

Wednesday was much busier.  I went to Briermere Farms in Riverhead to get one of there best-anywhere pies. It was, not surprisingly,  jammed, with long lines. I had wanted to get a boysenberry pie but they were sold out of that and most other varieties.  I was able to find apricot, which actually works out well because it’s one of my favorites.

Later on Wednesday I worked a 4:30 to 8:30 shift at the Major Home Improvement Retailer.  It was a busy four hours, with more customers than I would have expected for Thanksgiving eve, and a considerable amount of prep work for Black Friday. Speaking of which, I saw the schedule for Black Friday and it seemed like I was one of the very few people not scheduled for that day. Presumably that’s because I hadn’t updated my availability to show that I would be available that day. I am working Saturday and Sunday, as well as a lot of hours over the next two weeks. Oh,  and I finally got to cut the base of a tree (two, actually) with the chainsaw.

I went to the gym on Tuesday evening for some upper body work. Bench press: 6 × 135, 6 × 165, 6 × 185, 6 × 205,  5 × 225, 3 × 225. Three times people asked me if I was almost done. Unique Fitness has only two flat bench stations, which is way too few. I then did overhead presses, 4 × 8 × 90.  On Wednesday morning I returned for a quick session.  Dips: 4 × 6 x bodyweight.  EZ curls : 8 × 70, 3 × 8 × 80.

Published in: on November 27, 2014 at 3:13 pm  Leave a Comment  

Saturday, November 22 – Sunday, November 23

This weekend was a change from my usual weekend routine. I worked on Saturday at the Major Home Improvement Retailer as usual, but for the first time in several weeks I did not work on Sunday. It was hard to figure out what to do with myself!

Saturday’s shift was from 10 to 6:30, which I’d say is one of the better weekend schedules. No need to get up early, and finished at a reasonable hour. What with Thanksgiving approaching the store was busy for most of my shift. I alternated between moving and setting up seasonal displays, and assisting customers. Maybe it was the split nature of my duties, but the shift went by quickly.

My experience in the Christmas tree lot was the one discordant note. All throughout the shift I’d been hoping that I’d finally get the chance to handle a tree. Finally, about 15 minutes before the end of my shift a couple bought a tree. With a mixture of trepidation and confidence I took out the chainsaw to trim the bottom of the trunk …. and couldn’t get it started. The customers, who were clearly getting impatient with my bumbling, finally took the un-trimmed tree. It was embarrassing, and only became worse when I took a second look at the chainsaw after they left and realized that all I had needed to do was press a safety switch. I was very angry with myself, the only small consolation being that it was the first time in my life I had ever handled a chainsaw.

Sunday was a fairly lazy day, as I tried to get accustomed to having it off. I made an early afternoon trip to the gym and did some back work. Barbell rows: 3 × 8 × 185. T-bar rows: 3 × 8 × 115. Standing calf machine shrugs: 4 × 10 × 330. Later in the evening we went to Smokey Bones BBQ for burgers, which were very good.

Published in: on November 26, 2014 at 3:18 pm  Leave a Comment  

Wednesday, November 19 -Friday, November 21

Traffic follies

Wednesday and Thursday were the last two days at my regular job prior to the week off for Thanksgiving.  Based on how absurdly easy the first two days of the week had been I wasn’t expecting any challenges.  I actually was wrong, at least as far as Wednesday went. It was a nearby work site that’s usually easy enough,  but this time there seemed to be one complication after another.  Nothing I couldn’t handle, just time consuming.  In sharp contrast to Monday and Tuesday, when I finished up very early and had to find other things to occupy myself, I actually left shortly after my usual quitting time.  Thursday was very easy, which is just as well as I was at the most distant of my work sites, about 30 miles to the east.

Wednesday evening I worked a four-hour shift at the Major Home Improvement Retailer.  It was my first weekday evening shift in about three weeks, not counting the shift in which I was reassigned to hardware.  It was pretty different from my usual weekend shifts as after the first 30 minutes I was the only employee in the garden department.  Weekend staffing is greater.  While the store wasn’t really crowded, it was busy enough that I really had to rush around for much of the shift. The garden department’s physical size, with indoor and outdoor areas as well as a greenhouse,  meant that I had a lot of ground to cover.

I was figuring that I’d go to the gym or maybe hot yoga on Thursday, but I got lazy. Okay, Friday then. After doing not much of anything all day I found out around 3:30 that I had to make a quick drive into Queens. No big deal, I could complete the round trip in less than three hours and have plenty of time for the gym.

How wrong I was. The drive into Queens,  which normally would take me just over an hour,  took more than two and a half hours. Even though I was going against the main flow of rush hour traffic the Long Island Expressway and the Grand Central Parkway were absolutely jammed. All I can think of in terms of an explanation is that falling gasoline prices are encouraging people to do more driving. Whatever the reason it was after nine by the time I got back. Normally I still would have had time for the gym, but we went to a birthday dinner at a Korean barbecue (in the process exhausting my repertoire of dog meat jokes). It was quite good, but rather expensive.

Published in: on November 24, 2014 at 10:28 pm  Leave a Comment  

Monday, November 17 – Tuesday, November 18

Divided session

Monday marked the beginning of the second to last work cycle of the year in my main job. After this week I’ll be off for the week of Thanksgiving, then back for a week to complete the cycle, and then there will be one week of cleaning up any unfinished tasks. Thursday, December 11 will be my last day until after the first of the year. Of course I’m not getting paid during the three weeks off, though I knew about this all along and in any event I should be getting quite a few hours at the Major Home Improvement Retailer.

Whatever the case, this cycle is going to be very easy. I was done by noon on Monday even though it was the start of the cycle and was at a worksite that’s usually among my more difficult.  Tuesday was even easier, and I was finished before 11. Of course in each case I had to find miscellaneous chores to occupy myself,  as I can’t leave before 1.

On Monday evening I went to the gym for what I planned would be a lengthy session. I did some bench presses: 6 × 135, 6 × 165, 6 × 185, 6 × 205, 2 × 4 × 225.  Right after the second set at 225, as I was about to start a cooldown set at 185, I got a telephone call that lasted about 20 minutes. By the time I was done my muscles had tightened up and I knew it would be inadvisable to continue.

But I wasn’t about to be stopped for long. I returned to the gym late on Tuesday afternoon and finished my upper body work. First came overhead presses: 8 × 80, 4 × 8 × 90. I then did something easier, namely cable pushdowns,  5 x 8 × 50. To finish the session I did some dips, for the first time in forever, 4 × 6 × body weight.  In addition to the weights, I also ellipted for 20 minutes.

Published in: on November 21, 2014 at 1:05 am  Leave a Comment  

Saturday, November 15 – Sunday, November 16

More than a week away from Thanksgiving, yet the Christmas trees have arrived at the Major Home Improvement Retailer.  The first of multiple loads, at least. As this load had arrived when I wasn’t working I was lucky enough to avoid the famously unpleasant task of unloading the trees.  Next time I won’t be so lucky.

When I arrived for my 1 to 10 shift on Saturday I found out that a few customers had already bought trees. From the selling perspective a tree sale is somewhat complicated.  An employee has to cut an inch or two off the bottom with a chainsaw, wrap it in mesh, and in many cases tie it down onto the customer’s vehicle. I’ve watched an instructional video but have never done the work myself. Just to be safe,  I asked another garden department employee if I could watch her handle a tree if we sold one. She gave me a look of disdain and said “Women don’t handle trees.” Alrighty then.

As it turns out, there were no further tree sales during my shift, though customers were buying plenty of other things.  Those large inflatable yard decorations were selling at quite a clip, e en though they’re surprisingly expensive.

Sunday’s shift ran from 8:30 to 4:00. Near the start of my shift I explained my tree handling concerns to another employee, and he said that if we made a tree sale he’d be glad to demonstrate the process to me. Around noon I heard a PA announcement summoning me to the tree lot. That’s the good news. The bad news is that I was in the middle of assisting a customer with a snowblower,  and by the time I made it to the tree lot the employee who had made the offer was just finishing with loading the tree on the customer’s car. Naturally enough there were no more tree sales during my shift. Oh, and to add insult to injury, the customer I had been assisting didn’t buy the snowblower.

Published in: on November 21, 2014 at 12:40 am  Leave a Comment  

Wednesday, November 12 – Friday, November 14

More schedule fuss

I knew all along that I wouldn’t be working the last two weeks of the year at my regular job. Not working as in “no pay.” It isn’t pleasant, but it’s the normal thing in this line of work. And at least two weeks without pay is better than the three weeks I endured in 2012 and 2013.

I found out on Wednesday that I had been mistaken. It will be three weeks this year, I must have been mistaken in thinking it was only two. Fortunately,  I should be able to get a fair number of hours at the Major Home Improvement Retailer during those three weeks, so the financial hit might not be too bad.

Work was fairly easy on Wednesday and Thursday.  Oddly enough, although Thursday’s worksite is normally much busier than the one on Wednesday,  I stayed about the same length of time each day. On Wednesday evening I went to the gym for back work, and did well. Barbell rows: 5 × 8× 185. Nice weight progression on that one. EZ curls : 4 × 8 × 80. Standing calf machine shrugs : 3 × 10 × 330.  On my Friday gym visit I wasn’t really in a weight sort of mood, and instead ellipted for 30 minutes.

Published in: on November 17, 2014 at 3:17 am  Leave a Comment  

Monday, November 10 – Tuesday, November 11

An unusual evening shift

Monday was a slightly different day at my regular job.  An early morning text from the district manager rerouted me from my scheduled worksite to one that’s not on my current rotation.  I had last been there over six months ago. It’s conveniently close, and always had been a decent one, so the change was not unwelcome.  In the evening I briefly entertained thoughts of the gym, or hot yoga,  but was too lazy.

Tuesday was my first two-job day in a few weeks,  with my regular job followed by a 6 to 10 shift at the MHIR. The regular job was at a worksite about 10 miles to the east, the least favorite one on my current rotation and one which unfortunately may be on my new rotation in January. Each time I’m there something always seems to complicate things. To my pleasant surprise everything went fine. Will wonders ever cease?

My MHIR shift wasn’t what I had been expecting. A company executive was scheduled to do an inspection tour of the hardware department on Wednesday, and I was assigned to straighten things out in two of the aisles. A harder task than it might seem,  as one of the aisles was for nails and fasteners,  which meant there were huge numbers of items. Still, I did what seemed to be a good job. As usual I waited on some customers, and scheduled a service estimate for one of them, using some of Sunday’s training.

Published in: on November 13, 2014 at 3:55 am  Leave a Comment  

Saturday, November 8 – Sunday, November 9

Another weekend, another two days spent at the Major Home Improvement Retailer. Neither one was a full 8-hour day, a factoid which will of course be reflected in my next paycheck.  Fortunately I’ll be working more hours the following week.

On Saturday I worked 9:30 to 4:30 and spent most of the time shelving countless boxes of  Christmas decorations. It looked as if we’d never find enough space in the overhead bays, but somehow it worked out. Fortunately there was an electric lift platform for me to use. It saved many trips up and down a rolling ladder. At one point I had to cut some boards for the bottom of an overhead bay, the first time I’ve used the power saw in the lumber department in many months. Oh, in the midst of all this I was helping customers. It was such a busy shift that it went by in a flash.

On Sunday, I did something very unusual: I actually went to the gym in the morning.  Only on very rare occasions do I ever engage in any exercise before mid-afternoon at the earliest.  The thing is, I really had to go, and as I working at the MHIR from noon to 6 I wouldn’t be able to go afterwards. I did bench presses: 6 × 135, 6 × 165,  6 × 185, 6 × 205, 2 × 4 × 225, 8 × 185. Not bad. Then came overhead presses, 4 × 8 × 90. Hey, maybe morning exercises aren’t so bad.

As for the MHIR shift, it was quite the change from the prior day. I had quite a bit of computer training due within the next several weeks, and the department manager had me spend the entire six hours in the training room. Six hours of online training is a lot, believe me. I delved into such topics as power washers, scheduling in-home service estimates,  Honda lawnmowers,  underground drainage systems, data security, organic pest control,  and other things I’ve already forgotten. It left my brain fried, but at least my training is close to being back on schedule.

Published in: on November 13, 2014 at 3:36 am  Leave a Comment  

Wednesday, November 5 – Friday, November 7

Dare I say boring?

Yikes. Wednesday and Thursday were quite possibly the most boring days I’ve spent at my main job since I started two and a half years ago. It’s because these end of year work cycles are light (that will definitely change in January), and because I spent both days at the same worksite.  As.i had so little to do, naturally enough there was some sort of cosmic warp that caused time to pass at half of its usual speed.

While nothing is set, I found out where I’ll most likely be working in January. I will have four sites in each 2-week cycle, spending two days at each. There will be more work in each cycle so things aren’t likely to be boring. The sites are located more toward the east, three of them are on my current rotation and one was earlier this year. Two are quite good, one is okay, and one I don’t like too much. Guess that’s not bad.

I had a decent gym session on Thursday. Barbell rows: 8 x 165, 2 x 8 x 175, 2 × 8 × 185. All went fine, even at 185. EZ curls: 4 × 8 × 70. Standing calf machine shrugs: 3 × 10 × 330. Although I had planned to go either to the gym or hot yoga on Friday,  which was my day off, other things intervened and I did precisely nothing.

Published in: on November 11, 2014 at 3:24 am  Leave a Comment  

Monday, November 3 – Tuesday, November 4

Decent start

Monday was the start of a new 2 – week cycle at my main job. On account of some operational considerations I was not at the worksite where I usually start the cycles. I had thought this would be a somewhat awkward adjustment, as I’m so used to doing things a particular way, but it really wasn’t bad. Speaking of adjustments,  I got some more information on the organizational changes that will take place after the first of the year. I will remain on a 2-week cycle, spending two days at each of four worksites. What I don’t yet know are what those sites will be, though in all likelihood at least two will be among those on my current cycle.

Tuesday was a very easy day at a nearby site. In fact I was pretty much finished by noon, though I had to find some non-essential stuff with which to occupy myself until I could leave sometime later. In the evening I went back to the gym, for what I’m hoping will be new commitment to a regular routine. Hmmmm,  I’ve said that before. Anyway, I did upper body work, keeping the weights low as I’m so out of practice. Bench press: 6 × 135, 6 × 165, 6 × 185, 4 × 205, 3 × 225, 8 × 185. Overhead press: 8 × 50, 2 × 8 × 60, 2 × 8 × 70. Triceps pushdowns: 3 × 8 × 52.5.

Published in: on November 6, 2014 at 8:30 pm  Leave a Comment