Monday, January 26 – Tuesday, January 27

Just for a change, no complete sentences

Part day of work on Monday

Supermarkets jammed with panic buyers

Snow on Monday evening into Tuesday heavy but not apocalyptic

About 20 inches to two feet

No work Tuesday

Lots and lots of shoveling

Gym open Tuesday evening but too worn out from shoveling

People love to panic. Okay, that was a complete sentence.

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Published in: on January 29, 2015 at 3:25 am  Leave a Comment  

Friday, January 23 – Sunday, January 25

It was the calm before the storm. Or, more accurately, the turmoil before the storm. Friday certainly was calm, being my day off and everything. Mostly just poking around, running errands, the usual. Okay, when I made it to the gym in the late afternoon there was a break with the usual, as for the first time in months I got back to deadlifting.  Nothing too much, given that I haven’t done the exercise in so long. I did 4 × 4 × 225. Hey, it’s a start. I also did leg presses on a Life Fitness machine, 3 × 8 × 360.

On Saturday I worked 3:30 to 10 at the Major Home Improvement Retailer.  It was a fairly quiet shift, quiet enough that the manager let me spend 45 minutes doing online training for my forklift certification. With some vague reports about possible snow on Monday there were some people buying snow shovels and rock salt, but nothing too much.

Ten hours later, when I reported on Sunday for my 8 to 4:30 shift, I stumbled into Bedlam. In the overnight hours the weather forecast had changed,  and now was calling for a massive storm on late Monday into Tuesday. Up to three feet of snow was a distinct possibility.  Saturday’s trickle of snow shovel and rock salt buyers had become a raging torrent. My shift was a nonstop frenzy of getting more and more supplies until everything was gone. As soon as a pallet (48 bags, each weighing 50 pounds) of salt or calcium chloride would be delivered to the sales floor,  people would descend onto it like it was free money or something and all the bags would be gone in ten minutes or less. After going through about 30 pallets, with no more rock salt or calcium chloride left in the store, the manager decided to go into the five or so pallets of swimming pool salt that were supposed to be put on the shelves in the spring. By the time I left at 4:30 these too were gone. Yep, it was a hectic shift, though I presume a very lucrative one for the MHIR.

Published in: on January 29, 2015 at 3:14 am  Leave a Comment  

Wednesday, January 21 – Thursday, January 22

Not so easy

These were two very tough days at my regular job. Thankfully I wasn’t scheduled at the Major Home Improvement Retailer in the evening. I did the same work as I had done on Monday and Tuesday,  but in a bigger and less-organized location. This change of site made a huge difference. On Wednesday I worked almost nonstop,  with at best ten minutes for lunch, yet as my 2:30 quitting time approached I knew I’d never be able to finish in time. Fortunately, getting overtime permission from the regional office was easy enough, and I stayed about an hour extra. Here’s hoping it will be reflected in my next paycheck. On Thursday I was able to finish on time, and was a to take 15 minutes for lunch.

I probably should have gone to the gym on Wednesday, but after waiting until 9 I finally decided I just didn’t have the energy. It’s just as well.  Whatever I would have accomplished would have been mediocre at very best. On Thursday, I continued with my theme of doing neutral grip pull-ups, and this time managed a cool 30: 4 × 4, 3 × 4, 1 × 2.

Published in: on January 24, 2015 at 8:11 pm  Leave a Comment  

Monday, January 19 – Tuesday, January 20

Better than last cycle, so far

Monday began the second 2-week cycle at my main job. The past cycle was tough, no doubt about that, but I wasn’t sure whether that was because of the new work flow with two days at each worksite,  or because of the specific tasks I had to do for the cycle.  After these two days I’m inclined to go with the former. Neither day did I have to struggle at all in order to finish by 2:30. In fact I probably could have finished by 1:30 or so, though doing so would have been pointless as I have to stay until 2:30. Granted, this site is the easiest of the four on my rotation, but it’s still a good sign.

Tuesday evening I did a 6 to 10 shift at the Major Home Improvement Retailer.  There wasn’t any freight, which is a bit surprising,  and as the store wasn’t nearly as busy as on the weekend there wasn’t much to do in terms of assisting customers.  Not that it was dull,  however, as I was tasked with setting up a display of chest freezers and gas grills at the front of the store. Both were significantly discounted, so even though the store wasn’t busy people were buying them even as I was assembling the display.

On Monday evening I went to the gym with the intent of doing bench presses, but as one might expect for a Monday in January the gym was packed. Both flat benches (the gym REALLY should have more) were in use with people waiting. Rather than join the queue I opted for dips, doing a respectable 5 × 8 × bodyweight.

Published in: on January 22, 2015 at 9:47 pm  Leave a Comment  

Saturday, January 17 – Sunday, January 18

Two early days at the Major Home Improvement Retailer.  That’s uncommon for me, as I usually work somewhat later in the day. It wasn’t fun to have to get up early, but at least I was done at a decent hour.each day. Saturday I worked 7:30 to 4. During the first half of the shift I was pulling online orders for in-store pickup, which is what I had been doing much of the time when .I first started working at the MHIR over a year ago. As orders don’t come continuously I went around the store helping customers during the downtime. It was a decent change from working in the garden department, though not something I’d want to do every shift. After my lunch break I did the usual garden stuff.

Sunday’s shift was a short one, 8 to noon. As it was quite icy out I spent the first hour or so helping spread ice melt on the walkway in front of the store and in parts of the outside garden area. One thing I hadn’t realized is the sheer volume of ice melt required. I went through three 40-pound bags of the calcium chloride/rock salt mix, and I was just one of four employees performing the task. Once that was done I was quite busy helping customers,  as the store was quite busy.

Later on Sunday afternoon I went to the gym, and did something different. I wanted to do back work, and instead of a variety of exercises I did neutral grip pull-ups, and nothing else. Not that it was an easy session, as they’re a tough exercise and I did a total of 22: 2 × 4, 4 × 3, 1 × 2.

Published in: on January 22, 2015 at 9:31 pm  Leave a Comment  

Thursday, January 15 – Friday, January 16

Still in recovery mode

Thursday was the last day of the 2-week cycle at my regular job, and suffice to say that the cycle ended with a bang and not a whimper. I ran around almost the entire shift like a chicken with its head cut off and just barely managed to finish by the scheduled quitting time.  Until the last couple of hours it was looking very much as if I would not be done by 2:30. If that had happened I probably would have had to come back on Friday for a couple hours, in the process losing my only complete day off. It could well be that my concerns about that unhappy prospect motivated me to work extra fast and efficiently,  so that I was able to finish by 2:30. Well maybe. Whatever the case, I was grateful that I wasn’t working at the Major Home Improvement Retailer in the evening. Three days of that in a row would’ve been too much.

As befits my day off I didn’t do too much on Friday. One thing I did do was make my return to the gym in the early evening. I was going to do a lengthy bench session, but no sooner did I start then these two women asked me if I’d be done soon. As they asked nicely, and because the two hard core lifters at the other flat bench didn’t look like they’d be leaving anytime soon, I decided to make it a short session: 6 × 135, 6 × 165, 6 × 185, 4 × 205, 4 × 225. I then did some T-bar rows: 4 × 8 × 125. Next came some cable triceps pushdowns,  3 × 8 × 52.5. I finished the session with an exercise I haven’t done in too long, namely neutral grip pull-ups,  4 × 3.

After the gym I had creatine, Six Star brand fruit punch flavor, and Body Fortress whey protein.

Published in: on January 19, 2015 at 12:47 am  Leave a Comment  

Monday, January 12 – Wednesday, January 14

Well I survived, somehow

These weren’t easy days, to put it very mildly. I spent them at two different work locations for my main job, one of them on Monday and Tuesday and the other one on Wednesday. Both sites had two things in common: they are conveniently nearby (good), and they are way too complicated (not good). Each day I had to scramble around like crazy to finish my work by my 2:30 quitting time. Staying any later is really not an option, as overtime requires approval from the regional office and it’s seldom granted. But leaving work undone is frowned upon. What all of this meant is that I had to work at a fast nonstop pace from 7 to 2:30 each day with only two short breaks. I’m hoping that the next 2-week work cycle, which begins next week, won’t be quite as nuts.

What made these days even tougher is that I worked at the Major Home Improvement Retailer on Tuesday and Wednesday. That made for two long days. Tuesday was an unusually long shift for a weekday, 4:30 to 10. While the store wasn’t that busy, I was the only garden department employee on duty after the first two hours and there was a fairly large freight shipment to be packed out. Just like during the day at my regular job, I really had to hustle. Wednesday was quite different. As there was another worker on duty, and no more freight, I was assigned to clean up the greenhouse. It wasn’t that difficult a task, but did get a bit tedious.

Between a family activity on Monday, and then the MHIR shifts, I wasn’t able to get to the gym. I’m not pleased with that, but I’m not doing many evening shifts over the next two weeks so I will be able to get back into it.

Published in: on January 16, 2015 at 3:40 am  Leave a Comment  

Saturday, January 10 – Sunday, January 11

A busy weekend at the Major Home Improvement Retailer.  On Saturday I worked 11 to 6:30, which is one of the better shifts. No need to get up early, not much idle time before going in, and best of all it’s not a closing shift so I don’t have to clean the department and reshelve the returns.

Best of all, I finally completed my garden department certification. Having done many many hours of computer training, the last task was an “in-aisle” assessment with the department head, a bit of role play in which he acts the part of a customer with many questions. It was much quicker and easier than I had been expecting. With the certification complete, I registered for forklift training. Actually the “reach truck,” a smaller electric forklift that can be used in the aisles, which gets much more use than the standard forklift. I have to finish 90 minutes of computer training before beginning hands-on lessons. It should be interesting.

Sunday was a rather quiet shift. I was on 10 to 6:30, and while there was a steady flow of customers there also were several people on duty in Garden. I took advantage of the situation and did about a third of the online forklift training.

Published in: on January 14, 2015 at 9:02 pm  Leave a Comment  

Wednesday, January 7 – Friday, January 9

One step forward, a half step back

Wednesday and Thursday were somewhat easier days at my main job. Easier in the sense that I was getting more used to the new work pattern, but harder in that the worksite where I spent these days was more complex than the one on Monday and Tuesday. On balance it was a plus, but it’s still fairly hectic. The two sites where I’ll be next week have a reputation for difficulty,  and the workload in the following 2-week cycle is supposed to be extra heavy.  Oh joy.

Now that the 3-week break at my regular job is over, I’m back to my usual routine of having  just Fridays off. This Friday was a typical lazy day off, which is just the way I like it. Oh, I did the usual errands, but at my own pace rather than a schedule imposed on me. It makes a big difference.

Gym: I did back work on Wednesday, it went well. T-bar rows : 4 × 8 × 125. Hammer Strength high rows: 3 × 8 × 95/95. Standing calf machine shrugs: 3 × 10 × 350. On Friday I did leg work, though not with much variety. Not being in the mood for squats or deadlifts,  I used a Life Fitness leg press, 7 × 8 ×, 310. I’ve also resumed using creatine and whey protein,  with a nifty new shaker bottle. To my surprise,  it being a cheap brand from Walmart,  Body Fortress whey protein is surprisingly good. You’d actually drink it for the flavor.  That might be because I bought the vanilla flavor, as sometimes it’s better to keep things simple.

Published in: on January 14, 2015 at 4:00 am  Leave a Comment  

Saturday, January 3 – Tuesday, January 6

A tale of two workdays

Saturday and Sunday were two starkly different days at the Major Home Improvement Retailer. It wasn’t just that I worked seven hours on Saturday and eight on Sunday. It was the physicality of the days that was so different. Saturday was a physically tough day, albeit not like my brutal shift on New Year’s Day. I put the last 25 or so unsold Christmas trees in the trash compactor,  which like before entailed literally throwing them into the chute and cleaning jams. My next task was to demolish a decaying old stockade fence that lined the metal fence on two sides of the outside garden area. Once I did that, I had to cut each 8-foot section into three pieces with a reciprocating saw, so everything would fit in the compactor. It was difficult work, but the shift went by in no time flat.

Sunday was far easier in physical terms. There was no cleanup left, and no freight to pack out. I spent almost the entire eight hours waiting on customers. I was fairly busy, as there was a steady flow of customers most of the time, but the work was just so different from the prior day that the sense of passing time was different too. The shift seemed absolutely endless, I thought quitting time was never going to come. Now, it’s not like I actually want every shift to be physically tough, but it does somehow speed up time.

Monday started my new schedule at my main job, in which I will spend two days at each worksite. I have four sites in each two week cycle. All four sites are quite close, the furthest one (where I spent these two days) being only 15 minutes away. Combined with low prices this means I’ll be spending very little on gasoline. Monday did involve a bit of an adjustment, though one due not so much to the changed work flow as to the simple fact that I hadn’t worked at that job for over three weeks. With a bit of scrambling I was able to finish up by my regular 2:30 shift end. That saved me from having to call.to get permission to stay late. Tuesday was easier, as I got more used to the work. It was also the first (barely) measurable snowfall of the season, which looked nice.

I went to the gym on Monday evening to do some bench presses, and although I wasn’t too energetic when I arrived I ended up doing well: 6 × 135, 6 × 165, 6 × 185, 4 × 205, 3 × 5 × 225, 8 × 185. Originally I had planned on doing some shoulder and triceps work but all that benching pretty much exhausted my energy reserves. Not that it really matters.

(more…)

Published in: on January 8, 2015 at 4:08 am  Leave a Comment