Not your everyday New Year’s
Tuesday was a bit of a milestone. Not only was it the next to last day of 2014, it was also my last day off prior to a lengthy stretch of six-day workweeks. My regular job will resume next week, and for the next three weekends (as far as the available schedules go) I will be working Saturdays and Sundays at the Major Home Improvement Retailer. In other words, the normal routine of having just Fridays off will return. I can’t say I really mind that much. Idleness is not one of my favorite things.
Tuesday was a low-key day, some errands run but nothing much of consequence. I had one bit of good luck, when I found out that the slow leak in my right front tire was an easily patched nail hole and that I did not have to get a new tire as I had expected. I should be able to get another ten thousand miles out of the front tires.
Wednesday, New Year’s Eve, was much busier. I worked 11:30 to 6:30 at the MHIR, and the store was a lot busier than I would have expected for that date. There was a steady flow of people looking for Christmas lights and decorations, which were now marked down 75%. The fact that they can be sold at such a huge markdown gives you an idea of just how high the normal markup is. It’s like the old joke of how razor companies sell razors at cost but sell the blades at huge markups. Except this time substitute “Christmas trees” for razors and “lights and decorations” for razor blades. After leaving work we celebrated NYE in upscale, trendy fashion … by getting takeout Chinese food and watching the ball drop on TV. Fine by me.
I can say without any hesitation that New Year’s Day was one of the physically toughest days I can remember. How I survived remains a mystery. For the first few hours of my noon to 6:30 shift at the MHIR my task was to put grates on the shelves in the outside garden area. That may not sound like much. Consider, however, that each grate weighs about 50 pounds, is awkwardly shaped, and if not held just so can squash one’s fingertips (been there done that). Putting a grate into place requires all sorts of stretching and shoving while perched on an aerial lift platform. It was a brutal task, and no sooner was I done than I was given the duty of putting the unsold Christmas trees in the trash compactor. Doing so without clogging the compactor meant that I had to throw each tree into the compactor chute like a spear. And keep in mind that an unsold Christmas tree is much heavier than any object normally meant to be thrown like a tree. Despite my efforts there were several jams, which required me to push and shove with a long aluminum pole. By the time the shift mercifully ended I could barely walk.
Somehow, I was sort of back to normal on Friday. I didn’t do much of consequence for most of the day, except for a return trip to the tire shop as the tire they patched on Tuesday was leaking again. I thought that patch had failed, but it turned out there was a second puncture, this one from a screw. It seems odd that the same tire would get two punctures, though there does tend to be some debris in the MHIR parking lot. Whatever the case, they fixed it for free. Later on I went to the gym for back work, and to my surprise it went well. T-bar rows: 4 x 8 x 120. Hammer Strength MTS high rows: 3 x 8 x 90/90. Standing calf machine shrugs: 3 x 10 x 350.