Monday, February 23 – Wednesday, February 25

Was all that worrying unnecessary? 

Week Two of the hideous horrible cycle at my regular job … and it wasn’t particularly bad. Definitely an improvement over the first week. Each day I was able to take my normal break and lunch and still was able to finish up on time without any last-minute rushing. In part I’d attribute this happy state of affairs to the learning curve, I’ve gotten more used to the required tasks, and in part to the main office’s modification of some of the required tasks. A couple of things I had to do last week I no longer have to do. Yay.

Tuesday I worked a 6 to 10 shift at the Major Home Improvement Retailer.  It wasn’t bad, some freight packout but nothing too much, though for some reason I had to deal with a couple of particularly annoying customers. One of them got quite irate when he couldn’t find a particular brand of septic  tank treatment. I looked it up for him and found that it isn’t even made anymore, so I suggested a couple alternatives.  Which made him even more angry. Sometimes you just can’t win.

Published in: on February 27, 2015 at 5:21 am  Leave a Comment  

Thursday, February 19 – Sunday, February 22

Made it through the wringer

After the exhausting start to the week, Thursday was actually a fairly easy day at my main job. I was able to take my normal breaks and still finish by the usual quitting time. In part it was because the volume of work was a bit less overwhelming and in part it was because I was adapting to the workflow. One more week and I will be back to a more typical volume. It looks as if the volume of work in the next cycle, while fairly heavy, is nothing like the monstrous present cycle. I sure hope so!

One nice thing is that I actually had two days off in a row, both Friday and Saturday. Those evening shifts at the Major Home Improvement Retailer earlier in the week may have been brutal at the time, but they meant that even with Saturday off I still got my usual 16 hours for the week. While I didn’t do too much on Friday, I had a decent gym session in the late afternoon, getting back to my old favorites.  Neutral grip pull-ups: 3 × 4, 6 × 3. Not bad, a total of 30.  Dips: 3 × 8 × bodyweight.  Life Fitness shoulder presses : 3 × 8 × 100/100.

Saturday was mostly a leisurely day … until 4:30 pm. Boy, did it ever change then. My stepdaughter and I went to hot yoga, though not at the usual studio. We unrolled our mats and sat silently for a while, the usual way of getting accustomed to the 100 degree heat. The studio was filling up, apparently this is a popular center. The instructor entered, welcomed everyone, introduced herself,  and then to our GREAT surprise announced that this was a Vinyasa session, namely a very fast paced session aimed at expert practitioners. Needless to say I have never participated in Vinyasa before.  Somehow, I made it through more or less in one piece, though it was very, very brutal. At least I did it, painful as it was, and that’s what counts.

Sunday was a 1:30 to 8 shift at the MHIR. It wasn’t too bad, mostly waiting on customers. Given what I’d been through at yoga I was very thankful there was hardly any heavy lifting involved!

Published in: on February 25, 2015 at 4:28 am  Leave a Comment  

Saturday, February 14 – Wednesday, February 18

Either I survived,  or I didn’t survive and this is the afterlife

Believe me when I say these were five brutal days. Between my main job and the Major Home Improvement Retailer I worked about 50 hours in this span. It wasn’t just the hours,  but the nonstop intensity of the work at my main job. I knew that this 2-week cycle would be very very difficult, and suffice to say I wasn’t disappointed.  Normally, I work seven hours a day, from 7am to 2:30pm, with a half hour for lunch. These three days I worked until 3, or shortly thereafter, and didn’t dare take more than a ten-minute break. And then on Monday and Tuesday I had to be in the MHIR by 4:30.

As for the MHIR, my shifts were about as varied as could be. Saturday and Sunday were both 8-hour shifts, and I spent much of the time hauling stuff around as part of a spring merchandise reset. Saturday’s highlight (lowlight?) came when a man berated a cashier and I for the store’s alleged racism. He did not like the fact that (as with all MHIR stores) there is a poster by the entrance with pictures of the Spanish-speaking employees.  Some stores have other languages too. I tried to explain that it wasn’t any kind of political statement,  but just a way of serving customers and that the motivation was entirely commercial.  It was like talking to a wall.

Monday I worked from 4:30 to 8:30. As there was snow forecast, every shopping cart (and there are several types) had to be brought inside the store.  Normally the lot associate would handle that function, but he was absent. You know the rest of the story. Another lowlight happened when I was by the main checkouts around an hour before the end of my shift.  A customer approached with a cart full of expensive power tools … and took off running. By the time anyone realized what was happening he was out the door and running across the parking lot. He took off in a pickup truck,  apparently a confederate helped him toss the cart in the back, because they were out of there in seconds. It was obviously a rehearsed plan. A customer who heard the commotion tried to see the license plate,  but there was something taped over it.

Tuesday was a longer MHIR shift, 4:30 to 10, and I spent most of the time packing out freight. One thing I did not do was carry things up the rolling ladder to the overhead storage, as by that point I was so exhausted that I didn’t trust my balance on a ladder. Better safe than sorry.

Published in: on February 20, 2015 at 12:48 am  Leave a Comment  

Wednesday, February 11 – Friday, February 13

A lucky (or at least satisfying) Friday the 13th

Wednesday and Thursday were the last easy days at my regular job before the very tough two week cycle begins. Not that they were easy, in fact I worked almost without any breaks for each shift, but it’s all a matter of comparison.

While I did other stuff on Wednesday, on Thursday evening I went to the gym and finally did some upper-body work now that my shoulder is better. As I still wasn’t quite up to doing dips or pull-ups I did less demanding stuff. T-bar rows : 6 × 8 × 100. Hammer Strength shoulder presses: 4 × 8 × 90/90. Given my work schedule, with quite a few shifts at the Major Home Improvement Retailer,  I won’t get to go much until the middle of next week.

Friday was my day off, and as usual I didn’t do too much for most of the day. I went to the 6pm hot yoga session, and if Friday the 13th is supposed to be unlucky it sure wasn’t for me. I really liked the instructor,  whom I’ve never had before, and the session went very well. My flexibility was better than it’s ever been, based on how far I was able to stretch in some of the positions.  As a nice touch, the instructor ended the session with some meditation.

Published in: on February 16, 2015 at 2:43 am  Leave a Comment  

Monday, February 9 – Tuesday, February 10

At least THIS week is routine

Two relatively easy days at my regular job, in other words a pleasant state of affairs that’s definitely not going to last. Yet more information came in about the next two-week work cycle,  and the situation keeps sounding worse and worse. No longer am I uncertain as to whether I’ll be able to complete each day’s assignments. Now I *know* that I won’t be able to finish them.

Obviously this situation cannot come to pass. My district manager will have to come up with some solution. I just wish I’d hear from her soon. But I know it will be a last minute solution.  It’s just the way things go.

My left shoulder is still bothering me a bit, nothing too bad but still noticeable.  When I went to the gym on Tuesday evening (other things had intervened on Monday) I was debating whether to risk some upper body “pull” work such as deadlifts or pull-ups.  “Push” exercises such as bench presses seemed out of the question. At the last minute I decided to be cautious and stick with leg work. I used the Life Fitness leg press, 7 × 8 × 390. If I had a desk job I probably would have taken the risk of using my shoulder, but given the physically demanding nature of both my jobs I really can’t take that risk.

Published in: on February 12, 2015 at 3:35 am  Leave a Comment  

Saturday, February 7 – Sunday, February 8

Another weekend spent working at the Major Home Improvement Retailer,  though not as much work as usual. On Saturday I worked only four hours, noon to 4, though Sunday was a full shift,  11:30 to 8. One thing about the MHIR is that the seasons are accelerated well beyond what the calendar would indicate.  Fall displays going up in July,  Christmas stuff arriving in early October,  and now spring/summer displays going up when it’s still cold and snowy. I’m well aware of this because I spent most of both shifts moving out current seasonal displays (mostly storage and cleaning products) to make way for patio sets and grills. I know, there are solid reasons for starting early, but it seemed weird when there was a constant flow of customers looking for rock salt.  “Sorry, we’re sold out … would you like a hammock instead? “

Published in: on February 12, 2015 at 2:49 am  Leave a Comment  

Wednesday, February 4 – Friday, February 6

Better yoga than expected

Wednesday and Thursday were decent enough days at my main job. I spent them at what’s usually one of the more challenging work sites, but things seemed to go well enough. Granted, I really had to hustle to finish up on time Wednesday, but that’s not all that unusual, and Thursday was pretty easy. However, I found out more about the cycle starting the week after next, and it’s going to be horrendous.  I simply don’t know how I’ll be able to complete anywhere near the required amount of work in the allotted time. The volume of work is simply too high. About the only good thing is that my district manager is aware of the situation and should be able to come up with some solution. At least I hope so.

I didn’t go to the gym on Wednesday as my left shoulder was quite painful and I wanted to give it a rest. In any event, I had other stuff to do. On Thursday I went to hot yoga for the first time in a while. Despite some early concerns I did quite well. My balance was pretty good, my flexibility at least okay, and my endurance way better than I would have expected.  It helped that the instructor is one of the ones I like, she pushes you hard but not in a domineering way.

Friday was my day off, and I really didn’t do much at all.  Later on I went to the gym, but since my shoulder was quite painful – yoga might have made it worse – I did just leg presses, nothing involving the upper body at all. A bit of a setback, as I really had wanted to do more deadlifting.  But it wasn’t worth the risk. As for the leg presses, I did 6 × 8 × 370 on the Life Fitness machine.

Published in: on February 9, 2015 at 3:28 am  Leave a Comment  

Monday, February 2 – Tuesday, February 3

Well that’s going to complicate things

Monday was Groundhog Day, my favorite holiday, and it’s a safe bet that the eponymous rodent didn’t see his shadow in these parts.  A few inches of snow had fallen overnight and was in the process of turning to rain as I left for work at 6:30. It rained heavily during the rest of the morning but was turning back to snow as I was leaving work a bit after 2:30. Although the roads were icy by then I had no particular trouble getting back, though I had to drive slower than usual.

Work on both days was fairly easy.  As I had expected,  this 2-week work cycle isn’t a particularly difficult one, though it looks as if the next one will be much, much harder.

As for my work at the Major Home Improvement Retailer, while I wasn’t on the schedule either day I stopped by on Tuesday afternoon to speak with the training supervisor. I had noticed that despite having completed two-thirds of the 90-minute online training for the forklift, the training site was showing zero completion. I was not pleased to find out that the entire session has to be completed at once, apparently that’s the rule for safety-oriented training. I sure wish the site had given me an advance warning!  While I may be able to do just the chapter quizzes for the sections I’ve completed so far, no need to re-do the learning,  exactly how I’m going to find 90 minutes is another matter. I’ll have to speak with the department head and see what can be done.

Gym: I had a nice session of neutral grip pull-ups on Monday. I got a total of 32, one more than last time, distributed as follows: 5 × 4, 4 × 3.

Published in: on February 5, 2015 at 3:42 am  Leave a Comment  

Saturday, January 31 – Sunday, February 1

Saturday was one of my stranger shifts at the Major Home Improvement Retailer. It was a long shift, noon to 8:30, but the best phrase to describe it would be “nothing to do.”  During this time of the year there generally are three employees on duty in the garden department at any given time. After 6 pm or so, it may be only two. There’s just not a lot going on in the department during the first three months of the year.

Due to what I presume was a scheduling glitch, a belief shared by others, during most of my Saturday shift there were six people on duty. That meant, well, that no one had much to do. Shelves can be tidied only so much. Around 4 some freight turned up in the receiving area, but with so many people looking for things to do, within an hour all of it had been packed out. All I can say is that working a full shift with little to do is just plain boring and even exhausting.

Sunday was better. I worked a shorter shift, 3:30 to 8, and with only one other worker in the department for most of the time I was actually quite busy. With more snow forecast for the evening there was a steady stream of people buying rock salt. And looking to buy snow shovels, with “looking” being the operative word as they were still sold out.

Gym: what with my late shift start on Sunday I went to the gym beforehand for a quick bench press session, not a full one. I did 6 × 135,  6 × 165, 6 × 185, 6 × 205, 6 × 225. Getting 6 at 225 felt good.

Published in: on February 5, 2015 at 3:02 am  Leave a Comment  

Wednesday, January 28 – Friday, January 30

Return to normalcy, mostly

Wednesday and Thursday were normal workdays after the big storm. While.the roads were pretty much clear, driving was still a bit difficult because the roads are often much narrower than usual. Parking lots are smaller too, what with the big snow piles. Fortunately that wasn’t an issue at the worksite where I spent Wednesday and Thursday. There’s a big lot, with ample parking even with the snow piles, and in any event when I arrive at 7 it’s never too crowded.  Train station parking lots, well those are another matter entirely.

Work itself was busy but manageable. One thing I was not pleased to hear is that I’m probably not going to be able to make up for the lost workday on Tuesday. I had thought I’d be able to do so on Friday, but that won’t happen. I’m scarcely pleased about losing a day’s pay, and what’s also annoying is that I didn’t get a full explanation why a make up day won’t happen. It does, however, appear to be something beyond my employer’s control, which I suppose is a good thing. As for Friday,  it was a mainly uneventful day,  which of course is just the way I wanted it to be.

Gym: I went in the early evening on Wednesday for another dip-and-pullup session. Going in I didn’t think I’d do well but things turned out better. For the dips, I did 5 × 8 × bodyweight,  while on the neutral grip pull-ups I did a total of 31, one more than last time, as follows: 4 × 4, 3 × 3, 3 × 2.

On Friday, in the mid-afternoon,  I did deadlifts,  5 × 5 × 225. Next came Life Fitness leg presses,  4 × 8 × 370.

Published in: on February 2, 2015 at 10:33 pm  Leave a Comment