Tuesday, May 26 – Friday, May 29

Return to the routine

It actually wasn’t bad to get back to my regular job on Tuesday after a week off. Something about getting back into the usual routine, that sort of thing. One thing that won’t be so nice is that by working on Friday, to make up for the Monday holiday, I will end up going two weeks without a day off from both jobs.

The last work cycle, prior to the week off, had been much easier than usual.  This one marks a return to a more normal workload, not overly heavy but not a breeze like the last one. I can’t say that it’s an entirely bad development. While I have some flexibility as to when I can leave for the day, there are limits. When I finish up my day’s tasks too early, as had been the case some times during the last cycle, it could be difficult finding stuff to do for the hour or so before I could skedaddle. So far this cycle is sufficiently busy that I can avoid the issue.

Tuesday was the only day I worked at the Major Home Improvement Retailer during these days. Originally I had been scheduled for Wednesday too but I had gotten that removed because otherwise I would have had an impossibly high number of hours between both jobs. Tuesday’s shift was very long, 4:30 to midnight,  which meant that I worked from 7 am to midnight with only a couple hours off. It actually wasn’t as bad as I would have expected.  Only for the last hour or so was I really dragging.  This was both physical and mental, at one point I was utterly befuddled by a simple task of connecting a couple of hoses. Still, the endless day went better than I expected, though the two days as originally planned would have been too much.

As I had noted, I am down to 12 hours at the MHIR for the week of June 1. It turns out that the week of June 8 will be the same. It’s nothing personal, as other people in the garden department are getting their hours reduced too. Usually, hours get cut in July, when there’s a normal seasonal slowdown for a couple of months. This year, the reduction is starting a month early. No one can figure out why. It’s certainly not because of slow sales, in fact sales are well above expectations both for the department and for the store as a whole. Whatever the case, the reduction in pay won’t be nice but won’t be a deal breaker. I’m still well in excess of what’s supposed to be my average of 16 hours a week, especially since hours should pick up again in September as is the normal practice. And most of all, regularly working 24 or 28 hours a week on top of my other job was not sustainable. I can only do so much.

Published in: on May 31, 2015 at 2:11 pm  Leave a Comment  

Saturday, May 23 – Monday, May 25

Ah, the Memorial Day weekend. Few other time periods say “leisure” as much as these three days. It’s a time to kick back and do as little as you want. A barbecue?  Sure, that’s a fun way to pass some time. Or maybe you can make the first beach visit of the season. Watch a parade. Just hang out. The overriding theme is that Memorial Day weekend is a time when you CAN enjoy yourself without HAVING to do anything you don’t want to do.

Unless, that is, you work at the Major Home Improvement Retailer. Not only is the store open for business at its regular hours, but the long weekend is also one of the very busiest times of the year (I guess we can add “shopping” to the list of favorite activities). It goes without saying that I worked all three days, 8-hour shifts on Saturday and Sunday, and a 7-hour on Monday. Except for later in the day on Monday I was running around almost nonstop dealing with customers. Usually, being very busy makes a shift go by quickly.  That was not the case for these days, possibly due to some sort of law of diminishing returns. It was like the shifts would never end.

In any event, starting in June I won’t be working quite so many hours as the peak is over. I’m scheduled for 12 hours each of the first two weeks of the month. That’s about half of what I’ve been averaging.  While that means less money, it’s not a deal breaker and I’m still well above the average of 16 hours a week for the year as a whole. And hey, the prior pace wasn’t really sustainable.

Published in: on May 29, 2015 at 1:20 am  Leave a Comment  

Wednesday, May 20 – Friday, May 22

What to do with myself? 

It’s not too often that I have the luxury of three days off in a row. But that’s exactly what these days were. A week off from my regular job, and not scheduled at the Major Home Improvement Retailer. I’d like to say that I made productive use of my time,  but that would be a bit of an exaggeration. I made a couple gym trips,.mostly back and leg work, had a reasonably good yoga session, and otherwise didn’t do much. Which was fine by me. Next week, back to the rat race.

Published in: on May 26, 2015 at 12:51 am  Leave a Comment  

Monday, May 18 – Tuesday, May 19

Half work

So began my week off from my regular job. Not getting paid for a week is quite a drag, but in my more lucid moments I must admit that I needed some time off. Working so many hours was starting to take a toll on me.

It wasn’t as if I had nothing to do, of course. On Monday I worked at the Major Home Improvement Retailer from 8 to midnight while on Tuesday it was an almost full shift from 4:30 to midnight. Monday’s shift wasn’t too bad. Most of the freight packout for the next day’s Big Boss Visit had been completed. For most of my shift I worked in one of the aisles, straightening things up and bringing products from the overhead storage to fill as many shelf gaps as possible. It entailed quite a bit of scrambling up and down ladders but was okay. This idea, of having employees concentrate on specific aisles, has been around for a while but really began in earnest on the weekend. I’m not yet sure if it’s going to be a permanent change or what I think about it.

On Tuesday, my tooth was almost back to normal, so I tiptoed back to the gym before work. All I did was some very light machine work on my upper body. I didn’t keep track of what I was doing,  the point was just doing something.

As for the MHIR shift, it was definitely no walk in the park. The garden department was understaffed due to people calling out, and at times I was the only employee on duty. I found myself trying to do several things at the same time.  I’d be putting returns back on the shelves, running outside to fill propane orders, answering price-check calls from the registers, trying to retrieve will-call orders, make a list of outdoor items to be restocked, and of course waiting on customers. All pretty much at the same time.  It was a relief when things finally quieted down.

Published in: on May 22, 2015 at 4:51 am  Leave a Comment  

Friday, May 15 – Sunday, May 17

Friday was a recovery day from my tooth abscess. For the most part I was in a halfway state, not quite normal but not all that bad. Thankfully the pain was gone, though the swelling was quite significant. It was annoying, and looked weird, but I can’t complain too much as it was orders of magnitude preferable to the pain I had endured. I didn’t do too much, and certainly wasn’t in any shape for the gym.

Any enforced idleness ended on the weekend as I worked 8-hour shifts both Saturday and Sunday at the Major Home Improvement Retailer. They were very busy shifts, what with a steady customer flow both days. As busy as we were it was necessary to do freight packout as well, as word came that a big boss was scheduled to do a store inspection tour on Tuesday. This mean, among much else, that the extremely crowded receiving area had to be cleared out as much as possible. It got done, somehow. And I was pleased to see that my energy levels were almost back to normal.

Published in: on May 22, 2015 at 4:28 am  Leave a Comment  

Monday, May 11 – Thursday, May 14

Four days I’d mostly like to erase from memory

Okay, Monday wasn’t too bad of a day. But things got much worse thereafter. Working so late on Sunday made for a bad night, so I was quite sleep-deprived on Monday. Fortunately I had a very easy day at my regular job and wasn’t scheduled at the Major Home Improvement Retailer. My tooth pain was so minor as to be barely there. I went to hot yoga in the evening, and it went mostly well even though it was a full 90-minute session rather than a 75-minute “express” session like I usually do. My balance seemed a bit off, which I attribute to events that soon were to become apparent.

Tuesday was much worse than Monday. My regular job wasn’t too bad, but my 8 to midnight. MHIR shift was insanely busy, with a never ending flow of freight. The receiving area had become completely jammed with freight because a recently completed floor refinishing project had limited freight packout. Now it all had to be done. Oh, my tooth began hurting more and more. I was planning to see the dentist on Friday, my day off, but now I was wondering if I’d be able to hold out that long. I was getting a throbbed sensation when I bent down or lifted anything heavy, which I know to be a sign of an abcess.  Oh, joy. When I left at midnight I stopped at a 24-hour Walgreens to get Anbesol toothache gel. Note: it’s pretty much useless on abcesses.

Despite even more sleep deprivation Wednesday started out okay. My tooth felt somewhat less painful and I had a super easy day at my main job. Call it the calm before the storm. Not long after starting by 8 to midnight MHIR shift the pain became agonizingly. It was like the whole side of my head was about to explode. I had aspirin with me, and actually took four (!) of them, but they had minimal effect. I was up literally all night in pain. By the time 3am rolled around I knew I’d never be able to go to my regular job. That is an unfortunate thing, as I have all of next week off and losing another day’s pay would only make things worse. At 5:30 I texted my district manager, and she sounded quite sympathetic.  One good thing. Oddly enough, by that time the pain was lessening, though my jaw was starting to swell. A lot.

I saw the dentist at 11:15, who confirmed that it was indeed an abcess.  He gave me a prescription for a week’s worth of antibiotics. At some point I’ll have to return to have the tooth pulled. By the e evening I felt semi-decent though still very tired from the sleepless night. Thankfully I wasn’t scheduled at the MHIR.  I got a terrible headache around 9, dunno if it was related to.the tooth abcess,, but thankfully it faded after a couple hours.

Published in: on May 16, 2015 at 2:19 am  Leave a Comment  

Saturday, May 9 – Sunday, May 10

It was a long weekend at the Major Home Improvement Retailer. Too long. On Saturday I worked from noon to 8:30 and it was extremely busy. What with it being the day before Mother’s Day the garden department was absolutely jammed with people buying plants. In fact, the department’s sales for the day were more than what the entire store does on a typical weekday. And it wasn’t just plants. People were buying large amounts of mulch and fertilizer and other garden stuff. All stuff that had.to be hoisted and carried and loaded into vehicles. Normally I wouldn’t mind, but a tooth that had been bothering me for a few days was getting worse. I figured I’d go out on my lunch break and buy some aspirin, but by the time the break came the pain was gone and I didn’t go. BIG mistake.

I wasn’t back.from lunch for more than an hour when the tooth began to hurt again. A lot. I checked out both of the first aid kits and neither one had aspirin or any other painkillers (or much of anything, for that matter. They really need to be restocked.) Thankfully, another employee saw me looking in the second box and asked if I needed anything. He had aspirin in his locker. I really owe him one.

My tooth felt better on Sunday, so before going to the MHIR for my 3:30 to midnight shift I went to the gym. I did T-bar rows, 5 × 8 × 115, followed by Life Fitness leg presses, 4 × 8 × 370. The MHIR was busy, though not quite as wild as the day before. Working until midnight on a Sunday was a new experience for me, and not one I particularly liked. Can’t really say why, but that’s how it was.

Published in: on May 16, 2015 at 1:32 am  Leave a Comment  

Thursday, May 7 – Friday, May 8

Deadlifting, the return

Thursday was a fairly low-key end to the work week at my main job. When I arrived at the site I was presented with what initially looked like an overwhelming amount of work, but my fears were entirely misplaced. Far from being overwhelming, the work actually went by quickly and I was done almost an hour before my usual quitting time. The evening’s 8 to midnight shift at the Major Home Improvement Retailer was also blessedly free of drama. I had to deal with some returns, but nothing like the mountain that had greeted me on Monday. I spent most of the shift doing ordinary freight packout and before I knew it the shift was over.

Friday was a nice enough day off. While some errands were unavoidable I tried not to do too much. In the early evening, however, I went to the gym and did something I haven’t done in too long: adlifts.  Yes, deadlifts. It was strictly a.spur of moment sort of decision. I figured that in addition to being an excellent exercise in general, they would help with all the lifting and hoisting I do at the MHIR. I figured it would be best to start slowly and just did 2 × 6 × 225. I also used the Life Fitness leg press, 5 × 8 × 350.

Published in: on May 12, 2015 at 2:50 am  Leave a Comment  

Monday, May 4 – Wednesday, May 6

Yet another yoga surprise

These were three fairly easy days at my main job. While Monday was the start of a new work cycle, which sometimes presents a bit of a learning curve issue, this is an easier cycle than usual and I finished up about an hour before my usual quitting time each day. Even better, I never had the sense of being under any sort of pressure. It was nice, but of course not all cycles will be this easy. The next one in particular looks like it will be tough, though I’ve had worse and in any event it might change.

Monday’s 8 to midnight shift at the Major Home Improvement Retailer got off to a bad start. I walked in to find a huge pile of returned items that had to be reshelved.  The people who had worked in garden earlier in the day should have been dealing with the returns, but obviously that didn’t happen.  It took me two hours to finish with the returns, which meant that I couldn’t do as much freight packout as I had hoped to do. Returns take priority,  however, and I did what I had to.do. There was no MHIR work on Tuesday, and we went out to dinner. Not Mexican, even though (because?) it was Cinco de Mayo, but Indian. Very good as always.

Wednesday was another day off from the MHIR and I went to the 6:30 hot yoga session. Last week I had gone by mistake to a “gentle yoga ” session instead of the usual Bikram session (and had found it not quite so gentle). This time, I found out right before the session began that it was a fast-paced advanced “Vinyasa” session. It was the same mistake I had made the first time I went to this center over two months ago. Unlike last time, when I barely stumbled through the session, this time I did reasonably well. Not perfect, but not terrible. In fact, after the session the instructor,  who is also the owner, told me that I had done well. It was nice.

Published in: on May 7, 2015 at 11:03 pm  Leave a Comment  

Saturday, May 2 – Sunday, May 3

I was a bad boy at the Major Home Improvement Retailer.  Well, sort of. I was scheduled for two 8-hour shifts on the weekend, which would make 28 hours for the week … and an excruciating 56 hours between both of my jobs. I knew that just wasn’t going to happen. Everyone has limits, and I was looking squarely at going over mine.

So I hatched a diabolical plot. When I went in at 10 on Saturday morning I let it be known that I was feeling lousy and might not be able to make it through my shift. To add to the versimilitude I walked around in a slow mopey manner. After a few hours – a few very busy hours, as the store was mobbed – I told the department head that I was in no shape to stay any longer, and made.my exit. Hey, consider it preventative medicine.

On Sunday I was much more refreshed and revived. Just as well, as most of my 11:30 to 9 shift was really hectic. Once again the store was mobbed, and two people scheduled to work in garden had called in (was I some bad inspiration?) If I had worked the full eight hours on Saturday it would have been an excruciating hard shift.  Thankfully, I was all set to go and had no trouble getting through the day.

Published in: on May 7, 2015 at 10:34 pm  Leave a Comment