Monday, August 24 – Thursday, August 27

I survived. Somehow. 

These weren’t among the easiest days of my life, to put it very mildly. Granted, Monday wasn’t too bad. I went to a new work site for my regular job and found it pretty decent. It wasn’t far from the site where I had gone on Monday and Tuesday of last week but is a couple bad traffic lights closer to Sunrise Highway, so the drive there was about ten minutes less. Funny the time difference a couple of lights can make. Both days at that site, on Monday and Tuesday, we’re reasonably easy. Wednesday and Thursday I was at a site off the Long Island Expressway, about a 25-minute drive each way. Given the nature of this site things didn’t go quite as smoothly as at the prior one, but all in all they were okay.
What was not okay is that except on Monday I worked very long hours at the Major Home Improvement Retailer. 6pm to midnight on Tuesday and Wednesday, 4:30 to 8:30 on Thursday. All that work was pretty devastating, and even now, on Friday evening, I’m not fully.recovered. Maybe if they had been easy shifts it would have been more manageable, but they were most assuredly not easy. I had mountains of freight to pack out, and as I usually was the only employee on duty in the garden department I had to do customer service work and of course there was no one to help me with freight.

On a better note, my hours at the MHIR for the next two weeks will be more reasonable. And on Monday, the only one-job day out of the four, I had a pretty decent gym session. I did cable rows, my current back exercise, as well as shoulder presses. (more…)

Published in: on August 28, 2015 at 11:15 pm  Leave a Comment  

Thursday, August 20 – Sunday, August 23

Double reassignments 

Thursday was a decent enough end to the workweek at my main job. Even though there was some additional driving involved, I was glad that I got sent to different work sites this week. Partly due to the change of pace, and partly because thinges just ran more smoothly at both of them than at any four of my usual spots.

Thursday afternoon, right after finishing up at work, I went to the gym and did some fairly light upper body exercises. Originally I had planned to be more focused, but my energy level wasn’t quite where it should have been. Somewhat later on we went to Famous Dave’s BBQ, always one of my favorites. It actually was a toss-up between there and a Thai joint, and I mean that literally: it came down to an actual coin toss.

Friday was my day off from both jobs, and for the most part I didn’t do much. Around noon I got a text from the division manager once again reassigning me to two different sites next week. I’ve never been to the Monday-Tuesday site, though it’s not far from the first of this week’s sites. While I have been to the Wednesday-Thursday site, it was for just one day two years ago, so I remember very little about it. Nonetheless I was pleased.

Friday night I went to the gym and did some dips for the first time in months. I’d forgotten how much I liked doing them. Given the long hiatus I didn’t add any weight, and did 4 × 8 × bodyweight. I also did Hammer Strength MTS shoulder presses, 4 x 8 x 100/100, and pec deck flies, 4 x 8 at resistance level 11 of 15.

Saturday and Sunday were both, surprise of surprises, working days at the Major Home Improvement Retailer. Seven hours on Saturday, 8:45 to 4:15, and a full eight on Sunday, 9:30 to 6. Saturday was more or less typical, a combination of waiting on customers and packing out some leftover freight from the day before. Sunday was different, however, as along with a few other people I was reassigned to the hardware department to help deal with an enormous freight backlog. It hadn’t been possible to pack out any freight for over a week due to the installation of new shelving. I wasn’t bad work, I certainly got a great deal done, unfortunately due to air duct pattern two of the hardware aisles were much hotter than the rest of the store!

Published in: on August 25, 2015 at 2:58 am  Leave a Comment  

Monday, August 17 – Wednesday, August 19

Creative fibbing

Monday began my week of changed work sites at my main job. I was in one location on Monday and Tuesday and a different one on Wednesday. Each one was about a 30-minute drive, mostly on Sunrise Highway. I thought the longer drive would be a difficult adjustment, given that I usually work at much closer locations, but it wasn’t bad at all. Working 7 to 2:30 means that I miss the worst of the traffic on Sunrise Highway. Rush hour can be bad, but it has a shorter duration than on the Long Island Expressway.

I had been to the Wednesday work site some time ago, but the Monday-Tuesday one was new to me. It was decent enough as these things go, the only drawback being that it was in a dead zone for cell service. My phone’s service indicator fluctuated between one bar (out of five) and none at all. I really would like to know why Verizon Wireless cannot maintain adequate service levels in a densely populated suburban area. It’s not like I was on the remote prairies of Montana. Thankfully the Wednesday site had a full strength signal even though it was less than five miles away.

On both Monday and Tuesday evenings I worked at the Major Home Improvement Retailer. Monday’s shift was 5:30 to 10, which didn’t allow for much time between jobs but let me out at a decent hour. I alternated between waiting on customers, the store was unusually crowded for a Monday, and packing out a big freight delivery.

I figured Tuesday was going to be a more difficult shift. It was scheduled from 6 to 11:45, and given that I had more.driving to do the next morning I really did not want to stay that late. Fortunately my department head was working, which is unusual as he more commonly opens the store, and he let me leave at a more civilized 10:30. I’m grateful.

No MHIR work on Wednesday, so I went to the gym and did some machine work, nothing too much.

Published in: on August 22, 2015 at 2:01 am  Leave a Comment  

Thursday, August 13 – Sunday, August 16

More rerouting

Thursday was the end of the workweek at my main job, and it couldn’t have come soon enough. Working at the Major Home Improvement Retailer earlier in the week had really taken a toll on me. Not just physically, but mentally too. Fortunately I wasn’t scheduled to work there on Thursday evening, and the day went pretty quickly at my main job. I just didn’t have it in me to deal with a tough day.

Friday was my day off, and except for an evening trip to the gym I didn’t do too much. One thing I found out, via text from my district manager, is that I’ll be spending next week at two different work sites. Both are in western Suffolk, not too far from one another. I’ve been to one of them, a couple of years ago, while the other will be new to me. This won’t be a special project like I’ve been doing from time to time, it’ll be my regular work, just at different locations. It should be okay even though I will be doing somewhat more driving. An occasional change of pace is appreciated.

Surprise of surprises, I worked at the MHIR on both Saturday and Sunday. Saturday was a full eight hour shift, while Sunday was only four. Each day.I spent about two hours watering the plants in front of the store. Watering is generally easy work, but I was out in the burning hot sun each day and that is most definitely not easy!

Published in: on August 21, 2015 at 4:09 am  Leave a Comment  

Monday, August 10 – Wednesday, August 12

Hoist that load!

This week got off to a fairly tough start. Monday was the start of a new 2-week work cycle at my main job, and while it’s supposed to be one of the easier cycles, well theory and fact sometimes aren’t the same. Monday in particular was a very tough day. I’d attribute that partly to the day’s work site, which was somewhat disorganized, and partly to the fact that the predictions of this being an easy cycle were just plain wrong. For quite some time it looked that I wasn’t  going to be able to finish by 2:30. Not only would I then have to call the district manager for overtime authorization, never an easy process, but I’d have even less time to unwind before starting my Major Home Improvement Retailer shift at 4:30.

My worst fears proved unfounded. As time went on things got easier and I ended up leaving right at 2:30. Of course the two hour break between jobs zipped by at an absurdly fast pace and next thing I knew I was clocking in at the MHIR. My shift there wasn’t too bad, mostly freight packout, although 4:30 to 10 is a rather long haul to work after putting in seven hours at the other job.

Tuesday featured basically an inversion of the respective difficulty of the two jobs. It was a very easy day at my main job. Almost too easy, as I was completely done with my daily tasks by noon, and had to scrounge around for other stuff to occupy myself until 1:30. Although I ostensibly work until 2:30, it’s okay to leave at 1:30 (but no earlier) if everything is done.

I had a decent amount of time until my 5 to 9 MHIR shift and made a quick gym trip. Nothing too much, just some machine work. Little did I know that things would be getting a whole lot tougher. It wasn’t that way at first, as the shift started out easy enough with normal customer service. The only complication is that some people were out in other departments and customers kept asking me for assistance elsewhere, especially in plumbing as it’s right next to garden. I did the best I could, hopefully it was good enough.

It was at 7:30 when things got a whole lot less pleasant. The service desk manager asked me if I could pull an order for customer pickup. Sure, I said, figuring it couldn’t be too bad of a task. When I saw the paperwork it became obvious that my initial assumption was quite wrong. What the customer wanted was 80 stones for a retaining wall, each of which weighed 22.4 pounds. That’s 1,792 pounds. What I had to do was lift each stone off a shelf – a bottom shelf of course, so there was plenty of stoop labor – and put it on a pallet. Repeat 79 times.  And because the customer could be arriving any minute I had to work quickly. Believe me, adding the 80th stone to the pallet was quite a relief!

Wednesday was sort of an anticlimax. It was an average day at my regular job, more difficult than Tuesday (which was good) but nothing whatsoever like Monday. I wasn’t scheduled at the MHIR, believe me I was happy about that, and we went to Outback Steakhouse in the evening. First visit in at least a couple years, and it was as good as ever.

Published in: on August 17, 2015 at 1:22 am  Leave a Comment  

Thursday, August 6 – Sunday, August 9

Easy enough

It was a big relief not to be scheduled at the Major Home Improvement Retailer on Thursday. Had I been there it would have been six days in a row. Five is more than enough, thank you very much. Thursday almost seemed like a day off even though I worked at my main job. That’s probably because I was back to my regular rotation after the end of the two-day special project, and it also happened to be the last day of the work cycle. I was done over a hour before the usual quitting time. Friday was of course a day off, and I didn’t do much during the day. In the evening went to a very good Italian restaurant that’s in the same plaza as the MHIR. No, there were no too-close-for-comfort considerations to detract from an excellent meal.

It was back to the MHIR on Saturday and Sunday. Both were something short of full 8-hour shifts. Saturday I worked 9:30 to 4, Sunday an unusual 3:30 to 9. Both were what I can best describe as Usual Stuff shifts, nothing unusual or memorable about either one. Moderately busy but not hectic. I have no complaints.

I went to the gym on Saturday evening and concentrated on back work. As I like to vary the specific exercises I do, I did seven sets of eight reps on the cable station, low-pulley rows to be specific. When it comes to rows, I don’t really think that the actual type  (barbell, dumbbell, T-bar, cable) really matters too much.

On Sunday, I went before work and did some bench presses for the first time in a while. It didn’t seem to matter that I hadn’t benched for a while as my results were pretty good: 6 × 135, 6 × 165, 6 × 185, 4 × 205, 6 × 225, 3 × 4 × 225, 8 × 185.  I finished the session  with some machine flies.

Published in: on August 13, 2015 at 3:48 am  Leave a Comment  

Monday, August 3 – Wednesday, August 5

An exercise in frustration 

These three days were not among my better ones. They were a combination of too much work and frustrating work.

Monday was actually the best of the three. At least if I don’t count the 5:15 am text from the district manager at my regular job, informing me that I’d be on a special assignment Tuesday and Wednesday. My alarm had been set for 6:20, and being rousted an hour and five minutes earlier was not my cup of tea, metaphorically speaking. Fortunately the workday at the regular job was pretty easy. I was at a nearby location that never seems to present many headaches.

Monday evening I worked 4:30 to 10 at the Major Home Improvement Retailer. That’s a long shift when I’ve already worked at my main job. Because the inventory was the following day I spent just about my entire shift on “shelf maintenance” in the cleaning-products aisle. Basically, that meant lining up each product behind the correct price tag, so the people from the inventory company could count properly. It sounds easy but it’s not, especially since the shelves are very deep and retrieving mis-shelved items often requires use of a grabber tool. I was pretty much drained by the time my shift was done.

Tuesday’s and Wednesday’s special assignment for my main job was at a location in western Suffolk not far from the Northern State Parkway. Getting there took about a half hour, although because I had a 6:30 start time rather than my usual 7 I had to set my alarm at a too-early 5:30. Not that it mattered on Tuesday, as a ferocious thunderstorm got me up at 5. It caused extensive power losses in some communities.

As for the special assignment, well, it was rather disorganized and frustrating. Nothing at all like the two similar assignments I’ve done at different locations, both of which went like clockwork. Not that I have any real reason to complain, as I got paid for my services and will not be held accountable in any way for the disorganization.  But still …

I worked both Tuesday and Wednesday at the MHIR,  making five days in a row. Tuesday was 5 to 10, and in addition to the normal waiting on customers I also worked on freight. With the inventory having been completed shortly before my shift began, freight packout could resume. Wednesday was mainly a repeat of Tuesday but shorter, as I only worked 6 to 10.

Absent from this narrative is any mention of the gym or hot yoga. That of course is because I didn’t go. When I have to work both jobs in one day I find myself lacking the energy for exercise, even though there’s usually enough of a gap between the jobs to allow for a short gym visit. The good news is that my schedule for the next two weeks will be less hectic. Here’s hoping my energy levels are less sloth-like.

Published in: on August 8, 2015 at 3:21 am  Leave a Comment  

Saturday, August 1 – Sunday, August 2

“Working at the Major Home Improvement Retailer” is a succinct way of describing this weekend. Granted, that’s not all I did, among other things we went to Bobby’s Burger Palace on Saturday evening, but working eight hours on Saturday and six on Sunday does tend to dominate ones experiences. Saturday’s shift was 8:30 to 5 and was mainly the normal customer service stuff. Sunday I worked 3 to 9, and concentrated on inventory preparation. For the last hour I got the decidedly unwelcome task of throwing trash into the compactor. It’s a hard, dirty task, especially since much of the trash consists not of trash bags but of debris: warped lumber, damaged drywall, broken cement blocks, you name it. People take turns on trash duty, so at least I’ve done my share for a while.

Published in: on August 7, 2015 at 2:36 am  Leave a Comment  

Thursday, July 30 – Friday, July 31

Rarely has a day off been so appreciated 

Thursday was sort of a good-bad day in occupational terms. The good part is that I had a reasonably easy day at my main job, returning to my regular duties following the completion of the special assignment. No more having to drive in Nassau either. The not-so-good part is that I had yet another shift at the Major Home Improvement Retailer, from 5:30 to 11, and it was particularly exhausting. With the upcoming inventory there’s a big push to clear freight from the receiving area. I spent most of the shift dealing with a seeming mountain of freight, and for the first few hours was dealing with a constant flow of customers because I was the only employee on duty in the garden department.

Friday was a very much appreciated day off. I  hiked for a while on the Setauket – Port Jefferson trail and later on went to the gym for a while. Mostly, though, I tried to keep all thoughts of work out of my head. Not that I had much success.

Published in: on August 7, 2015 at 2:22 am  Leave a Comment  

Monday, July 27 – Wednesday, July 29

I played hooky. 

Monday was the easiest day of the four. I started a new 2-week work cycle at my main job, and it is much easier than the last one. No comparison at all. I was able to take my allotted 15-minute break and half-hour lunch without worrying at all that I’d be able to finish in time. In fact I was done about 90 minutes early, though I had to occupy myself for a while until I could leave. In the evening I had another machine session at the gym, though this time a bit longer than I’ve been doing.

Tuesday and Wednesday were something different. I spent both days working on a special project in Nassau County. It wasn’t too bad getting there and back, via the Long Island Expressway, the Northern State Parkway, and  (briefly) the Meadowbrook Parkway. The fact that I had to be at the worksite at 6:30 rather than my usual 7 meant that I had to leave very early, but also meant that I beat the worst of the traffic. I left around 1:30 each day, which also meant that traffic wasn’t too bad. Each trip took a bit over an hour, for which I’ll be paid. The work itself wasn’t bad, a nice change of pace.

On Tuesday, I worked from 6 to 10 at the Major Home Improvement Retailer. It wasn’t bad, even with the extra driving that I had done. Mostly customer service stuff, with a bit of freight packout. Actually, I did next to nothing for the first 40 minutes. Right as I clocked in the department head asked me to get bolt cutters and cut off the padlock on one of the propane cages on the side of the building, as it had become jammed. He said that he would get another lock and meet me at the cage.

I got the biggest set of bolt cutters from the tool room and cut off the offending lock. It took more than a little elbow grease but the powerful cutters won out. I then waited for the DH to come out with the new lock. And waited. And waited. I couldn’t leave the propane cage unlocked and there was no one else around. I couldn’t call the store because I was charging my phone in the break room. Fortunately, although it was hot out, the cage area was in shadow so I wasn’t baking in the sun. It was a great relief when the DH finally came. He had been involved with helping a customer and hadn’t realized that I had already gone out to the cage.

Wednesday presented quite a different story at the MHIR. I  was supposed to work from 4:30 to midnight after putting in seven hours at the special project in Nassau and after driving a total of about two and a half hours. Counting driving time I’d be going from 5:15 in the morning until midnight with at most two hours off. Not going to happen. Reluctantly, as I rarely do such things, I called in sick to the MHIR. You have to do what you have to do. Although I had Wednesday evening more or less free I didn’t go to the gym. Too weary. We did make a shopping excursion to Whole Foods, though to my disappointment there wasn’t much in the line of free samples.

Published in: on August 1, 2015 at 1:38 am  Leave a Comment