Monday, September 21 – Wednesday, September 23

Three in a row = too much

All three of these days were double days for me. After working at my regular job during the day, it was off to the Major Home Improvement Retailer for job #2. Doing both jobs for three days in a row is not easy. Thankfully, I only had 4-hour shifts at the MHIR,  4:30 to 8:30 on Monday and Wednesday, 8 to midnight on Tuesday. Throwing even one 6-hour shift into the mix would have been brutal.

Monday was the toughest day because I started a new cycle at my main job and found it a major struggle. Despite taking only a single 10-minute break during the day I didn’t finish up until 3pm, which is a half-hour after my normal quitting time. Fortunately it is very unlikely that the same time squeeze will happen again during the cycle. As the work site was about 30 minutes away from the MHIR I had only an hour between jobs. Lady Luck had not completely abandoned me, however, as the MHIR shift was an easier one than usual.

Tuesday and Wednesday were much calmer days at my main job. I got my full allotted break each day and still had no trouble finishing up on time. Tuesday was (hopefully) the last time I will be staying until midnight at the MHIR, as I’ve changed my availability so I won’t have to stay past 11. Not that it would matter from October until March, when the store closes at 9 and no one works past 11. Staying to midnight this one last time wasn’t bad, as I spent much of my shift assembling Halloween displays, fairly easy work. And the several hours off between the jobs was a nice break.

By Wednesday I was a bit run down from all the work I had done. Luckily enough the day’s work site was the closest one of the four on my rotation, and the day.itself was busy but well within the limits of tolerability. The MHIR shift was hectic at times but not too bad, and in the best news of all I won’t be doing all these shifts in a row during the next two weeks.

Published in: on September 26, 2015 at 1:33 pm  Leave a Comment  

Friday, September 18 – Sunday, September 20

One thing about my work schedule is that “weekend” is a largely meaningless concept. While I have Fridays off from both jobs, Saturdays and Sundays are ordinary workdays at the Major Home Improvement Retailer. Still, “largely” meaningless is not quite the same as “completely” meanigless. I don’t work my regular job either day, and at the MHIR the pace of work is rather different than on a weekday evening. There’s no freight to pack out and usually no special cleaning or moving projects. Mostly it’s just dealing with customers.

These three days.pretty much fit the pattern. I didn’t do too much on Friday, just savored the day off, and my weekend shifts (1 to 8:30 and 2 to 8) were quite busy with customers. At 8 on Sunday was the semiannual store meeting, which lasted until about 9:45. It wasn’t too bad staying the extra time as there was food and games, and I got my second “meritorious service” award. And yes, everyone got paid for their time.

Published in: on September 26, 2015 at 1:07 pm  Leave a Comment  

Monday, September 14 – Thursday, September 17

From the unusual to the mundane

Monday was definitely a break in the usual routine. As planned, I took the day off from my regular job to ride the newly opened 7 train extension, running from the former Times Square terminal to the new station at 34th Street – Hudson Yards. It actually had opened on Sunday but I wasn’t able to get away.

I got on the road about 9:45, which I figured would be late enough for me to miss the bulk of the rush hour traffic on the Long Island Expressway.  Traffic indeed was quite reasonable, even at the usually very busy junction with the Grand Central Parkway in Queens. It’s possible that the Jewish holiday was a factor. After parking at my secret location in Queens I got the R train for an uneventful ride into Manhattan. As the train wasn’t too crowded I got a seat. Normally I don’t mind standing, but I wanted to play Doodle Jump and that’s hard to do unless seated.

I decided to get off the train at 60th, right on the corner of Central Park, and walked through Midtown to Times Square. By this time people were starting to leave office buildings for lunch. It was hard not to notice just how young most of the suit-wearers were, I’d say the average age was under 30. Not to jump to conclusions, but maybe age discrimination in employment is getting worse. Or maybe it’s just that older people aren’t as interested in going outside for lunch.

Mulling these thoughts, I boarded the 7 at Times Square for the trip to the new station. There were a number of subway workers on the platform to direct confused riders. The trip to the new station took just a few minutes, although getting out of the station took at least that long on a very long escalator. Somehow the ceiling and wall pattern made the escalator ride slightly disconcerting. My perception varied between riding at an angle, as I actually was of course, and riding horizontally like on an airport moving walkway. I’m still not sure if that makes any sense. In any event, the new station is quite attractive, although once the.curiosity factor wears off I don’t see it getting much ridership until the buildings at the huge Hudson Square development being opening. For the time being it’s a rather isolated location.

I walked down the High Line to its southern terminus, or should I say I waded through the crowds. To say the High Line was packed would be a gross understatement. I then walked along 14th Street to Union Square, which I still regard as my “home” section of Manhattan even though I haven’t worked in the area since 2000. I got the R back to Queens, no seats and hence no Doodle Jump this time, and then drove back through moderate but tolerable traffic.

If Monday was a break from routine, Tuesday through Thursday were back to the old grind. Each day was moderately busy at my main job, no early departures but no staying late. I found out, though it’s not 100 percent confirmed, that the next two week work cycle will be a relatively difficult one. I won’t know for sure until Monday. It shouldn’t really matter, as with over three year’s experience on the job I am fairly adept at managing the ups and downs of the work flow. Yes, there was a bit of wishful thinking there.

I worked all three evenings at the Major Home Improvement Retailer, but just for 4-hour shifts. 4:30 to 8:30 on Tuesday and Thursday, 6 to midnight on Wednesday. Even though I was fairly busy each shift, being the only employee on duty in the garden department, the shifts really weren’t too bad. As I’ve noted, a 4-hour shift seems much, much shorter 8-hour one, not just merely half as long. Staying until midnight on Wednesday wasn’t as bad as it could have been, although given the longer distances I have to drive for my main job I changed my availability so that I won’t be scheduled later than 11pm. Next week I have one previously scheduled midnight, but hopefully after that I won’t be staying past 11. Whether that actually will come true, well, all I can say is that time.will tell.

Published in: on September 18, 2015 at 11:05 pm  Leave a Comment  

Thursday, September 10 – Sunday, September 13

Only one tough day out of four, not bad

Thursday was a decent enough day as these things go. It was an easy day at my main job, in fact almost too easy as I had to stretch out my assignments until I could leave. Sometimes having too little to do isn’t really any better than  having too much. In the late afternoon I went to the gym and did 48 total reps (6 × 8) of cable rows, at a resistance level one notch up from last time, followed by Hammer Strength MTS shoulder presses, 4 x 8 x 100/100. Finally, we had a late dinner at Famous Dave’s BBQ in Smithtown, always a reliable spot. It didn’t disappoint.

Friday is normally my day off, but I worked at my regular job because the holiday on Monday had required a change to the normal cycle. I didn’t mind too much because I am taking this coming Monday off. In any event it was an easy enough day, just slightly busier than the day before. The work site seems to be the overall best of the four on my new rotation, the only down side being that traffic tends to be worse as it’s off the Expressway rather than the somewhat more tolerable Sunrise Highway. In the evening I went to the gym for some benching: 6 × 135, 6 × 155, 6 × 185, 4 x 205, 2 × 6 × 225, 2 × 4 x  225, 8 × 185. Not half bad.

Saturday was the toughest day of the four. I had an 8-hour shift at the Major Home Improvement Retailer, 8 to 4:30, and it definitely was harder than usual. It wasn’t just that the store was busy, it’s that many of the customers were needy, with all sorts of questions. Some were a bit cantankerous too, though fortunately none were outright hostile. On a better note, we got a pizza in the evening, something that doesn’t happen too often.

I was back at the MHIR on Sunday, naturally enough, but this time it was only a 5-hour shift, 8 to 1. What a huge difference that makes. It was just as busy as Saturday had been, but the customers were by and large easier to handle.

Published in: on September 15, 2015 at 10:25 pm  Leave a Comment  

Monday, September 7 – Wednesday, September 9

Holiday? What holiday? 

Monday was Labor Day, a holiday for most people. But not me, of course. Granted, I was off from my regular job, but that was hardly a benefit because I will be working there on Friday and therefore losing my day off. How lovely.

Working at the Major Home Improvement Retailer on the holiday actually wasn’t too bad. I worked a 4-hour shift, 4 to 8, but I will get paid for six hours. As is standard on holidays thd department heads had a barbecue for anyone working, in fact I came in an hour early to partake. It was quite good. As for the work itself, the day was much busier than I would have expected, an almost nonstop flow of customers.

Tuesday and Wednesday both were two job days. My regular job wasn’t bad either day, as this new work cycle looks to be an easy one. Things were a bit disorganized on Wednesday, not anything I could control, though it still was a decent enough day. Aso for the MHIR, I worked 4:30 to 8:30 on Tuesday and 6 to 10 on Wednesday. While that meant I was out at a decent hour on Tuesday, having only a two hour break between jobs wasn’t fun. Work was tough too, as I spent the entire shift cleaning the outside garden area before a company executive’s visit the next day. Truthfully it looked fine to me, but few things frighten retail managers like a visit from the company brass. Wednesday was less hectic, mostly freight packout.

I only was able to make one gym trip, before work on Monday. All I did was “placeholder” machine work. Not much energy for anything more extensive.

Published in: on September 11, 2015 at 2:36 am  Leave a Comment  

Thursday, September 3 – Sunday, September 6

Toiling in the salt mines

I have to admit that after over a year and a half working at the Major Home Improvement Retailer I’m starting to get somewhat frustrated with it. I’ve spoken to two managers about how I’m getting absolutely buried with hours, to no avail. Okay, the money is nice, but I can work only so many hours in a week. Some hope may be on the horizon, with new people being hired and with the seasonal slowdown on its way. For the time being, however, I have no choice but to get used to 55+ hour workweeks.

At.least Thursday was a day off from the MHIR. I worked at my regular job, but being that it was the end of a work cycle it was an easy day. Friday was my day off from both jobs, and I tried not to do too much. I had decent gym sessions on both days. On Thursday I did cable rows, which for now is my back exercise of choice (soon enough I’ll change). I did a total of 48 reps, 6 × 8, with the resistance about 3/4 of the stack. Then came Hammer Strength MTS shoulder presses, 4 x 8 x 100/100. Friday was for bench pressing, decent if not spectacular: 6 × 135, 6 × 155, 6 × 185, 4 x 205, 2 × 4 x 225, 8 × 185. I also did some work with the medicine ball.

Speaking of exercise, I did something rather unwise on Saturday. I wasn’t going into the MHIR until 1:30, and it was a really nice day, so I decided to hike for an hour on the Setauket – Port Jefferson trail. It was nice, unfortunately I somehow strained the arch of my right foot. Which lead to a very painful 8 hour shift. Fortunately the store wasn’t too busy, and I managed to keep my walking to a minimum, but it still hurt. Sunday was less painful, except this time I worked for nine hours, the first time I’ve gone past eight. Ouch.

Published in: on September 11, 2015 at 1:34 am  Leave a Comment  

Monday, August 31 – Wednesday, September 2

No doubt about it: early > late 

All three of these days were pretty uneventful and low-key at my main job. As it was my third week going to the new work sites, and I’m on a 2-week rotation, I was at two of the sites for the second time. It will take longer to get fully used to them but the process is well underway. So far I’m finding the somewhat longer drives tolerable. Three of the four sites are off Sunrise Highway, which at least at the times I travel is generally easier than the Long Island Expressway. The fourth site, which I went to last week, is off the Expressway, but not too far. What I don’t particularly like is that I’m spending more for gasoline, but it’s not a huge difference and the generally better sites outweigh the extra spending.

I worked at the Major Home Improvement Retailer on Monday and Wednesday. It was nothing like last week’s exhausting 6 to midnight marathons.  Monday was 4:30 to 8:30 and Wednesday 4:30 to 9:30. Even though I didn’t have much time off between jobs working until decent times rather than all the way to midnight makes a huge difference. It’s hard to overstate just what a difference. And of course the somewhat shorter shifts helped too, especially as both shifts were busy with customers and freight.

Published in: on September 4, 2015 at 9:53 pm  Leave a Comment  

Friday, August 28 – Sunday, August 30

Friday was both a day off and a recovery day. Working those two 6pm to midnight shifts at the Major Home Improvement Retailer during the week really took a toll on me. While I wouldn’t quite say that I was run down for most of the day I definitely was not at full strength. I really didn’t do much, though I made it to the gym for a fairly brief upper body session, all machine work.

It should go without saying that I worked full shifts at the MHIR on both Saturday and Sunday. Saturday was 8 to 3, a bit earlier than I’d have liked, but I shouldn’t complain. Originally I was supposed to have worked until 4:30 but my hours were reduced. That happens from time to time when weekly sales are below target. Sometimes whole shifts can be cut, but that’s pretty rare and hasn’t happened to me in at least a year.

In the evening we went out for sushi. It was at Kotobuki in Hauppauge, definitely one of the top sushi joints in the area. While I like sushi, it’s the sort of thing that I have to be in the right mood for, if that makes any sense. I’ve also long since exhausted my repertoire of tapeworm jokes.

Sunday’s shift was a more reasonable 9:30 to 6. It was quite busy, as the prior day had been, with a pretty much nonstop influx of customers. Some Halloween decorations were being put on display, and no sooner will that day be over when all the Christmas stuff will appear.

Published in: on September 4, 2015 at 1:36 am  Leave a Comment