Monday, February 22 – Thursday, February 25

The second time is not the charm

These four days were really two sets of two days each, with each set completely unlike the other. Monday and Tuesday were pretty easy days. Thankfully so, as I was still rundown from all the work I’d been doing. I wasn’t scheduled at the Major Home Improvement Retailer, and my main job was fairly sedate each day. Although I’m still in a very tough work cycle, because Monday started the second week of the cycle I reaped some learning-curve benefits. It also helped that the workplace for these two days is arguably the least troublesome of the four on my current cycle. I didn’t do too much either evening, still being in recovery mode.

Wednesday and Thursday were back to the abyss. Okay, they weren’t as bad as they could have been, given that my main job was easy enough. I actually was able to leave about 45 minutes early on Wednesday. What made these days difficult is that I was back to the Major Home Improvement Retailer each evening. Wednesday was 4:30 to 10 and Thursday a (very) slightly easier 5 to 10. Wednesday was the busier of the two shifts, with quite a large amount of freight to handle. This included using the forklift to place two large rectangular boxes containing rakes and shovels – boxes known as “coffins” – in the overhead storage. Doing so required me to maneuver in a rather narrow aisle, something I’d prefer not to do, but the trainer wanted me to try. It was awkward at first, and more than a little scary, but somehow I got it done. Thursday’s shift was less hectic, which was good because I was completely exhausted. If I’d been asked to use the forklift I would have had to decline.

One thing I can say is that the next two weeks should be a lot easier. The upcoming work cycle at my main job won’t be quite as difficult as the last one, and I’ll be working fewer hours at the MHIR (12 and 10.5 respectively) now that some new people have completed training and the seasonal pickup hasn’t yet begun. I won’t be making quite as much money but I won’t be running myself ragged either. Now there’ll be no excuse not to go back to the gym or even hot yoga.

Published in: on February 27, 2016 at 2:52 am  Leave a Comment  

Friday, February 19 – Sunday, February 21

One day off is not enough

Let’s be realistic.  Having Friday off was a welcome relief after my brutal days on Wednesday and Thursday. I tried to do as little as possible, we made a trip to the Roosevelt Field Mall but I didn’t drive so it was okay. All in all it was a nice easy day. But it wasn’t enough! I simply needed more time to recover, and unfortunately Friday was it.

Saturday and Sunday were workdays – long workdays – at the Major Home Improvement Retailer. I didn’t actually do a full 8-hour shift either day, Saturday was seven hours and Sunday seven and a half, but they seemed utterly interminable. The store was fairly busy and the garden department wasn’t overstaffed, so the days shouldn’t have seemed so long, but they did. I would say it was because I was really dragging, not being close to fully recovered after Wednesday and Thursday. And the fact that I’ll be working those endless hours in the coming week was never far from my mind. Don’t get me wrong, the money’s nice, but everyone has a limit. And I went past mine.

Published in: on February 27, 2016 at 2:00 am  Leave a Comment  

Monday, February 15 – Thursday, February 18

The deluge

These were not among my better days. To say the (very) least. I started a new work cycle at my main job, and I can say without hesitation that I do not remember a worse one in the nearly four years I’ve been with the company. I spoke to the regional manager about trying to rationalize the workload, and while something will get done it won’t be in time to change this nightmarish cycle. On both Monday and Tuesday I worked almost straight through, with only a single 10-minute break each day, and still had to stay about 90 minutes late each day. Trust me, there is a BIG difference between a 7-hour workday and an 81/2-hour workday. If there was any consolation it’s that my talk with the regional manager meant that I have advance overtime authorization, meaning that I don’t have to call for authorization each day. Oh, I somehow did make it to the gym on Tuesday, doing back work including more T-bar rows.

Wednesday and Thursday were utterly dreadful days. Each day I worked from 7 to 3:30 at my main job, almost no breaks of course, and then had to go to the Major Home Improvement Retailer for a 4:30 to 10 shift. Yes, that’s about a 14-hour workday. Actually 13 hours on Wednesday, as the MHIR manager let me leave at 9 instead of 10. It was a draining experience, thankfully the MHIR work was pretty easy. What a way to make (not a whole lot of) money!

Published in: on February 20, 2016 at 2:32 am  Leave a Comment  

Thursday, February 11 – Sunday, February 14

Apres moi, le deluge

Thursday was the last day of the current work cycle at my main job, and as is typical for a cycle’s last day it was quite easy. By that point I’ve picked up on the most efficient ways to complete my tasks. Even though I was at what is generally the most difficult of the four work sites on my rotation, I was able to take my allotted  breaks and still finish up a bit early. That evening I had a 6 to 10 shift at the Major Home Improvement Retailer, and it was fairly uneventful. I met the new store manager and one of the two new assistant managers, and both seemed pleasant enough.

Friday was a typical day off, other than a late afternoon gym trip I didn’t do much of consequence. While at the gym I began my transition to using free weights, doing a few sets of T-bar rows in addition to machine work. This isn’t going to be an abrupt transition, but a gradual process. It should be easier than way.

Saturday and Sunday were scarcely weekend days for me. Saturday was a full 8-hour workday at the MHIR, Sunday “only” 71/2 hours (how easy!) Saturday wasn’t too bad. The store was quite busy, the department had an appropriate staffing level, and there was still some freight to pack out. I can deal with days like that. Sunday, unfortunately, was much worse. All the freight was done, the department was overstaffed for most of my shift, and a combination of Valentine’s Day and very cold weather meant that customers were staying away in droves. I had the distinct non-pleasure of spending almost all of the seven and a half hours just wandering around the aisles hoping against hope that customers in need of assistance would appear. Except hardly any appeared, and those who did seldom wanted any help. Forget the clock, the shift seemed about 12 hours long. About the only good thing on Sunday is that I went to the gym before work and did some barbell bench presses, getting up to four reps at 225. I also did some machine work.

Published in: on February 20, 2016 at 2:00 am  Comments (1)  

Monday, February 8 – Wednesday, February 10

One bad, two good

Guess that’s a decent ratio. What I’m referring to is how my days at my main job went. Monday and Wednesday were good days, I took normal breaks and finished right on time or even a bit early. Tuesday wasn’t so good, I had to work through lunch and ended up staying about 45 minutes extra. This was not due to any inefficiencies on my part, it’s just the way things were.

Now, getting to work was a bit more complicated. There was some snow in the morning on Monday, not more than an inch or so but enough – but of course! – to slow down traffic almost to a crawl at spots. If I were more knowledgeable in physics and fluid dynamics I might have been insight into how these traffic delays develop and vanish so quickly, but I’m not and I don’t. On Wednesday, the weather was okay, what wasn’t so good is that I had a flat tire while driving into work. That’s never a good situation, but it was at least semi-tolerable because I had a full-sized spare tire, a decent jack, and a tarp to spread on the ground. Not to mention the sort of job in which arriving a bit late is no huge drama.

Only one Major Home Improvement Retailer shift in this period, 6 to 10 on Wednesday. It went by pretty fast, as I helped move around the patio furniture displays that the assemblers had put together earlier in the day. Not that anyone’s going to be in the mood to buy the stuff, what with the cold weather being forecasted.

Published in: on February 13, 2016 at 3:45 pm  Leave a Comment  

Saturday, February 6 – Sunday, February 7

All in all this wasn’t a bad weekend for me. While I worked both days at the Major Home Improvement Retailer, I didn’t work full shifts: Saturday was 10:45 to 4:30, and Sunday 4 to 8. Saturday’s shift was five hours and 45 minutes, which was actually a sub-optimal amount. Under company policy I would get a half-hour lunch break if I had worked six or more hours, but I worked 15 minutes less than that threshold and, therefore, got no lunch break. I was still able to get a couple of 15-minute breaks, one of which stretched longer due to a going-away party for an assistant manager who is transferring to another store. So I suppose I shouldn’t complain. Hey, there was cake.

Neither shift was too difficult, mostly waiting on customers with some moving around items in preparation for the spring reset. Yes, even though it’s the depth of winter, a crew is coming in next week to set up lawnmower, barbecue grill and patio furniture displays. Calendars do tend to have a rather different meaning in retail. Also, before work on Sunday I went to the gym and did more machine-based chest and shoulders work. From now on, I’ll be transitioning back into free weights, a gradual rather than abrupt process.

Published in: on February 12, 2016 at 3:57 am  Leave a Comment  

Thursday, February 4 – Friday, February 5

Snow, the sequel

Thursday was sort of an in-between day at work. It was tougher than Wednesday had been, but not as wildly hectic (hectically wild?) as Tuesday. I stayed a bit longer than usual but did manage to take a normal lunch break. Guess that’s progress. I had some vague intentions of going to the gym after work, but the vague part rose to the forefront and I ended up doing other stuff.  That’s fine.

Unlike last week, Friday actually was a day off for me.  It’s just as well, because it was snowing quite heavily in the morning. I don’t much mind driving in snow, within reason, but I knew full well that morning traffic would be glacially slow (which I suppose would match the snow motif). My theory is that people tend to panic when they have to drive in snow not so much because it’s difficult, but because local news reports hype up even the most modest snowstorms as The Apocalypse. Of course all that end-of-the-world babble was going fast and furious for what turned out to be maybe an 8-inch snowfall. A decent amount, but hardly something that’s going to bring about TEOTWAWKI (The End of the World as We Know It, in survivalist lingo). Anyway, I did some errands during the day, and in the early evening went to the gym for a back and arms session. Still machine based, but that’s fine for now as I make the transition back into free weights.


Published in: on February 10, 2016 at 1:29 am  Leave a Comment  

Monday, February 1 – Wednesday,February 3

So much for an easy start

Monday was not merely the start of a new month, but the start of a new 2-week work cycle at my main job. After having somehow survived a truly miserable cycle I was eagerly hoping for a less brutal one. And on Monday it looked as if my wishes came true. Yes, I worked about 30 minutes overtime, but that’s not all that unusual for the beginning of a cycle with its learning curve, and I took my full allotted breaks. I then went to the Major Home Improvement Retailer for a 5 to 10 shift, which was fairly busy with freight packout but otherwise well within tolerability limits.  All in all, a decent start to a new month.

Tuesday was a very very different story. Despite taking only one 10-minute break all day I didn’t get out until almost 5, which is two and a half hours past my normal quitting time. It was exhausting both physically and mentally. Once I finally finished I had to rush to the MHIR for a 6 to 10 shift, barely having time to hit the drive-thru at Wendy’s along the way. And the shift turned out to be very busy, thanks to a huge freight shipment that had arrived in the morning. You can imagine how exhausted I was. Well, in case you can’t imagine, note that I couldn’t celebrate Groundhog Day, which is of course my favorite of all holidays.

Wednesday was a better day. Thankfully. It was busy but not as off the charts insane as the previous day had been. I took a break that was only slightly shorter than usual and finished right on time. Even better, we then took a drive into Nassau County to go to Shake Shack near the Roosevelt Field Mall. Their burgers are second to none, as are their hotdogs – quite an accomplishment given that I don’t really like hotdogs!

Published in: on February 6, 2016 at 3:34 am  Leave a Comment  

Saturday, January 30 – Sunday, January 31

I was bad. On Saturday I called in sick for my 2:30 to 10 shift at the Major Home Improvement Retailer even though I wasn’t sick at all. Believe me, this is not my usual way of doing things. At every job I’ve ever had my attendance has always been good. But Saturday was an exception. I had worked on Friday, my usual day off, and of course the prior week at my main job had been very very tough. I simply did not have sufficient energy – and, let’s be honest, motivation – to work for almost a full shift on Saturday and therefore go two weeks without a day off. And it helped that I had enough sick time accumulated that I wouldn’t lose any pay.

With no work, I spent Saturday doing the sort of errands that I usually do on Fridays, and engaged in other vitally important activities … playing Doodle Jump, to be specific. Though on a more productive note, I managed to drag myself back to the gym. I had a back session, doing cable rows and Life Fitness high rows. No free weights work just yet, I want some transition time.

Continuing with the gym theme, I made a rare-for-me morning visit on Sunday, going around 11. This time I did chest and shoulders work, once again sticking to machines. I did Life Fitness shoulder presses, pec deck flies, and used a seated dip machine. I figure maybe another week or two with machines, then a transition back to free weights. After the gym, I had an uneventful 2:30 to 8 shift at the MHIR. Not really much going on, but that was fine by me.









Published in: on February 6, 2016 at 3:12 am  Leave a Comment