Monday, April 24 – Thursday, April 28

Well well well, it got easier

It was a very good week at my main job. I was in the second week of the current work cycle, and while second weeks usually are a bit easier, in this case it was a lot easier. Attribute it to the learning curve, or just happenstance, whatever the case it was fine by me. In a rare event, I was able to leave each day over an hour before my normal quitting time. And that’s with taking my full allotted breaks. It was nice, but of course I can’t count on other cycles being this easy.

Monday and Tuesday were evening shifts at the Major Home Improvement Retailer, 5:15 to 11 and 5 to 9 respectively. They weren’t bad, even the longer one on Monday. Now, if I hadn’t left early on Sunday and worked until midnight as scheduled, I suspect these shifts would have been a lot harder. Monday in particular.

One thing that’s been nagging at me is my absence from the gym. I haven’t gone since early in the month. While it hasn’t been a financial loss, as I pay month to month and the most recent period was just expiring the last day I went, my laziness is another factor. Yes, I’m physically beat out most of the time from all the work I’ve been doing, but excuses are excuses. My current goal is that I’m going to resume at the beginning of June, right after we return from an 8-day Alaskan cruise. By then things will have quieted down at the MHIR, and with fewer heavy items like mulch and topsoil being sold the work will be less backbreaking. And hey, there’ll be a gym on the ship …

Published in: on April 30, 2016 at 2:06 am  Leave a Comment  

Friday, April 22 – Sunday, April 24

You’ve heard the line: when the going gets tough, the tough get going. Apparently I’m not among the ranks of the tough, because when things got tough while working at the Major Home Improvement Retailer, I couldn’t get going. Not that it was really my fault.

To backtrack a bit, Friday was a typical day off, dedicated to the fine art (or is it science) of doing nothing. Just the way I like it. Saturday, in unpleasant contrast, was a full 8-hour shift at the MHIR, 9:30 to 6. And what a nasty shift it was! While the garden department wasn’t super busy, no mulch on sale this weekend, it was a bit understaffed for most of the time I was there. What that meant is that I was running around here, there and everywhere, on more than one occasion trying to juggle two or more impatient customers. Had there been a mulch sale I honestly don’t know how I could have managed. What didn’t help, at all, was that I had a headache for much of the shift. It was a very long eight hours.

Sunday was my day of reckoning. I was scheduled to work yet another 8-hour shift, this time from 3:30 to (ugh!) midnight. During the last four hours I was scheduled to be on “garden recovery,” which basically means an extensive cleanup of the garden area. Not something I’d want to be doing until midnight. Further, I was scheduled to work almost six hours on Monday and four on Tuesday, in addition of course to my regular job each day. I just didn’t know how I’d be able to manage.

So I didn’t manage. Two hours into the shift I told the manager on duty that I was sick and had to leave. Hey, I actually did have a headache, granted it was the prior day. And I had enough accumulated sick time to avoid any lost pay. Really, it was the only way I was going to make it through this very tough stretch of work.

Published in: on April 30, 2016 at 1:30 am  Leave a Comment  

Monday, April 18 – Thursday, April 21

Like night and day

I generally don’t say much about my main job, in other words the job other than the one at the Major Home Improvement Retailer, but a bit of explanation may be helpful. In each 2-week work cycle I rotate among four locations, spending two days at each (I don’t work Fridays). While I don’t have any control over the specific tasks I have to accomplish during the two days at each location, that being a corporate-office sort of decision, I do have some ability to decide on which of the two days I’ll perform each assigned task. What I try to do is even things out, so that the workload on each day at each location is about the same.

It doesn’t always work out that way. In some cycles, particular tasks have to be done on particular days, resulting in an imbalanced workload. That’s what happened this time. Monday was pretty easy, I was finished about an hour early even with my normal breaks. Tuesday, I had to stay almost an hour late even with cutting lunch short. Wednesday and Thursday continued the same easy/hard pattern. It would’ve been nice to balance things out, but i couldn’t do that. Next week will be a repeat.

Wednesday was my only MHIR shift, a 7 to 11 evening one. With the mulch sale finally done it was pretty quiet in the garden department, a nice welcome break.

Published in: on April 23, 2016 at 4:50 am  Comments (1)  

Friday, April 15 – Sunday, April 17

Friday was the calm before the storm. Or, more accurately, the calm before the Mulch Avalanche. My enjoyment of the day off was sadly tempered by the fact that the big mulch sale (5 for $10!) at the Major Home Improvement Retailer would still be in effect on Saturday and Sunday. I knew, one of those instinctive things you know with absolute certainty, that Saturday and Sunday would be very tough days. I was scheduled to work eight hours each day and knew that it would be mulch, mulch and more mulch.

My prediction was completely correct. On both days there was a near-constant flow of mulch buyers, and both days were utterly backbreaking. I have no idea of how many bags I lifted and hoisted over the weekend, but rest assured it was a high number.

Published in: on April 23, 2016 at 4:23 am  Leave a Comment  

Monday, April 11 – Thursday, April 14

Good and bad

These days have been a combination of good and bad. Obviously not the optimal situation, but not the worst either. The good part is that my main job has been so amazingly easy this work cycle I sometimes think that I haven’t done enough to deserve my pay: “I’m getting paid for this?” But of course actual guilt would be misplaced, as I’ve done more than enough difficult cycles to outweigh this easy one. Speaking of which, I got some additional information about the upcoming one,  and while it’s going to be much harder than the current one it probably won’t be the nightmare I had feared. Hopefully.

As for the “bad” part, I worked two evening shifts at the Major Home Improvement Retailer and they were no walk in the park. Monday I did 7pm to 11pm, and for some reason was assigned to the freight team rather than garden. I’ve done freight before, and it isn’t too bad so long as there hasn’t been a big shipment during the day. It should go completely without saying that there had been a big shipment during the day on Monday. Of course there had. In fairness, the work load wasn’t overwhelming, it’s just that I was still worn out from the early weekend shifts and really was struggling for the last hour or so.

I had no MHIR shifts on Tuesday, which was very fortunate as I was full of aches and pains after three shifts three days in a row. We made a late afternoon trip to the Walt Whitman Mall – sorry, the Shops at Walt Whitman – a quite upscale mall about 40 minutes away. How  upscale? There were four cars on display in the center court, not all together, and they were a Lexus, an Acura, an Audi, and a Range Rover. No econoboxes allowed!

Wednesday was another MHIR shift, this time a long one from 5:30 t0 11. I was back in garden, which meant more bags of mulch to hoist and carry. Ouch. I also had to water the outside plants, which left me thoroughly soaked because the hose nozzle I had to use had a very leaky connection. Understand, just because the MHIR sells hoses and nozzles doesn’t mean we have decent ones for employee use. It’s like the old joke of how the barber’s kid has the worst haircut in school.

Fortunately I had no MHIR work on Thursday. By this point I was so full of aches and pains that I needed the evening to recuperate. Any plans to go to the gym, well they just had to wait.


Published in: on April 16, 2016 at 4:55 am  Leave a Comment  

Friday, April 8 – Sunday, April 10

It’s not fair. Friday was my day off from both jobs, a day when I should have enjoyed my leisure, but at the back of my mind all day was the fact on Saturday I’d be starting work at the ghastly hour of 5 am. For some reason I just couldn’t keep my dread of Saturday from clouding my enjoyment of Friday.

As for Saturday, suffice to say that getting up well before dawn and stumbling into work at the Major Home Improvement Retailer at such a barbaric hour was very, very low on my list of favorite things. It wasn’t just me. Except for a couple other workers who usually start very early, most of the other employees had the same zombie-like look as me. If there’s anything good to be said, it’s that completing a full 8-hour shift in the early afternoon, 1:30 to be precise, wasn’t a bad deal at all. I had plenty of time to enjoy the rest of the day, though my exhaustion after having gotten up so early (and from hauling  bags of mulch around all day, it being the $2/bag sale) left me too weary to go to the gym.

Sunday was better in that I went into work at the much more civilized hour of 9:30 am. The downside was that the weather was much nicer than it had been on Saturday, and the mulch buyers were out in force. By the time my shift ended, I could barely walk.

Published in: on April 15, 2016 at 3:43 am  Leave a Comment  

Monday, April 4 – Thursday, April 7

A welcome break

Hey, I really could get used to this. After a couple of very tough work cycles at my main job, relief finally arrived in the form of a very easy cycle. Possibly the easiest one I’ve had in three and a half years on the job. It’s a nice change to be able to take my allotted breaks without having to wonder how I’m ever going to finish on time. On Monday and Wednesday I finished right on time, and on Tuesday and Thursday I was done well over two hours before the usual quitting time. True, my enjoyment was slightly tempered by the fact that other cycles won’t be this easy, but I resolved not to worry about the future and just enjoy the present.

Tuesday was my only shift at the Major Home Improvement Retailer, a 7pm to 11pm one. It was mostly freight packout, nothing too bad. My hours at the MHIR will be picking up considerably over the next two weeks, as garden season approaches. It will start this coming weekend, with eight hour shifts each day, including a ghastly 5am start on Saturday. Not that I’m complaining, as I’ll be making considerably more money. The last couple of months I’ve been averaging about 12 hours a week, and now that will be increasing to about 20. Quite a difference. One thing I’ve got to do is use the forklift more, I’ve been certified to use it since January but actually have used it just a few times.

Monday evening was a gym trip, back and shoulder work including barbell rows. Tuesday evening was work, and on Wednesday we went out for all-you-can-eat sushi. Yes, it’s entirely possible to gorge oneself on sushi.

Published in: on April 11, 2016 at 2:41 am  Comments (1)  

Thursday, March 31 – Sunday, April 3

It wasn’t that bad. I think.

I was glad to see the current work cycle come to an end on Thursday. Very glad. While I’ve had worse, this one was definitely among the bottom 10% or so. Yet its end brings up a good point about my main job, which is that even the worst cycles come to an end in two weeks. It’s not like I get stuck in an endless loop. Of course this also means that good cycles also end after two weeks, but on balance I consider it an advantage.

Friday was my normal day off, had some stuff to do in the early afternoon but mostly it was a nice leisurely day. Around 6 I went to the gym, hoping to do some bench pressing. Surely, on a Friday evening the gym would be uncrowded and there’d be no wait for the two flat benches (I’d still like to know why a busy gym has only two flat benches, but that’s another issue for another time). Needless to say, my expectations weren’t met, the gym was jammed and I knew that I’d be waiting too long before having a shot at a flat bench. As that didn’t sound like an appealing prospect I just did machine-based upper body exercises. Not as good as bench presses would have been, but sometimes you have to make the best of the situation.

Speaking of potentially bad situations, I had to go into work at the Major Home Improvement Retailer at the ghastly hour of 5am on Saturday. You cannot imagine how much I dreaded that. Fortunately, it didn’t turn out quite as wretched as I feared. Getting up at that ungodly time was horrible, but the work itself was pretty easy. I watered the indoor plants, packed out a bit of freight left over from the previous day, and did some cleanup in the greenhouse. Nothing taxing, and before I knew it the four-hour shift was over. The rest of the day went pretty well.

Sunday was a comparatively rare day off from the MHIR. I took advantage of the break to go to the gym in the early afternoon, and in a rare burst of resolve actually did some deadlifts. Nothing too much, given that it’s been so long. I did 4 x 4 x 225, and followed up with stiff-legged deadlifts, 4 x 6 x 185. I did some machine work to close out the session.

As I’ve mentioned before, I’m really getting into the Unresolved Mysteries forum on Reddit. I’ve been at it long enough that I’m getting to know of more and more of the really perplexing cases. People offer up theories, and while they’re unlikely to lead to any solutions, they’re still an interesting mental exercise.

Published in: on April 6, 2016 at 1:44 am  Leave a Comment  

Monday, March 28 – Wednesday, March 30

No sense of guilt at all

Returning to my main job after the week off for Easter was harder than I would have expected. Which is strange, because I returned to the same tasks in the same work cycle, but everything seemed that much more difficult. Why, I can’t say. It’s not like my memory is so bad that in a week I had forgotten how to perform the tasks, and …. now what was I saying?

Whatever the reason, Monday was the easiest day of the four. I took a normal lunch hour but was able to leave on time. Tuesday, however, was notably worse. Despite skipping all but five minutes of my lunch break I ended up staying 45 minutes late. What’s more, I had a 7 to 11 shift that evening at the Major Home Improvement Retailer, and was busy to the point of being hectic with a mountain of freight to be packed out.

I was pretty exhausted when I went into work on Wednesday morning, and things only got worse from there. It was as if my tasks had suddenly become animate and were reproducing. Sort of like the broomsticks in the Sorcerer’s Apprentice scene of Disney’s Fantasia. By noon I realized there was no chance in a million that I’d be out on time. Sure enough, 2:30 came around and I was nowhere close to being done. I finally left after four, more than 90 minutes later than usual. Fortunately the company’s overtime procedures have been made easier and I didn’t have to rush around getting approval for the extra time. I was scheduled for another 7 to 11 MHIR shift, but there was no way in creation I was going. So I called in sick, and I’m proud to say I did not have the remotest twinge of guilt for doing so!

Published in: on April 3, 2016 at 2:20 am  Leave a Comment