September 1 – 10

New month, new start

All in all, I would have to say that September has gotten off to a pretty decent start. The workload at my main job has gotten pretty heavy, but it’s tolerable and in any way shouldn’t be this way much longer. Basically just a temporary state of affairs. Countering it has been the seasonal decline in hours at the Major Home Improvement Retailer, so I have less of the “worked to death” sensation than I was experiencing a few months ago. Thankfully.

What with my less exhausting schedule, I’ve made a newfound commitment to going to the gym on a regular basis. Something I’ve read, which helps, is to think of each gym trip more as a scheduled appointment and less of a spur of the moment thing. In other words, I plan out the gym trips at least a few days in advance and make time for them, rather than deciding on a day-by-day basis whether to go or not. Too often the latter situation becomes a “not.” I’ve also decided to focus on neutral grip pull-ups, doing them at least twice a week and trying to up my rep count each time. They really are the best back exercise, much more demanding than rows or cable pulldowns or anything else. Once I start making some appreciable progress with them I’ll do a similar session-to-session improvement focus on something else, maybe bench presses.

Saturday the 16th is the semi-annual gun show in my area. I don’t have anything specific in mind, maybe a lever action, but I’ll go to the show with cash in hand – not all dealers accept credit or debit cards – and see if something catches my attention. One bad thing is that if I do end up buying a new firearm I won’t have the chance to take it to the range until the following Friday. Guess I’ll just have to be patient.

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Published in: on September 11, 2017 at 1:16 am  Comments (1)  

August adventures

As in, how I spent the month of August

I just didn’t have the urge for more frequent updates, so consider this a mega-update for the entire month of August.

After months of near-agony my hours at the Major Home Improvement Retailer finally got more reasonable. Sixteen hours a week is fine, 18 even, but those 24- and 28-hour weeks I was doing during the peak season were grinding me down to nothing. Thankfully my schedule will be much better for the next several months. What about next spring? I’ve decided that I’m not going to put up with being worked half to death anymore. Between now and then I’ll have to have a talk with the store manager and let her know that I have my limits. Hopefully she will understand, if not, well, I will have to do some serious thinking about whether I will be able to stay at the job. The money’s helpful, but not vital.

Speaking of work, a rather unexpected development is that the workload at my main job was much heavier than normal during most of August. Leaving early was definitely not an option. Many days, I’d have to stay an hour late even with skipping breaks. Given the lighter schedule at the MHIR this was tolerable, but it wouldn’t have been a few months ago. Fortunately, things at the main job should be getting a bit less hectic soon.

After neglecting it for too long I finally began making my way back to the gym. I’m doing my best to go three times a week, not necessarily the same three days, adding a fourth if possible. I’ve been considering taking up a more formalized routine, with a schedule of exercises, but so far I’ve been on a more ad hoc approach. One thing I have been doing is concentrating on compound exercises rather than isolation work and on free weights as opposed to machines.

The highlight for August was my trip to see the eclipse. I had decided that somewhere in the west would be a good choice because the skies should be clear. After some online investigating I decided that western Wyoming would be ideal, as I was concerned about big traffic jams in more populated areas. I booked a flight on Jet Blue from JFK to Salt Lake City on Sunday, July 20, via a connection in Boston of all places, getting in around 9:30 pm. I’d then pick up a rental car I had reserved from Enterprise and would drive overnight into Wyoming on some less-traveled roads. I then would return to the Salt Lake City airport on Monday evening for an overnight (ugh!) flight back to JFK.

Of course things didn’t work out quite as planned. There were all sorts of delays at JFK, even though the weather was fine, and after waiting around for hours it was obvious I’d miss my Boston connection and wouldn’t make it to Salt Lake City in time.  Fortunately, Jet Blue booked me on a nonstop at no extra cost. It didn’t get to Salt Lake City until  well after midnight, when the Enterprise rental counter – alone of all the rental companies at the airport, go figure – was closed. I was able to rent a Nissan Pathfinder from Dollar, literally the last vehicle they had left.

By this point I was too wiped out to want to drive on secondary roads into the middle of nowhere. Instead I drove north into Idaho on I-15, a route that I had been scared off from by dire traffic predictions, but it wasn’t bad in the middle of the night. I spent a few hours in the car at a rest area and in the early morning drove north to Idaho Falls, which was in the totality zone.

All my travels were well worth it. I watched the eclipse from the riverfront park in Idaho Falls, in the company of thousands of people, and at the risk of sounding trite it really was an otherworldly experience. Definitely worth all the time and money (lots of money, that Nissan Pathfinder rental was NOT cheap). I took some side roads back through Idaho, as post-eclipse traffic on I-15 was rather gnarly. As there was still some time left before I had to get to the airport I had wanted to explore downtown Salt Lake City a bit, but I was just too exhausted. Another time.

Published in: on September 4, 2017 at 9:49 pm  Leave a Comment