Wednesday, July 12

Life intervened

Another decent day at my main job, finishing up my tasks at a reasonably early time. What makes this somewhat surprising is that I was at what’s usually the most troublesome of my four worksites. If something goes wrong at a site, it’s most commonly at this one.

I originally had planned to make another gym visit in the evening, but some issues came up and made that unfeasible. Frustrating, but that’s how things often go … yes, I could be one of those fanatics who won’t let anything short of a Category 5 hurricane stop him from going to the gym (and maybe not even that), but I’m not quite at that level. Come to think of it, if you are at that level, the gym probably isn’t even fun anymore, having become a duty. And that’s going a bit too far, if you ask me.

On a better note, we were able to have burgers at Bobby’s Burger Palace at the nearby mall. I had the burger of the month, the Cheyenne Burger, which featured melted cheddar, barbecue sauce, bacon, and some massive onion rings. It was one of the best they’ve had in quite a while, definitely one of my favorites. Can’t wait to see what August will bring!


Published in: on July 14, 2017 at 11:05 pm  Leave a Comment  

Tuesday, July 11

Well that was a decent session

Another relatively easy day at my main job, a bit more difficult than the day before but not bad at all. I was back by 2pm, and in a somewhat unusual move decided to go to the gym shortly afterward. While many people preach the virtues of morning exercise, indeed most gyms open at very early hours like 4am if they’re not 24-hour, that just doesn’t work for me. I prefer to exercise in the evenings, and despite what some morning advocates say it works fine for me. So going at around 3pm was a bit of a change for me.

A successful change, I might add. It was a quite satisfying session even though the flat benches were occupied and bench pressing wasn’t on the menu. I did some bodyweight dips as a substitute, 3 x 6, followed up by Hammer Strength shoulder presses, 5 x 8 x 80/80. Next came French presses, 5 x 8 x 40, and then pec deck flies, 4 x 8 x 140. I finished up the session with some various medicine ball exercises. All in all it went well, but the fact that I went a few hours earlier than usual does not mean that I’ve magically become an advocate for very early exercise. No thank you!

Published in: on July 14, 2017 at 2:14 pm  Leave a Comment  

Monday, July 10

That wasn’t so bad

It was the start of a new work cycle at my main job after a week off, and based on some things I’d heard from management I was fearing a really tough cycle. No early departures. As it turned out, the cycle’s not bad at all. I was finished and on my way back by 1pm, which is pretty good for a new cycle.

We went to a mall about 25 miles away in the early afternoon, for what turned out to be an unsuccessful search for a particular item, but on a better note we had dinner at P.F. Chang’s, very good as always. In a bit of a departure from the usual, I took advantage of the happy hour and had three drinks (I wasn’t driving), two raspberry martinis and one red sangria. Very rarely do I drink that much, but hey, one had to indulge every so often, right?

Published in: on July 12, 2017 at 11:36 pm  Leave a Comment  

Saturday, July 8 – Sunday, July 9

Another weekend largely occupied by working at the Major Home Improvement Retailer. Saturday was a full 8-hour shift, 1:30 to 10, and as always is the case with full shifts the last few hours really dragged. The store wasn’t too busy, in part because of a firemen’s parade that closed one of the two access roads, so I guess that was sort of a break. Didn’t make things go faster, though.

Sunday was a 5 hour 45 minute shift, 9:15 to 3, which I consider a devious way to avoid having to give me a lunch break. Company policy requires a break once a worker hits the 6-hour mark. Fortunately, it was a moderately busy shift during which I did many different things, so it went quickly.

Published in: on July 10, 2017 at 11:36 pm  Leave a Comment  

Friday, July 7

Rest and recovery

My tolerance for long road trips just isn’t what it should be.  Even though Thursday’s candy run to Pennsylvania involved maybe 7 to 8 hours of driving, today I just didn’t have much energy.  It was a day off from both jobs and except for a few errands I kept things mostly low-key. At least until about 4pm, when we went to the Apple Store so I could get a new charging cord for my computer ($79!!) and then we decided to eat at the nearby Cheesecake Factory. As always, I pigged out something wicked.

Around 9:30, having digested a bit, I decided to make a late trip to the gym. Not being particularly energetic or, for that matter, motivated, I keep things pretty easy. I used the Hammer Strength high row machine, 6 x 8 x 80/80, and by the time I finished that my energy level was so low I decided to call it a day. Hey, I still went, which is a good sign, and I still did something.

Published in: on July 8, 2017 at 2:07 pm  Leave a Comment  

Thursday, July 6


It was a successful trip to Callie’s Candy Kitchen and Pretzel Factory in Pennsylvania. They are separate businesses, the Pretzel Factory is in the town of Cresco and the Candy Kitchen a couple miles further north in Mountainhome.  Getting there took a bit of rerouting; as we crossed the Throgs Neck Bridge an electronic message sign said 81 minutes to the George Washington Bridge via I-95 (the Cross Bronx Expressway), which is a distance of less than ten miles. Ugh! My solution was to head north on the Hutchinson River Parkway to the Cross County Parkway, then south on the Saw Mill/Henry Hudson Parkway to the George Washington Bridge. It was maybe twice the distance but traffic wasn’t bad at all.  Once on the bridge it was a short trip to I-80, which I took across New Jersey into Pennsylvania.

Coming back was a bit unusual. We got off I-80 in Wayne, New Jersey onto Route 46 to get something to eat at a Wendy’s. As I headed east on Route 46 to find a way back onto I-80, Google Maps wasn’t particularly helpful, it dawned on me that (a) 46 wasn’t a bad road at all, with very few lights, and (b) it has its own entrance to the George Washington Bridge.  It’s not scenic, being lined by countless businesses of all types, but it’s different from Interstate blandness. It offered a surprisingly quick trip to the bridge, followed by the Major Deegan Expressway to the Triboro Bridge and the Grand Central Parkway. What with this being a sort-of long holiday week traffic was notably lighter than usual and we made good time. What wasn’t so good were the (obscene) tolls, around $40 for the trip. At least the (obscene) tolls on the Henry Hudson and the Triboro bridges are the cashless type; cameras take pictures of license plates and send invoices. Hey, what about eliminating (obscene) tolls completely? We already pay enough in fuel taxes, thank you.

Published in: on July 7, 2017 at 2:07 pm  Comments (1)  

Wednesday, July 5


As I’m off from my main job this week, we were planning to go today to Callie’s Candy Kitchen in Pennsylvania, which has been an annual (or sometimes more often) trip for years. A nice drive to the Poconos and some of the best candies and other treats you’ll find anywhere. Other things came up, however, so we’ll have to wait a day. The candy will still be there.

I did a 5 to 10 shift at the Major Home Improvement Retailer, I would have called out had we gone. Usual nonsense, with my main task being cleaning up the mess in the stone aisle. Broken bags of marble chips had left stones all over the floor and in the bays, which was quite a cleanup job. Note to manufacturers: packaging heavy stones with multiple sharp edges in relatively thin plastic bags is maybe not the best of ideas. Thank you.

Not a bad gym trip, focusing on upper body work. Bodyweight dips, 4 x 8; machine shoulder presses, 5 x 6 x 90/90; dumbbell French presses, 5 x 8; pec deck flies, 4 x 8 x 135.

Published in: on July 6, 2017 at 3:01 am  Leave a Comment  

Friday, April 14 – Tuesday, July 4

Has it been THIS long? Unfortunately yes.

Yes, I’ve really neglected this site. For way too long. I mean, here it is, the Fourth of July, and I haven’t posted anything since mid-April. Sorry. My bad.

Anyway, these have been a pretty eventful three months. I drove out to southern Illinois in late April to deliver a car to a family member, staying overnight in West Virginia, and flew back from St. Louis. It was a fun road trip as most of it was on “virgin” territory. I-70 through western Maryland was quite scenic, especially the famous Sideling Hill cut, and I liked West Virginia a lot too. All I had previously seen of the Mountaineer State was along I-81 through the eastern panhandle, which is basically a distant suburb of Washington. After a brief side trip into Ohio, a state I hadn’t been in since 2000, I followed I-64 through Kentucky and Indiana. It was my first-ever time in Kentucky and my first time in Indiana for many years. I also made a side trip through downtown Louisville, some nice older architecture. What had to be the most interesting part of the trip was the sight of some oil wells in Illinois. I had no idea the Land of Lincoln was also the Land of Black Gold.

A month later, in late May, we went on a week-long cruise in the Caribbean, on Royal Caribbean’s Oasis of the Seas. It’s one of the largest of all cruise ships, with something like 6,000 passengers. The cabin was nice and quite spacious, the food very good, and there were plenty of activities. Our ports of call were St. Maarten, San Juan, and the private Labadee resort in Haiti. St. Maarten was the least interesting of the three, San Juan was interesting but too short a stay, and Labadee was the best because we went on a cultural visit in the village and learned a lot about Haitian culture. After the cruise, we had sailed out of Port Canaveral, we spent a day in Disney World visiting EPCOT. I know some people consider it trite, or overly commercialized, but I enjoy WDW. Just bring money. Lots of money.

Otherwise … as you might expect, the Major Home Improvement Retailer worked me unmercifully, mostly 26- and 28-hour weeks. It was pretty hard to cope, and at times I gave serious through to resigning. The money is helpful but not vital, so leaving is a feasible option. It may sound odd, but what kept me there is the fact that it’s a really friendly place to work. Being in that sort of environment makes things easier. In addition, most of the cycles at my main job have been fairly easy, many early departures. Things should be slowing down a bit at the MHIR, and by August I’m hoping my hours will be averaging around 16 a week. That’s very tolerable. 28 hours is not.

Even though it’s been tough with all the MHIR hours I’ve been able to maintain a reasonably decent gym schedule. I haven’t gone as much as I should, but it’s not all that bad. Speaking of which, the Oasis of the Seas had a terrific fitness center, easily the equal of some gyms.

Published in: on July 5, 2017 at 2:00 am  Comments (1)  

Monday, April 10 – Thursday, April 13

At least I’m finding some gym time

This was supposed to be a semi-vacation week for me, but naturally enough things didn’t work out quite as planned. They never do. Instead of having the week off from my regular job, I only had Wednesday and Thursday off. On Monday and Tuesday I had to go in to make up for the snow days from the Storm of the Century (all two inches of it) in March. At least I had two days off, which is better than nothing, and in truth Monday and Tuesday were not bad days by any means.

As for the Major Home Improvement Retailer, I had 6 to 10 shifts on both Tuesday and Thursday evenings. Tuesday wasn’t bad, but Thursday featured a whole lot more of heavy freight work than I would have liked. This week including Saturday and Sunday is “only” 24.75 hours, I’ll be doing 28 hours in each of the following three weeks. That’s almost more than I can bear. I’m going to have to speak to the store manager and see if somehow she can reduce my hours. Of course I tried that last spring, and it went over like the proverbial lead balloon.

Even with my schedule the way it is I worked in gym visits on Monday and Wednesday. Monday I did some bench pressing, getting a total of 17 reps at 225 (no, not in the same set, I can only wish). Wednesday was back work, mostly machine-based. I’ve figured out that keeping a regular gym schedule is the best way of coping with the avalanche of MHIR hours. I can’t let work dominate my life.

Published in: on April 17, 2017 at 2:52 am  Leave a Comment  

Saturday, March 18 – Sunday, April 9

Fun and games will be ending soon

One disadvantage of the Major Home Improvement Retailer’s 3-week-ahead scheduling system is that it’s become harder to live in a fool’s paradise. If I’m in a spell of reasonable schedules, 16 hours a week or thereabouts, but can see that in a few weeks I’ll be bombarded with 24 to 28 hours a week, I cannot enjoy the leisurely present. Of course, in that I’ve been working at the slave galley, er, store for over three years by all rights I should be well aware that spring is a brutal season.

After working more or less reasonable hours, with most 4-hour weekend shifts, I was able to see that I’d be up to 23 hours for the week beginning March 20, would have a 16-hour reprieve for the week of March 27, and then would be slammed with 26.25 hours (!!) on the week of April 3. Ugh. Double ugh. Yes, the fact that I’m writing this on April 10 mean that I did survive, but barely. There were a few shifts during this spell when I was barely able to function. Thankfully, my main job has been reasonably non-hectic, only once during this time period did I have to stay past normal quitting time and then for only a half hour. Also, which I guess is another benefit, I seem to be coping okay with the hard physical labor that working at the MHIR so often entails.

As for stuff that’s more fun, I made another trip to the range with my Maverick 88 shotgun and this time fired off some slugs. I used the 3-inch magnum Foster style slugs, and while the recoil is very hard it was most satisfying to see the big holes those monster projectiles punched through the targets. If I were using them out in the field rather than on a range I’d be able to feast on moose burgers. As I noted about my last range trip, there’s something fun in a primitive sense about using a hard-recoiling loud gun. In fact when I fired my first slug the noise scared the daylights out of two teenagers who were getting shooting lessons at the next bench. It sure wasn’t like the modest “crack” of the .223’s most other shooters were using.

I’ve also tried to keep a semi-regular gym schedule, though what with all the work at the MHIR it takes some doing. I’ve really gotten into dip and have resumed deadlifts after too long away, though the weights are still modest. What I figure is that if I can manage three sessions a week, which should be do-able, I’ll be able to at least hold steady until my busy work schedule eases up and I can go more often.  Hopefully.



Published in: on April 11, 2017 at 1:06 am  Leave a Comment