Early Riser

It’s just before 8 am on my day off and I’ve already been up for about 90 minutes. I went to bed last night around midnight, intending to sleep about 8 hours if I could, as I have things to be doing today. A chiropractic appointment in another town, and since it’s going to be a nice day outside, probably a lunch out on the way home, then some work either in the backyard, in the gardens, or finishing work on the roto-tiller if I can manage to procure a suitable fuel line.

During my work career, I’ve primarily worked third shift. Going in to work at anywhere between 10 pm and perhaps 2-3 am when I was working in the store bakery. When you work a late shift, you tend to want to sleep during the day, and you don’t always get the right amount of it, due to the interruption of circadian rhythms and the fact the human body wasn’t really designed for third shift work. Go back a hundred years, (or more) and people weren’t working three shifts normally. It was only after fluorescent lights were invented and used in factories that the third shift was given its time. Now, companies that want super-productivity schedule people to work in the middle of the night when there’s little foot traffic to get things accomplished (like stocking shelves) and ready for business come the morning.

It’s only in the last ten years that I’ve been working first shift. Starting in the early morning anywhere from 6:30 to 8, with the occasional 5 am when it comes to a day where there’s department inventory. I’ve dabbled with the idea of going to another store to become a department manager again, recently there were openings nearby for a night crew manager, or what’s called a ‘scan coordinator’, basically someone that’s in charge of keeping all the prices in that particular store in order, hanging and creating sales tags and so on. But what’s mostly stopped me is the fact it’s no more money than I’m making now, and I’d have to drive 40-50 more miles per day. So I’d end up losing money for the ‘privilege’ of being a manager. Honestly, no thanks. Plus there’s little room for advancement. So I’ll stay where I am.

Circling back to the topic at hand, I woke up this morning early and figured I’d get my bathroom routine out-of-the-way right off, so that my wife, who tends not to be a morning person, could take her time getting herself ready for our sojourn out. Even she admits when she was employed as a social worker, she had a difficult time getting to the office in a timely fashion. If I get my stuff done, the primary bathroom is free (there are 2 in the house, but one is far more cramped than the other) for her to use at her leisure and I can get other things done before we head out.

Too, it fits into my usual morning routine when I’m working.  I get up, get my bearings and head to the bathroom for evacuation and dawdling on my Samsung tablet, checking news, baseball scores (have to see if the Red Sox either won or lost) and whatever else might be happening on social media or elsewhere.  Since I installed signal repeaters in good places in the house, there’s a strong WiFi connection just about everywhere both upstairs and down, so I don’t have to be concerned with signal drop like I used to.   I don’t really like typing on the tablet, I tend to prefer the feel of a keyboard when I’m typing.  I’m a bit old-school in that respect.  Unlike the kids I see at work who type away at 200 wpm with their thumbs, I’m more of the touch-typist, like when I practically taught myself on late nights sitting on the couch at our old house on the lake.  IRC was a great teacher when it came to learning typing.  Take that, typing class at RCS!  Ahem.

It’s now almost 9 and about ready to get going with getting the trash and recycling out to the curb.  Don’t have to fight for bathroom time and hopefully things will go smoothly from here on out.  The wife has come downstairs, we’ve chatted about what else we’re going to be doing post-appointment (she wants to shop for more plants, I need to see if that fuel line is available and there’s lunch to consider) and she’s headed for her (working) computer in the addition.

Onward!

Bright and Early

There’s one Monday out of every month that I have to be up at 3:15 am for work.  Those are ‘Inventory Mondays’ and they’re a bitch as I get older.  I hate to say this, and believe me I knew eventually I would be saying this, as a matter of fact I’ve often thought about when I was younger saying this, but when I was younger, this was easier.  As I get older, it seems it’s harder to get up at odd times, I’m becoming more of a creature of habit, or preference if you will.  Working in retail, there are first, second and third shifts, though ‘night crew’ (overnight stocking) generally is something you ask to do, not be asked to do.  Since you’re going against your body’s normal circadian rhythms, there’s a reason that graveyard workers are paid a little better than their daytime counterparts.

I’ve spent the vast majority of my career working third shift.  12 years stocking shelves for three different companies, as well as another 12 years working in a bakery department for one of them.  So, 24 years of working nights, but I can say the bakery work was the most rewarding for me, even though at times it was the hardest.  Even now I have residual effects from that work, I have recurring wrist pain that might have something to do with carpal tunnel, since there were years and years of kneading countless rounds of dough for my job.  I never bothered to get the surgery, and about 3 years ago I lifted a case of chicken oddly and sprained (my thought) my right wrist and its never been the same since.  I wear a brace to bed at night, I’ve had physical therapy and even talked to a surgeon about it.  He said that he might be able to do something with it, but there are no guarantees, and since I work in a job with repetitive motion (as well as lifting boxes weighing 40-80 lbs) I could easily re-injure it just by working.

So for the time being, I work during the day, and one day a month I get up at the crack of 3:15 in order to be to work by 5.  Call it a necessary evil.  I know very well it could be a lot worse, because I’ve been in jobs where it’s been worse.  So I’m thankful right now it’s just that one day a month.  I’d rather not go back to working 3rd if I can help it.  I figure I have about 13 more years of work before I can retire.  Best I do it where I don’t have to drive an ungodly amount to get there, and its something that I want to be doing, as opposed to something I have to be doing.

 

Scurry!

It may have not been the first day of summer, but man did it feel like it.  Sunday mornings are busy to begin with, what with the new ad breaking, and there is inevitably someone shopping early.  Of course that morning was the eve of a day that was forecast to be in the 80s, with possible thunderstorms in the afternoon.  Perfect day for grilling, so we were going to need to have as much product in the displays as possible to offset the hungry hordes.

Except the fact that the person entrusted with ordering a lot of the sale items, forgot to.  Can we say “oops”?  Yes, we can.  Though that didn’t help the people later in the afternoon who were irate and unhappy and making it known not only to myself, but my manager, HIS manager and so on.  It was just a miasma from 6:30 am to 3 pm and I was literally running my behind off for the majority of it.

As a rule I don’t take breaks in my job.  When I was with another company and worked in their bakery, I didn’t take breaks then either.  There were actually times (too many to mention as I recall) I went to the time-clock, punched for lunch, and went back to work, setting a timer in the department so I’d know when to go back to the time-clock to punch back in for the ‘official’ continuation of my shift.  Highly illegal from a labor rules standpoint, but oftentimes when you’re pressed for time, you have zero help, you do what you have to do and hang the consequences.  My department manager knew about it, but she just shook her head and let me.  Because she knew if I took my required breaks during the day, the work wouldn’t get done every night.

Now that I’m with this company, I take my required lunch break every day.  Because I’m required to.  Only because in this job, I’d get terminated if I chose to repeat the above history.  Breaks are a different manner, at least in my labor contract.  They’re optional.  If I don’t wish to, I don’t have to take them.  By and large, the vast majority of my co-workers do.  Seeing as they’re younger, and usually of a different generation, they seem compelled to take them.  And by all rights would take more of them if they could, I suppose.

I was very glad when the end of my shift happened to roll around.  Even so, as I’m writing this, there were a couple of things I didn’t get to.  And I know, (boy, do I know) no one else in the department did them after I left.  So they’ll be there waiting for me when I get back there Monday morning.  Seeing as this is going to be posted on Tuesday, this will be technically ‘yesterday’ for those keeping score.  Scheduling posts is a wonderful thing, but it does make you have to think about what time frame you’re referring to.  Tomorrow is yesterday, a penny saved is a penny earned.  Today is a gift, that’s why it’s called the ‘present’.

Yup, I’m getting punchy.  Time for bed.