Monday, June 27, 2016

New Job for Hubby

You know that big box store that everyone loves to hate on? The one with the Smiley Face 😀?  The one that isn't red?  Yeah, that one. 

Hubby works there. He's worked there for almost 20 years.  Listening to people hate on my hubby's workplace pisses me off because, generally speaking, it's perfectly clear that whatever supposed slight they're protesting - they've only heard about it from a guy who knows a guy who knows a guy who knows a guy who made it all up in the first place!  If you are a good employee, than this is a good place to work. If you're a shitty employee, then no, it's not a good place to work. This place shouldn't have to put up with bullshit employees, and generally, they don't. 

Granted, I will asterisk my statement with this - Hubby's place is a LOT BETTER than many other stores I've been to. Even within my own town.  We have three. I've not yet been to the newest one yet (it's in an extremely busy and crowded part of town that I avoid at all costs). The first one we got in town is on the "poorer" side of town, and it shows.  Within days - DAYS - of the store opening, there were stains on the floors, broken fixtures and the employees didn't seem to care. I wondered if this was something that all superstores had to deal with. Then Hubby's store opened - they transferred from the small, regular place to a new superstore a few miles up the road.  Same type of floors, same type of fixtures, obviously same type of store... completely different vibe.  Rarely is it messy (and I shop there on Saturday afternoons, when it's busy), the employees seem to care about their jobs and their customers. Shelves are stocked, and organized.  

Okay, so why am I saying all this?  Well, part of it is because I hate people who bitch about this store and I needed to vent... Otherwise, I'm just setting the scene.

Hubby started at this store working nights as a stock man. You know, the guys who have to go out and get the carts, or load your car?  Yeah. It was a shitty job.  August in Florida at 6pm and you're chasing carts in a hot-ass parking lot? It sucked.  But it paid the bills and fit our family's schedule.  Eventually, he was able to transfer inside to being a cashier.  Soon, we were able to change schedules (as the Kiddo got older) and he could work during the daytime.  A few years later, he moved to the Garden Center (where, sadly, he was outside again!)   He was there for quite a few years, too, but he loved it. It wasn't super busy at those registers, and many of the customers he saw were regulars.  Also, because of this position (and his seniority), he had a great schedule of Sunday through Thursday.  He was considered Part Time, due to the number of hours he worked, but still qualified for health insurance. It was a pretty good gig (if not a badly paying one).

Once the superstore opened up, there was no delineation of "Garden Center Cashier" any more (which meant that any cashier could work at any register), so he transitioned to just "Cashier." He did that for a few months before being tapped to also be in charge of restocking all those little things around the register (candy, gum, impulse items, etc).  

About this time, there was a change in company policy - Part Time employees no longer qualified for health care.  Yeah, that hurt our wallet, big time.  

So, that brings us to last week. There was talk of a new position opening up, in the Cash Office.  Many people contacted Hubby to see if he was interested, but he of course wanted to run in by me first. It would be a Full Time position (which means health care again), but his schedule would change drastically - he'd lose his weekends off.  His new schedule would be 5am (holy shit!) to 2pm (okay, that's nice), Thursday through Monday (meaning, he'd work Friday, Saturday and Sunday, every week).  We talked about it for a bit and we thought it was doable. We're a one-car family, so he would need to rely on me to get him to work that early.  He could (and already did) take the bus home afterward.  It wouldn't affect the kiddo too much, since I take her to and from school (Mom's Taxi, anyone?).  

We decided to take up the manager's offer to try it out for a week, and it actually worked out pretty well.   5am isn't too much different from 6:30am (which is when we used to get up).  We would leave the house around 4:45am - traffic would be non-existent and many lights would be in flash-mode. I'd return home afterward and either hop on the treadmill or hop back in bed for two hours. 

After a week, he checked his work schedule and saw that he was continuing to be scheduled for this new position. So, apparently, it was made official!  He's now full-time, with benefits, and a nice raise to boot.  He's only a buck or so away from what I make per hour, too!

So, what does this mean for ME?  Well, I have to haul my ass out of bed a LOT earlier than I used to.  Five days a week, I'll be up at 4:30. Once I get home, though, I have lots of time before I have to get ready for work. I plan on using this time for exercise and running.  I've heard about this cool website called Fitness Blender that has lots of free workout videos.  I'll alternate between those and running and maybe I can get myself back on track of weight loss instead of weight gain

Here's to new beginnings!!

Sunday, June 5, 2016

Beck 5k Race Report

 Today was the 2nd annual (and my second time running it) Beck 5k run in Palatka FL.

The drive was quick, beautiful and uneventful.

Is there anything nicer than sunrises on an empty country road?
I didn't arrive as early as last year, so I had to park a bit further out - by "a bit" I mean probably 500 feet?  I was still about a block away!

View towards the Start Area from my car
This was an empty lot last year (who needs a Hampton in Palatka, though?)
Since I was later, packet pick-up was busier, and just like last year, they had lots of kids (probably the kids of Beck employees) helping out.  I think it was just as bad as last year (which is to say, bad, but not terribly so).

Still a cluster, but not a big one

This year, we got a cool insulated lunch box as our packet bag. I'm always on the look-out for a good insulated bag! (We got a shirt too, of course, but I forgot to take a photo of it - it's the same blue one as seen in the photos above).

Insulated bag, with zip top and side zip pocket, and water

After returning to the car to gear up, I hit the pottie, which was busier than I expected.

Pee faster, people! We got to run!
Bounce house for the kids
Mass exodus to the Start Line
Within minutes of potty time, it was time to hit up the start line! Glad I can pee fast!

We sang the National Anthem and then we were off. I won't lie - this is a pretty basic race. Not a lot was memorable!

Action Shot! (I didn't finish with any of those people!)
Already near the back, yay me!
And... he passed me
The Orange Shirt Guy was an ARC guy
I missed the Mile 1 marker, but we're already at Mile 2, which is much shadier (so, much cooler!)

Yay, water! And shade!
Also, this is the part of the race where you can see who's on their way to the finish line, because it's the "back" part of "out and back."

Cones? We don't need no stinkin' cones!
The houses that face the river are beautiful, and one of the houses had a Book Exchange.  In that little white box by the sidewalk is a bunch of books. Neighbors can leave books for others to read, or pick up a book to read for themselves.  I love this idea (it's been popping up everywhere in the past few years), but I know that in my neighborhood, my library would be cleaned out by thieves within hours.

Beautiful river-front house and library
Good morning!
Mile 3! That means the finish is around the corner!

Almost there!
This year the ARC cheer squad was right near the Mile 3 sign.

Everyone smile!
I can see the finish!

Here I come!
  Official finishing photo, with terrible time!

My official time was 53:10, which is one of my worst times ever.  I seem to be going slower than I used to be, and it's pissing me off royally!

Once I crossed the finish line, I was given a wet washcloth that had been in a bucked of ice water (not just water, but water with ICE!), and a nice, frosty bottle of water. They also had misting fans set up this year to cool off the runners.  I doubled-back and grabbed another washcloth for my chest (it helps me cool down faster!)

Ice, Ice, Washcloth... wait, what?
Play Misty for me?
It's hard to see, but I'm soaking wet from sweat
I stuck around for a bit, taking fun pictures with my medal. I was happy to see that the fountain was on this time!

Medal Glamour Shot 1
Medal Glamour Shot 2
I grabbed some lunch before I left - they had bags of random snacks, plus some Quiznos and Papa John's Pizza. I only got pizza and a sandwich.

Post-Race refreshments
Pizza and Quizno's Sub
But, before leaving I also scored a grape sno-cone!

I'm a sucker for a Sno-Cone
After leaving, I made my way to the Beautiful Palatka Mall! Okay, it's not beautiful, and I don't think you can even call it a mall.  There is a Penney's on one end, and a trashy clothing store on the other, and the VA benefits office (or something government-related) in the middle! 

Um, are they open?
I think this is where people in Palatka get murdered...
And, as you can expect, the JCP was pretty shitty.  The women's section was about 3 racks, pushed so close together I couldn't fit between them (and if I can't, imagine a bigger gal trying to fit!).  I did score a few O.P.I. polishes on clearance - one was $2, one was $5!

After that depressing shopping excursion, I just grabbed lunch and headed home. Next year I'll just go to Jax or St. Augustine afterward!