On the plus side, I've reduced my gravitational pull by a full 15 pounds, we've made some much needed repairs to the van with a few more planned, and added quite a few kitchen appliances to the trailer including a microwave and new crock-pot. We've enjoyed meeting and visiting with some of the other campers, and we've experienced the joy of being recognized and greeted while out shopping. The only other place that happens is Crescent City.
On the negative side of the balance sheet, though, is the physical pain from the high level of activity that we were not adequately prepared for, the expenses for work shoes, OTC pain medication, and the frustrations associated with working for people who lack skills we've come to expect from managers. Being treated disrespectfully by young people who haven't a clue about who we are and what we know is uncomfortable, and the whole factory setting that treats employees like cattle is a royal pain in the proverbial drain.
We work what's known as the donut shift, but we don't get donuts. It means we work two days with one management team, skip a day, then work two days with the other daytime management team. You'd think that both teams would be operating out of the same handbook, but there are differences and remembering who wants what is frustrating at times. Several work practices are mandatory on one of the shifts and verboten on the other. One has a happy, helpful, "we're all on one team" approach, while the other has the most unhappy, "I gotta get MY numbers, so screw you" attitude, it's unreal. That's been difficult to work in for a couple of reasons. First, the job curtails personal freedom and expression just because of what it is we are doing, and also because at this point in our lives we've become accustomed to a retirement lifestyle and having to punch a time clock and submit to security checks and having our lunch bag examined is annoying.
The biggest issue for most of us recently, however, is that the break room and bathroom closest to our work area is being remodeled and is inaccessible. So on the 15 minute break, which you lose at least 5 minutes of walking out of your work area, you have to add a lengthy hike to get to a toilet. No allowance has been made for people to travel this extra distance, and we are told we must stay at our stations right up until the moment the clock ticks over to the designated break time. So if I try to use the facilities on my scheduled break, I literally only get to sit as long as it takes to urinate, and I can just barely get back to my work station before I'm deemed late.
Lunches have been a nightmare, because it's literally a 7 or 8 minute walk from where we end our morning shift to the security checkpoint at the break room, so we lose almost half of our lunch break just getting to our lunch. Then if we happen to trigger the alarm, which my new bra did one day, we have to empty our pockets and go be scanned with a wand ... and our names get put on a list ... and there goes another 2 to 5 minutes. The break room is very large, but there are no entrances at the back due to security issues, so you literally have to walk the length of the room, go through security, and then walk all the way back to your lunch. I've become the fastest eater ever in my attempts to consume enough food to sustain me for the course of my second half work day. I'm very relieved to find that yesterday the back break room had been reopened, although it didn't yet have the ice machine or refrigerators back in place. What I'm most anxious about, though, is the reopening of the restroom. I hope it's operational again next week.
I've spent a great deal of time pondering this whole situation, and also working hard at adjusting my own attitude so that I can survive this without a mental break down. This job doesn't use any of my skills other than eye hand coordination and physical strength and stamina. They don't want me to think ... just move faster. I'm trying, but there's a limit to how fast an oldish body like this one can adapt. I get so tired that I'm falling asleep almost as soon as we get home, sometimes I don't even want to eat. Then when I get a day off, I end up sleeping 12 to 14 hours. Makes the time go by faster, but sure makes it feel as though all I do is work. I'm hoping that as I get stronger and develop some additional endurance (and reduce my mass along the way) that going faster will become easier.
I play mind games with myself to help with the stress. I tell myself that I'm being paid to lose weight, that I'm an athlete in training, and that this stint will not only pay for my products at the Trade Show in March, but also that I will be ready to walk the aisles without collapsing. The last Trade Show we attended, we walked so much the first day, that the next day I felt like my legs were going to pop out of my hip sockets. It was a really strange and painful feeling, but thankfully it passed after a few days of rest and lighter activity.
So here I am at the beginning of the second two-days-off-in-a-row weekend in my big Up The River adventure, looking forward to some Facebook time, getting some cleaning and organizing of the Argosy done, and visiting with our new friends. I know it's going to slip by quickly, so I intend to savor every moment. I think it's Ram Dass who always says, "Be Here Now" ... and that's my motto for this weekend.