July 26, 2020

Whether one is an active participant or not, the third weekend of July – Goodboys Invitational weekend marks the apex of summer. Far more so in the northern climes like New England, where soon after Goodboys comes August and the soft, dreamy combination of cloudy humid days and the first real indications that the days are indeed getting shorter and soon it will be Labor Day and that lovely, short period known as “late summer” before stores start advertising back-to-school sales and putting out the chrysanthemums. Before you know it, the nights start getting cool and fall is upon you.

it’s not quite like that here in the Valley of the Sun, but even here – most especially working at a swimming pool supply store – you can tell we’re past the apex of the season. Sales start slackening off given the fact that the chemicals everyone needed in order to get their pools ready for the 4th of July and the season beyond have all been sold. Sure, we’ve still got new customers coming in trying to get their pools swimmable for the remainder of the season, but the big bucks have pretty much all been spent.

I can tell because the powers-that-be have (thankfully) already reduced our Sunday hours from a ghastly 9 AM to 6 PM to a more reasonable (and tolerable) 10 AM to 5 PM. And while I’m expecting the 9 AM openings on Monday – Saturday to continue for a few weeks, I’m guessing the 7 PM closes will be brought back to a more reasonable 6 PM. My hours are already starting to be reduced, and frankly, that’s a good thing – I never really wanted to work four days a week and the 32 hours a week I’m currently working. I’m slowly being brought back to a more reasonable 28 hours a week, but even at that I’m looking forward to the end of September when, supposedly, the terms of my current gig will be up.

Not that I’ve minded it all that much – after all, the goal was to make as much additional money I could while still getting my severance pay from my former employer while learning new skills that I could take forward to give me some minimal income and a few days out of the house each week for the next couple of years. That mission has been accomplished, and then some – the district sales manager actually offered me a full-time, associate store manager position if I wanted it – but the current gig has met all my expectations.

Outside of having to work Sundays (something I plan on avoiding once September is past) I’ve enjoyed this gig quite a bit. Not the least bit has been the physical work – not just being on your feet 6-8 hours a day, but lugging buckets of chlorine tabs, pool sand, and pool salt has resulted in my getting back into shape as much physically as if I had started going back to the gym. I’ve lost eight pounds (back to my fighting weight of 162) and have regained some nice muscle tone in my pecs, arms, and legs. My doctor was very pleased at my annual physical last Thursday, and I’m feeling better mentally and physically than I have since I can remember.

As Goodboy “Goose” suggested back in March when I was first sacked, this whole experience has been a blessing in disguise. Would it have been nice to have ridden the meat grinder for another 2 1/2 years? Perhaps, at least financially. But I’ve since discovered that I was long past due for a break. I was beaten down mentally, physically, and spiritually. And while I haven’t yet had the time to decompress the way I would like and have time for self-reflection, maybe I’m not quite ready for that amount of down-time yet; while four days of pool supply work a week is too much I don’t think I’d want anything less than three, as I know I would start getting itchy about things.

So it has been a very good transition into somewhat semi, early retirement. The summer here in the Valley of the Sun still has another 2 1/2 months to go before the heat breaks, but I’m really looking to fall to become a time for the self-reflection and taking stock of things I so much need. I want to travel back to Massachusetts to see my dad, walk in some colorful woods, perhaps play some golf with my Goodboys friends, and listen to Gordon Lightfoot and classical music. And while it still indeed is summer, 2020 (among other things) will go down as the Year Without a Summer. No golf. No Goodboys. No Sam Adams Summer Ale. No surf music. No travel. Just a minimum-wage gig working at a pool supply store trying to make as much hay while the sun shines.

It’s unlike anything I’ve felt before. And I kinda like it where I am, after the apex.

Filed in: Uncategorized by The Great White Shank at 22:19 | Comments (0)
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