Sweaty Spice, the other Spice Girl

One thing that I fucking hate with the fire of the Sun, is the concept of “growth hacking”. If you are unfamiliar with the term, google it, and if you aren’t enraged by it, its practitioners, and their arrogance and shitty attitudes, well, you probably should stop reading me.

That said, in the last 18 months or so that we have been living with Covid, and (at least for me) working from my home office, I have some good news of how my life has actually improved.

Grocery Shopping

Top of the list is getting victuals in the local supermarket. I used to work from home pretty consistently on Fridays, so after my early meetings on Fridays, I would head to the local supermarket (Nob Hill in my case) and do my major shopping. I would land there about 11:30AM, and well, it was Senior Citizen hour, and I would have to navigate around aisles jammed with slow moving people, who were oblivious to anyone else around them.

Now, I plan it so that mid week, I land at the store between 8:30 and 9, and it is blissful. A lot fewer people, and people with a purpose, there to shop, not to browse. I am in and out a lot quicker.

Additionally, many of the other shoppers at that hour are the Instacart and other similar shopping services. Again, they were laser focused on fulfilling their orders and getting out and on with their next set of orders.

Huge win.

Costco

We are a small family (my wife and I, plus our two furkids) so we don’t need a lot at Costco, but it does have great prices on staples like toilet paper and they have the best bulk dog treats. I go about every other month to stock up.

Pre-Covid, I would go on my Fridays, or brave a weekend crowd. If you have been to a Costco on a Saturday afternoon, well, you have my sympathy.

Now, I target Tuesdays and just after they open. Light crowds, usually well stocked, and what used to be a chore is now a breeze.

Thanks Covid!

Remote Control Cars

My addition to my pool of hobbies during the pandemic has been RC Cars. At first I was mostly driving in the street in front of my house, possible because I live on a small spur street that doesn’t get through traffic. However, I am always on the hunt for new driving grounds.

Best place is the parking lot of the local light rail “Park and Ride” center. Virtually empty since commute traffic has been light, I charge my batteries and head out for some trigger pulling. Awesome.

Chores

I already did a fair amount of household chores, by choice. I have always felt that I needed to pull my weight (and that fact that I lived alone for a long time taught me to just do the dishes, laundry, and cleaning as needed helps). But now I am doing most of the laundry, more than half the dishes, and a lot more of the day to day. No complaints, I find that a break in the work day to fold laundry is a nice distraction. Running to the store is not a chore, but an excursion, mask and all.

Home Office

I had a "den" where my guitars live, my computer, and desk, and a few other accoutrements, so I was in better shape than many peers. However a few things surfaced early in the work from home mandate period.

My office chair, a Staples special that cost about $100 was killing my back. It was never designed for 8 hours a day of use. Those office chairs that are in your actual office, well, there's a reason they are not $100, and are closer to $1000. Ergonomics are one of the keys. A good Herman Miller, or Steelcase chair will run to nearly a grand to closer to two grand.

I didn't buy new, but found a used Herman Miller Mirra chair from a liquidator for about $400. I then learned one of the key reasons why these chairs cost so damn much. They are well built. The hydraulic ram is much stronger than the generics from China. And, when you wear out a part, or break something, You can buy replacement parts. And they aren't too expensive.

The chair I bought had really awful arm rests. But I found replacements (it involved getting a conversion to allow my to install the Mirra 2 arm rests) and for $80, it is as good as new.

I have a second monitor (that required modification of my work desk) and now I have a better workstation than when I was in the office. I added the CVO option from work (Cisco Virtual Office) that is a router that I plug into my cable modem, and I get a magical replication of the corporate network in my house. No more reliance on VPN. Better security, and experience. Who needs the office?

Final words

Covid has sucked. I have been forced to become comfortable working at home, and that will continue as my job can be remote. Most of my team is not local, and with our new manager being in Florida, it makes no sense to slog into the office 3 or 4 days a week. I can get more done at home, my dogs love it, but I haven’t totally come to grips with it.

I always figured I could force time to bicycle or exercise in my days, but that is inconsistent (the damn schedule, and people not respecting time block offs). In the coming year, I need to get better at forcing that issue.

Still, looking for a better work-life balance needs more attention.

You’ve successfully subscribed to Sweaty's Corner
Welcome back! You’ve successfully signed in.
Great! You’ve successfully signed up.
Your link has expired
Success! Check your email for magic link to sign-in.