Continuing from where I left off, on July 18 I left at 7:25 PM, first having a quick look in the Carrefour from the park, looking for frozen pizza that was cheaper than what I’d find at Kaufland, dad having asked for some. But I didn’t see any, so I then went to the newer Kaufland, getting there at 8:10 PM when it was closing at 9 PM, so I first washed my hands and then checked the bakery area, seeing an employee placing the labels with the 75% discounts. She hadn’t yet placed one for the bread I get from there, but there was just one left and I was completely out, so I grabbed it, wondering whether it’ll be 75% off when I’ll get to the checkout, but the employee didn’t place that label when she saw there were none left when she got there and it was still 50% off in the end. Either way, I grabbed one more thing from there, and then one more after first getting some expiring breads for dad, then got some yogurt that was on sale, and then finally looked for frozen pizzas and found some of their brand that were cheap enough, getting a few before going back to also grab discounted cucumbers and onions and rushing to the self-checkout. The machine was telling me to place the correct product on the scales when I placed the cucumbers though, even though the weight was correct, and I actually checked again on the scales that are on that hallway after leaving, when I also used those scales to get some labels that I used to close the bag with the bakery products. But, to return to the self-checkout, I also had a discounted kohlrabi, which was in a bag and had a label, so it needed to be scanned and it wouldn’t scan, but I just left it there, not asking for the employee again and rushing to get out at closing time.
It was only after leaving that I noticed that I had an SMS from dad, sent probably just when I got in line at the self-checkouts, or maybe as I was rushing towards them, asking me to get a couple more things, but it was too late to go back. So I returned to Carrefour, getting there at 9:30 PM when it closes at 10 PM, got a few things from there as well and got back here a little before 10:20 PM. On the way up, however, I saw that the door to the garbage room on this floor was open, a bag like the ones we have was just there, a beer can was clearly visible in it, and dad had said earlier that it reeked and he’ll just leave our trash there when he’ll go out. So I asked whether he threw away a beer can in the trash, and after first saying he didn’t know and doesn’t look, he eventually admitted it and we argued, I shouted, at Micky too since she kept meowing at that point, and then went silent, just telling him to go to the bathroom if he wanted to before I showered, after having another late lunch, finished right at midnight. Started eating dinner at 3:10 AM.
On July 19, I went out at 4 PM, going back to this store I won those vouchers for after this summer’s Dream Trek. Looked at some shoes, grabbed four kinds, tried them on, but only those I was least interested in were size 42, and that 42 was clearly large, so I asked whether they had any of them in 41.5 or 42, and just in 41.5 for that one, and the employee returned after quite some time to tell me that they didn’t. That made me think I’ll need to perhaps take another long walk to Baneasa, since they also have a store there and that’s likely to have a larger stock, but then I saw that the other shoe on display of the kind that was available in size 42 but was large was size 40.5, yet the sizes listed in other systems were 8 for USA and 26 cm, which are the same as those listed on the label of the old shoes I was wearing, even though those list an EU size of 42, so I tried those on and they seemed all right at that moment. Admittedly, I also wanted them to fit, to get it over with, and rather rushed, but in the end, even if they were the ones I was least interested in out of those I had initially picked, I said I’ll get them, along with a running belt and a t-shirt, adding up to exactly 300 RON, which was the amount the voucher covered. Had tried and checked the two size M t-shirts of that kind on display, then asked whether they had any in size S as well, again being told that they didn’t, so I made do with M.
Well, things weren’t straightforward at checkout, but at first that was for a good reason, because both the belt and the t-shirt scanned for a lower price than the listed one, so when I saw that, and that I needed something else in order to use the voucher, I ran and grabbed that other size M t-shirt of that kind, getting the total to 302 RON. Then I showed the picture of the voucher on my phone and the cashier called someone else, who apparently knew what to do with those… Only for that other employee to tell me that, even though I had been told, when I asked by e-mail, that just telling my name should be enough, I should have printed out the voucher or forwarded them the e-mail in order to verify it, and I obviously couldn’t do that on the spot. But I gave her my ID card, she looked on the list of winners, eventually found me and accepted the voucher, yet told me that I should nevertheless bring them the printed vouchers, in color, when or if I’ll come to also use the other one, offering just 50% off the full price, and I heard her mention to a coworker that there was just one list of names and, while I was on it, she couldn’t know whether I had actually won both or not. And, while the e-mail had stated that winners would be given a membership card when they’ll use the vouchers, offering 20% off future purchases, I was told they couldn’t do that because the cards weren’t ready. But I actually consider that to be a good thing, since I avoid such programs… Though, admittedly, after I showed my ID card in order to use the voucher, that store already had my information.
By the time I walked out, it was too late to get back at 6 PM, as planned, so I also went to that Carrefour, grabbing expiring eggs and some potatoes, then put those new shoes on as I was about to leave that mall. They felt tight on the way back though, yet in spite of that I decided to just change my pants with the tights, leaving the regular t-shirt on, eat an apple, drink the rest of the tea, and go back out just after 8:10 PM, for a run in the new shoes. I clearly didn’t get them for running, but to replace the old ones I wear on the street, and the way they fit obviously wasn’t going to allow me to really run in them, but I wanted to see how they’d feel, taking a while to try different ways to tie the shoelaces before leaving, and then doing that again, probably for even longer, while sitting on a bench after I got to the park. I eventually found a way that seemed to take away most of the pain they caused in one place, which seemed the worst issue at first, but others remained. Yet I ran anyway.
The time was 52:20, with sector times of 4:35, 5:28, 6:17, 4:51, 5:29, 6:31, 5:00, 5:45, 6:27 and 1:57, making for lap times of 16:20, 16:51 and 17:12. For some reason I didn’t have another look at the stopwatch to at least write the exact total time, and that of the last sector, and then forgot all about it until after the next run, so I have no exact times at all for this one. Not that they’d matter, since it’s a new worst time since I ran while still recovering from that bad flu, in January of 2019, “beating” the one from June 22, but I guess I had excuses that time, with those shoes punishing my feet and after having walked quite a few kilometers, and in fact at first I feared I’d need to only aim for 54 minutes. I’m not even entirely certain of that 5:00 on sector one of lap three, and therefore also the 5:45 on the next sector, since it eventually got dark, I was trying to press both the light and interval buttons and my leg was still in the air when I did, perhaps not having quite reached what I consider to be the end of the sector, but I’ll go with it. And, while I did slow a few times in order to see better, this stopwatch is indeed better when it comes to the light, quite fine in the dark and relatively visible even in low light, though that period, before it actually gets dark, remains an issue.
I didn’t check the temperature when I left, but I saw when I got back that around 27°C was reported at 9 PM, and it was almost 8:40 PM when I started running. The park was crowded though, so there was weaving, going the long way around, squeezing through, searching for paths and taking to the grass, including on straights. Managed to avoid actually stopping until the end of the second sector, but at that point, under the bridge, a big roadblock made me lose a few seconds. Another brief stop came on the next sector, for another roadblock, and another on sector one of lap two, because of cyclists coming quickly when I had to cross the lane. Should have been able to just do so ahead of them, but that crash is obviously still on my mind and I guess I froze for a moment. Then I just avoided stops on the next sector, though under the bridge I took a couple of steps pretty much at a walk, and on sector three I went behind that stall where people tend to gather. Another brief stop was in front of a different stall on sector three of lap three, and I believe I again went behind that other one, though I wasn’t sure of it by the time I got back. There might have been another brief stop earlier on lap three, but couldn’t quite recall that either.
Assessed the damage after I got back, seeing blood on the right shoe, since it really hurt me on the outside of the ankle, and a broken blister on the little toe of the left foot, a new and large blister forming there after I showered. Just some redness on the little toe of the right foot though, and even less redness on the outside of the left ankle. And at the back they actually seemed a bit large, so the shape seems odd, or at least not agreeing with that of my feet. But there seemed to be a somewhat better option available, since when I checked the site, before showering, I saw size 41 also listed as available for that model at that location, and the table stated that 41 for that model meant 8.5 for USA and 26.5 cm, which is what’s on the label of my current running shoes, even though those are also size 42. So after the shower I cleaned the new shoes and at night I sent e-mails to this location of the store and also to the woman who sent me the vouchers, explaining that I had been there that day and got those shoes and asking if they could confirm that they also had size 41 there, or even in another location in Bucharest, apologizing for the trouble and saying I hoped I’ll be able to exchange the ones I got with a 41. Otherwise, started eating dinner at 3:20 AM. And only got in bed at 6:25 AM, staying to watch something first.
On July 20, I woke up scratching a spot on my left arm, eventually seeing red and a bit of swelling, another spot becoming noticeable later, towards the elbow, and hours later I spotted one more, on the right arm. And they, or at least those from the left arm, sure kept itching, and after leaning on that elbow for a while, forgetting that I had that bite there, that one got a lot worse and was badly swollen at night. So I really should have used bug spray before going out to run at that hour…
Either way, while there was no reply from the store to that e-mail, there was one from the woman who had sent me the vouchers, saying that of course I could exchange the shoes and she’ll tell them to have the size 41 ones ready, and also repeating that I didn’t need to print that voucher unless I happen to have a color printer around. So at 9 PM I rushed out, getting to the store just before 9:25 PM when it closed at 10 PM. And they did have the shoes ready, with a note with my name on the box, the woman who was there saying it was no trouble when I apologized for the trouble, though she mentioned in a rather reproving manner that they did need that voucher printed too, again going against what I kept being told by the one replying to my e-mails. Also, as I tried those shoes on and walked around the store for a bit, I heard the two cashiers mutter to each other and the guy was saying that “he” should have gotten there earlier to try things on, not make them wait at that hour. I’m not entirely sure I was the “he” in question, but they did seem to be looking towards me, though a couple of other customers were also in the store at the time. Either way, when I confirmed that I’ll take them, they had to call someone in order to be told the procedure, but they eventually sorted it out and a mere 15 minutes after walking in I walked out. Didn’t put the new shoes back on though, giving my feet a rest.
Went to Kaufland after that, finding watermelon at a decent price again, and dad had said that my mother had asked for some and he meant to buy it from another place, at a significantly higher price, so I got two. At one point, a woman suddenly held one that kept falling over those I was trying to look at, so after thanking her and selecting the second one out of those, I helped her as well, eventually lifting one she wanted, but it sure was hard to reach and dig through the remaining watermelons in that tall box… Otherwise, also got a few things that had the evening discount applied, and took photos of some other things my mother wanted, so she’ll know exactly what’s available and the price, since the discount that was to be applied to certain types of products from certain brands as of the next day was a percentage… Not that it helped, since dad apparently didn’t even send them to her, telling me to only get what was in the picture in the catalog, though those were only examples. But at least it gave me something to do as I waited for 10:30 PM, in case the evening discounts would increase again. But they didn’t, so I eventually made my way to the self-checkout, having no issues with the machine but being about to piss myself by that point, so I stuffed everything in a larger cabinet and rushed to the bathroom, then retrieved the purchases and was at the building entrance at 11:15 PM.
On July 21, the alarm woke me up at 10 AM, since I had signed up to volunteer to make packages for people from Rosia Montana affected by floods. Listed myself as available starting at noon, hoping I’ll manage to leave quickly, but it was 12:05 PM when I walked out, after just wasting time on the toilet even though I definitely felt I had to go and then pretty uselessly, as I already mentioned, discussing what my mother wanted with dad. And then even more time passed until I actually got on my way, turning around after a little while and getting back to the building entrance, since I couldn’t find the shopping list, only deciding to check the backpack and finding it there, where I didn’t remember putting it, right before going back up. Had also taken a fish can with me, to drop in a recycling bin, and when I turned around I left it on the sidewalk, but I picked it back up when I reached that spot again and threw it in the proper bin. But at least there were no other issues on the way there, just stopping to pee at the Auchan from Vitan.
Once I did reach that location, however, the gate guard called after me, asking where I wanted to go, and after I told him he said I had to go all around, on that road with no sidewalk, adding that it wasn’t allowed to go that way and making a worried comment about what’d have happened if one of the bosses would have seen me when I told him I had taken a more direct route before, twice. So I went that way, also asking the next guard I saw, to make sure there really was no other way. Then, when I was approaching the actual location, another guy asked what he could help me with and told me to wave at the people in that tent, so they’ll open the gate. It took them a while to notice me though, as they were just having lunch when I got there, around 1:30 PM.
Anastasia asked whether I was hungry, but I said I had just arrived, thinking there will either be another break or, if we’ll finish earlier, I’ll eat at the end, so she gave me some instructions and I went right to work. I was also asked whether I was vaccinated, being told that in that case the mask was optional, though we were inside, but while others didn’t I chose to take one and wear it anyway, keeping mine for other times. I should have also taken gloves, however, but I refused those and ended up with some blood on my hands while struggling to close boxes, after already having some scrapes on my hands after trying on shoes. But I guess I did my part, putting products in bags and bags in boxes, closing boxes… Couldn’t lift the boxes though. And it was quite unpleasant that the lids weren’t placed properly on the jars of zacusca, and that was obviously how they had been shipped from the manufacturer, since they were shrink-wrapped but we had to tighten the lids, and even ended up putting a few jars aside, since the lids were almost completely off.
Towards the end, I also checked bags, a guy who I guess was there with his father seeming to really rush and not just not arrange things properly but also forget to add some products, or perhaps tie a bag before someone else finished putting everything in it, since I found a few bags with missing items. And I knew said father, though I’m not sure how, and he also obviously knew me, calling me by name at the end and asking whether I wanted a ride. But he left a bit after we ran out of things to do, since we didn’t have the products needed to complete the last few bags, and I stayed until the very end. Some had left right after lunch, so shortly after I got there, after having worked all morning, actually putting together most of the bags, and after those two also left at that point, a few of us remained to wait for the guy to come and take that second load of boxes, the first having been taken not long after I got there. I must admit that one reason why I stayed was that I was rather hoping for food, and had also considered grabbing a banana earlier, but I never said anything, nobody else mentioned food, I was some distance away when Anastasia asked someone else whether she wanted some bars, I think cereal bars, the remaining pizza boxes weren’t opened again, so I don’t know whether anything was even left in them, and that was that.
A storm seemed to be coming as we were getting ready to leave, but it fortunately didn’t, at least not until I was in Kaufland. So I was walking away from that place by 4:20 PM, much earlier than expected, and I only had the wind to deal with as I first went back to Auchan, peeing again and deciding to get food for Micky, noticing that it was on sale… Only to then see that it was going to have a much lower price in Mega Image during the first part of the following week. Either way, also got a bread and a chocolate for myself, then went to that newer Kaufland, only managed to put my things in the third cabinet I tried, and got what my mother wanted and some cheap bananas and cucumbers. Also meant to get some corn and a kohlrabi that were discounted because they were starting to spoil, but I wasn’t sure I could afford them, so it was a good thing that I eventually managed to find the spot where they should have been on the shelves and saw that they were imported, which made it easy to give up on them. Then I calculated everything carefully, to include the discounts that were to be applied at checkout, and went to the self-checkout… Which refused to accept that I had placed the grapefruits on the scales, so I had to call the employee over, and also reweighed them at that point and they ended up costing 0.01 RON less. And I saw quite a number of coins, including a 0.50 RON one, left in the next machine, so I grabbed them on my way out.
It was wet when I left the store, and after I got back dad said there had been a storm, but by that point it was only drizzling, and even that stopped after a little while. So I also went to that store that’s next to that Penny, asking for the smallest of the three pieces of the cheese I wanted that were left and finding that the price meant handing over all the bills I had left as well as some of the coins. I’d have had enough even without the coins found in that machine, but only barely… I wasn’t given a receipt though, and couldn’t get myself to ask for one.
Got back at 8:20 PM, thinking the weather would have been good for running if I’d have gone out right after that rain, being quite cool and the wind having pretty much vanished completely. It was a bit later, when I got back to my room, that I saw I had left the monitor on, and lines from the desktop background and icons were burned in. Saw such lines before and didn’t know what caused them, so at least I figured that out, and they went away again after a while. Otherwise, had lunch after dad left, while spending some time on-line, then showered, and after doing a few other things I was only really back in the kitchen around 1:30 AM, at which point I had to clean what dad had left after cooking, so I could only start making salad around 2:30 AM and started eating dinner at 3:30 AM. I just managed to get in bed at 5:15 AM, but then realized I hadn’t placed the bread bought from Auchan in the freezer, so I got back up to do that, handling it with my hands as they were, with hand cream on, but then realizing I had to wash that plate it had been on and ending up washing off the cream anyway.
The following night I started eating dinner at 3:15 AM, after having had lunch shortly after waking up, though I also had a large bag of corn puffs late in the evening. Then I did actually manage to get in bed at 5:15 AM and got up, with the alarm, at 2 PM, to watch the opening ceremony of the Olympics. During the ceremony, I did the day’s squats, since the time for the planned half marathon run was going to be awful anyway and tiring myself a little more wasn’t going to make much of a difference, had the usual stuff, with almonds and raisins in dark chocolate added in the yogurt and cereals, and since the ceremony ended up being almost an hour longer than it should have been, also sprayed myself with the bug spray, considering the bites I had ended up with after the previous run, before going to the toilet once it was over. Then I had a protein bar as well, put on the full running gear, with some things in the pocket of my tights, finished the tea and went out at 6:40 PM, when the reported temperature was about 27°C, supposed to drop by a couple of degrees by the time I’ll finish.
The time was 1:50:53, with sector times of 4:32, 5:11, 6:12, 4:39, 5:24, 6:12, 4:44, 5:23, 6:22, 4:53, 5:32, 6:24, 4:54, 5:41, 6:34, 4:56, 5:45, 6:31, 2:00, 7:03 and 2:01, making for lap times of 15:55, 16:15, 16:29, 16:49, 17:09 and 17:12, plus 11:04 for that final portion. The target times I had in mind at first added up to 1:54, then I changed them to add up to 1:53, not thinking it’d be any better than that and simply not calculating to realize that it was. Sort of thought I’ll stay under 1:52, but really didn’t realize I’ll be under 1:51 until I saw it, and that was despite the right shoelace coming undone on sector two of the final portion, resulting in that bad time, since it had ended up knotted as well, so I’d say it caused me to lose over 30 seconds, maybe around 40. But it’d have been frustrating without that loss of time, since I’d have ended up finishing in 1:50:15 or so, annoyingly close to staying under 1:50… Not that just staying under 1:50 wouldn’t still be an awful time.
The heat wasn’t actually that bad to begin with, but it still bothered me for a while and I definitely felt the difference later, when it got cooler and less sunny. As for physical issues, other than the lack of energy, my legs felt quite heavy at first and my right knee was also complaining a little, so the first sector was hard, I didn’t push and thought it’d be another awful run, but it got better after a while, only on sector three of lap six my right ankle, and again the right knee, giving some warnings. There were plenty of people though, so there was weaving, going the long way around, squeezing through, taking to the grass, a few times going quite wide while doing so, slowing… Sector two of lap two and sector two of lap five were the worst, with two roadblocks requiring brief stops on each, plus other moments when I had to slow or, in case of sector two of lap five, got pushed off the path by a girl on a bicycle, needing to go quite wide and around benches, since there were other people there as well. Only went behind that stall where people usually gather the last time I passed it, on the final portion, managing to squeeze through otherwise, even if that meant taking to the grass once or twice. There was another stall where the crowd made me briefly stop at one point, however.
After the run, I quickly checked the Mega Image next to the farmers’ market, then went to Auchan for what my mother had asked for. Got two though, considering the second one as an investment, since dad had told me to not buy things for us before we’re running out anymore, regardless of sales, since he won’t be able to pay me back for them, so I decided that if I’ll go against that, I won’t tell him about it and won’t ask for the money back at his next paycheck, but instead hold on to the products until we will need them and then ask him to “buy” them from me at the lowest price they’ll have at that point, obviously running a small risk of ending up at a loss, in case some amazing sale would take place just then, but most likely standing to make a pretty nice profit. But, to return to what happened in Auchan, the so-called “fast” checkouts, where you pay at a machine, were closing by the time I got to one, so I had to use a regular one instead.
Then I also went to the newer Kaufland, getting a few things but only realizing at the self-checkout that I had forgotten the lemons on the crates of potatoes, so I rushed back, grabbed them again… And, while all were free when I first got there, by the time I returned, seconds later, all the machines that also accept cash were in use, an employee unblocking the one I had been using for the next customer. And I also had to call for help when my turn came, since the machine wouldn’t accept that the potatoes were the correct product. The cucumber was even cheaper than the listed price though, and way cheaper than those I had gotten the previous time, which we were yet to even touch. Either way, after somehow catching a spiderweb on the street again, I was back at 11:22 PM, and after just having a banana after showering, I started eating dinner at 3:15 AM. Seeing as I only started making mamaliga around 1 AM, however, that means I was quite fast. And I got in bed at 5:20 AM.
And, in order to have this post cover seven days, I’ll also add that on July 24 I slept little and poorly, cutting my losses and getting up at 10:25 AM, then had lunch in the afternoon and started eating dinner at 3:15 AM. And I again only got back in bed at 5:20 AM. My feet were swelling badly again though, and I also keep feeling that my left eye was swelling as well, though I have since realized that the fact that I tend to keep my left elbow on the desk and that hand on my face when I’m at the computer and not typing may have something to do with the feeling I have on the left side of my face… And it definitely has a lot to do with the fact that my right hand seems quite clearly swollen when compared with the left.