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Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Hahahahahahaha.....fooled you!!

7:09 am - Tuesday - December 11th - Campbellsville, KY - 17º F (feels like 17º F), 92% humidity, wind 2 mph out of the south by southeast......clear today with a forecast high of 45º F....

 17º F after 7 am!

Just when we thought we had the straight of it things changed again Monday.  As I wrote yesterday we thought we were going to work two extra days (Tuesday December 11th and 18th) based on the information disseminated to us on Sunday, but at our post lunch 'Stand Up' meeting on Monday the general manager of Amazon Campbellsville, Carlos DeLaGarza, announced that the only VET days available to the Camperforce folk would be Sunday the 16th through Wednesday the 19th......no VET prior to Sunday the 16th.  Of course, for us working the 11th meant we would get 50 hours that week with 10 of them being of the overtime ($22.50/hour) variety, and next Tuesday (the 18th) would just be straight time, but an extra $315 on top of the extra $450 from our overtime day on the 11th.  I write all that to say this....we are now down to 4 days of work left as of the end of business on December 10th.  We have opted not to work Tuesday the 18th and just spend that day putting the finishing touches on getting ready to roll our wheels on Wednesday, December 19th.

On a much more positive note I finally escaped the gravitational pull of Building 'C' Monday afternoon shortly after the lunch break.  I was picking in P-1-F when I got a message on my Motorola scanner to move to.....wait for it.....P-2-B......Building A!  I haven't been in Building 'A' for a month.  From P-2-B I was moved to P-1-B, then  to P-1-A, which is where I picked for the remainder of the day.  Pick Mod 'B' is all things other than clothing, and it was nice for the first time since last Friday to pick something which was not apparel related.  Pick Mod 'A' is all clothing, all the time and is much like P-1-C, P-2-C, P-1-F, and all of E, but it is in a different building and I enjoyed being in a new place within the concrete bunker.  As I picked up and down the long, long aisles of Pick Mod 'A' I could occasionally see outside through the windows in the numerous emergency exit doors along the back wall, plus out the main entrance.  It was a brilliantly sunny day.....a day I wish I could have been outside enjoying, but just being able to see outside once in a while was enough.

When the final chimes sounded announcing the end to week 7 of our 8 week sojourn here in Campbellsville I was already at the front of the complex instead of having to begin my 5-6 minute walk to the front as I have been doing for the past week.  As we exited the concrete bunker we were treated to our 2018 Peak Season t-shirts.....an annual tradition for each Fulfillment Center......



....and then we were on our way up the long 1/4 mile hill to our home.....we will make the round trip walk to and from Amazon just 4 more times before this workamping chapter is complete.

We relaxed Monday evening knowing we did not have to be in bed by 8 pm, and watched two Hallmark Christmas movies.  TLE was quite tired, and was in bed before 8:30 pm, but I managed to stay up until 10:30 pm.

Thanks for stopping by!

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Monday, December 10, 2018

Actually there are now 7 left....

4:13 am - Monday - December 10th - Campbellsville, KY - 29º F (feels like 23º), humidity 78%, wind 6 mph out of the north by northeast.....partly cloudy today with a forecast high of 43º F.

In our ever changing world in this information age the information about our 'End Date' keeps changing.  There is now NO VET time being offered after 12/19, which is still our end date, but we can work our MET days even if they are cancelled.  As a result of that change TLE and I have signed up to work both Tuesdays (our MET days) on the 11th and 18th.  That will earn us another $765.  When all the accounting is done we should leave here having earned about $12,000 (net) for 8 weeks of toil.

Sunday morning brought us freezing rain....literally....it was raining when we woke up and the rain had frozen on the surfaces of everything including the glass on the VW.  Removing frost from a windshield is one thing, but removing ice is quite another, and it took us a few minutes to accomplish that before we drove to work at 6 am.  Fortunately the roads were not icy.....just everything else.

Inside the concrete bunker once again we were shielded from the weather reality outside, but we trade the bad weather for endless, overwhelming at times, sound.....the sounds of the hundreds of fans moving air....the clickety clack sounds of the miles of conveyors moving customer's orders from 'pick' to 'pack' and out the door to be picked up by UPS, FedEx and USPS and delivered into the welcoming hands of the expectant customers in two days, or less.....the sounds of hundreds of carts rolling along concrete, or wooden flooring.....the sounds of two way radio conversations crackling in the background, and the incessant sounds of beeping Motorola scanners.  There are times when I wouldn't mind just standing outside feeling the rain hit my face....freezing, or not.....:-)

I continued my exile in Building 'C' spending 9 of my 10 hour shift on P-2-E.....not even a short vacation in 'F', for me on Sunday.....the only change was about an hour spent on P-3-E.  Almost everyone in our orientation group was there too, so it's not like I have been singled out, or anything.  TLE continues to enjoy Building 'B' and all the amazing variety it offers, while I only pass through Building 'B' for breaks, and on my way to lunch in Building 'A'.

In spite of my continued incarceration in Building 'C' the time did pass rather quickly, and before I knew it I was hearing the chimes announcing the beginning of another evening of parole, and a return to the outside world for another 13.5 hours......kind of like 'work release' I guess.....:-)

We spent the three hours before bed time watching another Christmas movie on the Hallmark channel and were in bed once again by 8 pm knowing we have just 7 more days of labor inside the concrete bunker before we head south to Nashville, and our flight home for Christmas.

Thanks for stopping by!

When you shop Amazon, please use our link (below) to access their website.......we will appreciate every purchase you make using our Amazon Affiliate link, and  remember, using our link will not add one penny to your purchase, plus we will receive a small commission which helps defray our travel expenses to a small degree.

Sunday, December 9, 2018

6 left......

4:12 am - Sunday - December 9th - Campbellsville, KY - 31º F (feels like 24º), 82% humidity, wind 8 mph out of the north by northeast.....'freezing rain' with a forecast high for today of 39º F.

Of course, the main topic of discussion most of Saturday was the e-mail received from the Camperforce folk Friday evening about our end date of 12-19, and all of its ramifications.  When we weren't talking about our plans we were grinding up and down the long picking aisles of the FC averaging between 200 and 250 picks per quarter.  I, somehow, got sucked back into Pick Mod 'E' Friday, and never escaped all day Saturday. In the interests of full disclosure I did receive a one hour respite when I was sent to Pick Mod 'F' for an all too brief spell, but I otherwise spent my day on P-2-E and P-3-E  picking apparel, and apparel related items from row 1 to 57 and back.....from the #1 bin all the way to the 273rd bin in each row.  

Our time here at Amazon is quite finite now.....after Saturday we have just 6 work days left (barring any MET days).  We have already discussed and set our final dinner together as a group.....December 18th at Colton's Steakhouse and Grill.  As my good friend Roscoe (Yellowstone General Stores) would say at the end of each shift...."Time to wind 'er down!".

TLE requested and received from one of our managers special dispensation the other day and is now permanently 'locked' out of Building 'C' where the dreaded Pick Mod 'E' resides.  Her sinuses are affected by the dust that is blown around by all the fans.  If only I had a sinus problem.....NOT!  As I head off to Building 'C' at the beginning of each quarter she sweetly mocks me as she heads to my beloved Building 'B' to pick.  Will I escape the surly bonds of Building 'C' in the next 6 days?  Only time will tell....perhaps Sunday will be the day....stay tuned as 'they' say.

We emerged from the concrete bunker shortly after 5 pm to gusty, cold to the bone wind and the feeling of moisture in the air which immediately caused a quickening of our walking pace....we were home in record time!  We managed to get home without being rained upon, and it didn't really begin raining until sometime after midnight, but it sure felt like rain was in the offing.  It was nice to lie in bed this morning listening to the rain on the roof before finally arising at 4 am to another day of endless pacing in Building 'C'.

Thanks for stopping by!

When you shop Amazon, please use our link (below) to access their website.......we will appreciate every purchase you make using our Amazon Affiliate link, and  remember, using our link will not add one penny to your purchase, plus we will receive a small commission which helps defray our travel expenses to a small degree.

Saturday, December 8, 2018

It's actually 7.....

4:19 am - Saturday - December 8th - Campbellsville, KY - 31º F (feels like 27º F), 69% humidity, wind 4 mph out of the north......partly cloudy today with a forecast high of 35º F.

Back to work day is always the hardest for me mentally, and Friday was no exception to that rule.  I was ready to go home by the end of the first quarter......9 am.  We all started out the day being moved around a lot.  By 7 am I was in my 6th Pick Mod, P-3-E.....as you know 'E' is my least favorite Pick Mod, but there I was moving from 3-E, to 4-E, back down to 2-E, and then 1-E just before lunch.  I was back bouncing around 'E' in the 3rd quarter, after lunch, but finally was sent to Pick Mod P-1-F for about 90 minutes during the 4th quarter before being moved back to P-3-E, then 4-E, then back to 2-E to end the fourth quarter.  Finally by the end of the day I was feeling much more like myself.

We exited the concrete bunker to 35º temps, and it was cloudy and blustery.....a perfect winter day if you are into such things.  I'm pretty much over 'perfect winter days', and am quite ready for some sun, 70's temps, and a little bicycle riding.  Shortly after returning home we got an e-mail from the Camperforce folk advising our (shift DH-3) end date had been moved up to December 19th, and that we could even be released as early as the 15th if we wished, and still get our completion bonus ($1/hour worked)......



We are in shift DH-3....the one circled in red

.....so there it is.....there are actually now just 7 work days left (barring any MET days between now and then, which looks unlikely).  We will be rolling our wheels a few days earlier than expected.  That actually works out much better than the original 'End Date' of 12-23 (a Sunday), which would have had us leaving Monday morning to get down to Nashville (157 miles) with the Newell, and catching our late flight home (5:30 pm) all in one day.  Now we'll have time to get the Newell properly set up for cold weather, and do a little touring around Nashville!  Perfect!

Now if I can get out of Pick Mod 'E' Saturday....thanks for stopping by!

When you shop Amazon, please use our link (below) to access their website.......we will appreciate every purchase you make using our Amazon Affiliate link, and  remember, using our link will not add one penny to your purchase, plus we will receive a small commission which helps defray our travel expenses to a small degree.

Friday, December 7, 2018

Is it Ten, or Eleven?

4:17 am - Friday - December 7th - Campbellsville, KY - 36º F, 85% humidity, wind 6 mph out of the north.....cloudy today with a forecast high of 39º F.

Thursday was another wonderful day away from the concrete bunker.  It was actually sunny for most of the day even though the temperature only managed to briefly nudge the 45º mark.  Just being able to go outside and be warmed by the sun as I performed the weekly ritual of black tank purification was much appreciated.  There was no rush to get in out of the bitter cold for a change.

Around 1:45 pm TLE headed into Campbellsville for her semi monthly massage at 'Green Room Salon and Day Spa' whilst I remained behind to take a nap.  Napping often during my days off work is something I look forward to for the four days I walk up and down endless aisles searching for my next 'pick'.  I don't take naps during the work week as there are only 3 hours from the time we get home from work until we go to bed, and taking a nap then seems redundant.

While TLE was gone I walked over to the campground office to pick up two packages which had arrived the day prior.....our new 2019 mini calendar (7" x 7" - we don't have the wall space for a full size calendar), and a new Sirius/XM Radio receiver.  We have three of them (Newell, VW and Trailer) and the one in the trailer was about 7 years old and failing quickly.  I like to have music when I'm working in the trailer, so a working Sirius/XM receiver is a must.  I had to call Customer Care to activate the new receiver, and to cancel the subscription on the old one, but that took just a few minutes and I was back in business.  The new receiver did not cost me anything but shipping ($10.21).  The receivers typically cost about $69, but I just wait until I get an email from them offering one for free before I order each time.  Now all three receivers are updated to current technology....they seem to get smaller with time.

TLE was home a little after 3 pm looking and feeling refreshed after her 55 minute massage for $55.  She had stopped by the store to pick up a couple of things, but after they were put away we returned to watching Christmas movies on the Hallmark channel (312 on DirecTV).  What a nice way to spend a cold afternoon!

We were in bed at our usual 8 pm looking forward to our next to last week of work at Amazon.  I wrote the other day that we had 15 days left, but I was incorrect.  We had 17 days left at that time, and just 10 now.  I always forget that each Friday and Saturday we are finishing the pay period we began the prior Sunday and Monday (Tuesday if we have MET).  The pay periods run from Sunday to Saturday.  So this Friday and Saturday will complete our current pay period thereby leaving just 8 more work days (with no MET) until we are released.....that's if we are released Saturday, December 22nd, as we suspect.  Currently the published release date is December 23rd, but that begins a new pay period, so we think they will make it the 22nd.  Either way our time is short here in the land of schizophrenic weather....lol!

Thanks for stopping by!


When you shop Amazon, please use our link (below) to access their website.......we will appreciate every purchase you make using our Amazon Affiliate link, and  remember, using our link will not add one penny to your purchase, plus we will receive a small commission which helps defray our travel expenses to a small degree.

Thursday, December 6, 2018

Finishing.....

7:43 am - Thursday - December 6th - Campbellsville, KY - 23º F (feels like 16º), 92% humidity, wind 6 mph out of the south......clear today with a forecast high of 45º F.

The high Wednesday got to about 33º F sometime late afternoon, but for most of the day it was in the mid to high 20's.....not conducive to outside activities, especially for a native SoCal boy.

Right after breakfast I put the small bathroom heater back in TLE's hanging closet to finish the drying of the wood sub floor.  By 11 am the sub floor was pronounced DRY by TLE.  Then it was time to cut the area rug we had purchased to fit the space.  That took about 20 minutes, but soon the new piece of carpeting was installed and it was time to begin to put TLE's clothing back in the closet, and thereby regain the full use of the salon....

Before.....

After.....

.....we spent the rest of Wednesday watching the Hallmark channel, and one Christmas movie after another.  There was one English Premier game (part of the annual London Derby pitting local team rivalries against each other....in this game Manchester United tied Arsenal 2-2....it was a very good game) that we watched, but otherwise it was Christmas movies all day, and into early evening.  We watched 'Survivor' at 8 pm via live streaming, and then a recorded episode of 'Gold Rush'.

Thanks for stopping by!

When you shop Amazon, please use our link (below) to access their website.......we will appreciate every purchase you make using our Amazon Affiliate link, and  remember, using our link will not add one penny to your purchase, plus we will receive a small commission which helps defray our travel expenses to a small degree.

Wednesday, December 5, 2018

A small bump in the road.....

6:46 am - Wednesday - December 5th - Campbellsville, KY - 30º F, 95% humidity, wind 7 mph out of the west......cloudy today with a forecast high of 33º F, and a slight chance of snow.


 Had a brief dusting of snow overnight

Originally we had planned to drive into Elizabethtown (about 40+ miles) to do some 'junking', maybe visit a micro brewery, or two, and then come home late afternoon, but Mr. Jello intervened in those plans on Saturday evening.  TLE had gone into her hanging closet which is at the back of the coach on the left side of the bed to get something.  She discovered that the carpet on the floor of the closet was wet!  We had just gone through that 'toad strangler' of a rain storm, and it appeared the rubber gasket around the rear window had been leaking for a period of time, but just at the lower corner of the window which reaches into TLE's closet.  My hanging closet on the opposite side was dry.

Well, what to do, right?  It's about 6:30 pm on a work night, and it will take a while to dry out the space.  First up was to get all of TLE's clothing out of the closet, then I immediately removed the carpet piece, put it in a large plastic bag, and took it outside. I then got out some 2" wide Scotch brand blue masking tape and went outside (it wasn't raining at the time), dried off the rubber gasket, and window in the area where it appeared to be leaking, and applied the tape.  This stuff is amazing!  Even with it being a little damp to the touch the tape still stuck, and held through the night through another rain session.


The offending window gasket and where it was leaking

So, we went to bed Saturday night with TLE's clothes all over the salon area of the coach and just decided we would deal with the aftermath of the leak when we were next off work, which as serendipity would have it was Tuesday instead of the expected Wednesday.  Instead of going into Elizabethtown we dedicated our Tuesday to get the floor of the closet dried out.  I took the small heater from the bathroom and set it on the closet floor and let it run all day long in there.  By the end of the day the floor was 98% dry, and should reach 100% sometime Wednesday.


TLE's empty closet...the floor is almost dry.  You will note what appear to be damp spots, but those are old burn,or scortch marks from, apparently, two shorted out wires that were replaced a few years before we bought the coach.

A few years ago when we were at Cape Blanco doing our volunteer lighthouse gig my hanging closet had gotten a little damp (we had a lot of rain that October, and one day hurricane force winds).  It does tend to get a little damp in that back area because of condensation build up on the window when it is cold and damp.  We tend to forget about that area as we don't access those closets very often.  While my carpet did not get 'wet', it felt somewhat damp so we got it dried out, put everything away, and kind of forgot about the problem until this past Saturday.  Why?  Well we spent most of the next few years in the southwest, as well as at Lake Tahoe where it is quite dry as a general rule.  In order to deal with this issue on a long term basis we made a run to Lowe's to buy some 'Damprid' (moisture absorber), some mildew treatment, and a new carpet piece to put down in TLE's closet after it is all dry and ready to use again.  




TLE's used the 'CLR Mold and Mildew' solution on the floor in her closet, and then treated the carpet in my closet, then hung a bag of the DampRid in my closet, and will also hang one in her closet when we put the clothes back in, and reinstall the new carpet piece.

While we were out at Lowe's we dropped off a large bag of clothes we were no longer using at Goodwill (when you begin going through little used closets you begin to realize there are things in there you have not worn in a couple of years.....time to 'thin the herd'!), and then Krogers to pick up some milk and a few other items (including a new supply of limes for some Margarita's later).  That was the extent of our first day off work this week, although we did watch three English Premier soccer matches (two recorded, one live) in the afternoon after returning from our brief foray into the cold December weather.

In the overall scheme of things our little experience with water intrusion is just part of living whether you live in a sticks and bricks home, or in an RV.  Stuff happens and you deal with it, then move on to something else.  Considering that we have been living full time in our Newell for almost 7 years now it is remarkable how few major problems we have had to deal with in that time.  We have managed to rise to the challenge each and every time.  We don't even really consider what happened to be a major problem......just a small bump in the road.

Thanks for stopping by!


When you shop Amazon, please use our link (below) to access their website.......we will appreciate every purchase you make using our Amazon Affiliate link, and  remember, using our link will not add one penny to your purchase, plus we will receive a small commission which helps defray our travel expenses to a small degree.

Tuesday, December 4, 2018

Goodbye MET......

7:15 am - Tuesday - December 4th - Campbellsville, KY - 35º F, 88% humidity, wind 6 mph out of the north by northwest.....cloudy today with a forecast high of 37º F.  Once again it is very cold on our days off work.  It is supposed to be 33º

We found out our MET* day, Tuesday, had been cancelled just before lunch time.  I was prepared mentally and physically to work the 5th day this week, but it appears we are not needed, so now we have an unexpected 3 day weekend.  At any rate, it was a regular day inside the concrete bunker.  Other than the MET* cancellation news it was business as usual.  Each quarter (for example - 6:30 am to 9 am is one quarter of the shift) kind of takes on a life of its own, and as the quarters worked pile up over 8 weeks it becomes almost impossible to remember where you were at any given time just a day, or two later.  That is the lot of the 'repetitive task' employee......'wash, rinse, dry, repeat' day after day, week after week.  Fortunately for us 'Camperforce' folk it stops at the 'week after week' at the 8 week mark, or whatever duration you have chosen, but for those for whom this is a permanent job it stretches into months and possibly years.  Fortunately permanent employees work 10 hour shifts, just like we do, and during most of the year (outside of Peak Season) they (the permanent workers) would be working just 4 ten hour days per week, with 3 days off each week.  Once you get used to the routine the time does begin to pass more quickly, and I can see how one might adapt to the work routine.  For me the deal breaker would be the constant background noise.  I do not think I could take that on a long term basis.  When you, during your hourly movement from one Pick Mod to another, come to a quiet place, like P-1-C, the difference is startling, if not jarring.  You find yourself wanting to linger there as long as possible.

I was blessed to spend a great portion of Monday's 10 hour shift ensconced in the quiet confines of P-1-C, and that is where I spent the last 90 minutes of Monday's meanderings throughout the bowels of the concrete bunker.  TLE actually joined me for about 30 minutes in P-1-C right after lunch....it was just the two of us picking up and down the Pick Mod from row 14 to 84 and back again.....very nice.  Catching an occasional glimpse of TLE, or sharing something funny with her is one of the things that makes my day tolerable.

When we walked to work Monday morning at 6 am it was about 55º F, but when we exited it had dropped to 35º F, and it was blustery adding a little wind chill factor to the mix.  We felt a kind of lighthearted as we made the uphill trek home knowing we had three days off work.  Life is good, and soon we will be winging our way home to see our kids, grandkids and great grandkids for Christmas.

Thanks for stopping by!

*MET = Mandatory Extra Time

When you shop Amazon, please use our link (below) to access their website.......we will appreciate every purchase you make using our Amazon Affiliate link, and  remember, using our link will not add one penny to your purchase, plus we will receive a small commission which helps defray our travel expenses to a small degree.

Monday, December 3, 2018

'Days of Our Lives'.....

4:21 am - Monday - December 3rd - Campbellsville, KY - 37º F, 81% humidity, wind 5 mph out of the west.....partly cloudy today with a forecast high of 41º F......that's 23º lower than yesterday!

 I have to open this installment of 'Days of Our Lives' telling you that I finally escaped from Building 'C', and Pick Mod 'E' once again just before the lunch break Sunday.  It was miraculous.  I was picking on P-2-E after having picked on P-4-E and P-3-E.  A message came over my scanner requesting (it always says 'Please') me to move to (I thought) P-1-E....a logical conclusion, right?  This was about 11:10 am.....5 minutes before the lunch chimes sound.  I dutifully walked down the stairs to the ground floor, found a 'pick' cart, got a couple of totes and then looked at my scanner again to see where I was to start picking. It was then I noticed that my scanner was really directing me to P-1-C!  After 11 hours of picking in Pick Mod 'E' I was free once again to return to Buildings 'A' and 'B', and that is where I remained the rest of Sunday (TLE also escaped right at the end of the 10 hour shift).  Being able to 'pick' back in areas which provide so much variety with virtually no 'stowers' really made my day seem to gain speed.  The time passed quickly, and once again TLE and I were exiting the concrete bunker arm in arm walking home in the last light of what appeared to have been a marvelous, sunny day.

The day was filled with laughter at break times, and up and down the long picking aisles as I crossed paths with many friends during the day.  Once again another MET day (Monday) was cancelled for those who begin their work week on Thursday of each week, making Monday their 5th (MET) day.  This makes 3 MET days cancelled in succession, and leads those of us on the DH-3 shift to believe our MET day on Tuesday may also be cancelled this week.  We are only speculating at this point as we will not find out until 'Stand Up' on Monday morning, or perhaps by lunchtime at the latest.  We begin each week planning on working 5 days, and so far we have worked 3 MET days, so we are still planning to work this Tuesday, but if we, instead, get 3 days off work there will be no complaints.

In our original orientation group there are about 4 people who are battling colds right now....thankfully TLE and I have been spared so far.  I've already had my 2nd cold of 2018, so I am theoretically done for the year with colds......I usually get two a year, but I've been taking my ZICAM each day as a precautionary measure.  There is nothing worse than 'picking' for 10 hours, and being sick.......nothing....well, maybe being 'put to the rack', or having your finger nails pulled out one by one, but not much else.

I wish I had more Amazon wisdom and/or witticisms to dispense, but the well, for now, has run dry, so I will bid you adieu once again and begin the task of girding up for another day inside the concrete bunker....thanks for stopping by!

When you shop Amazon, please use our link (below) to access their website.......we will appreciate every purchase you make using our Amazon Affiliate link, and  remember, using our link will not add one penny to your purchase, plus we will receive a small commission which helps defray our travel expenses to a small degree.

Sunday, December 2, 2018

We're in!

4:15 am - Sunday - December 2nd - Campbellsville, KY - 55º F, 88% humidity, wind 7 mph out of the south by southeast......clear today with a forecast high of 64º F.....and then it gets C-O-L-D again!

All through the night I was aware it was raining....sometimes hard.....always raining.  We awoke to rain, and it continued raining so hard that we took the VW to work once again.....two days in a row.  As I wandered up and down P-1-C first thing Saturday morning I could hear water coming down the large 12 inch diameter PVC drain pipes from the roof.  I could hear the water running each time I passed one......all day long.  And when we emerged from the bunker a little after 5 pm it appeared it had just stopped raining.  Of course, it was not done....not by a long shot.

It was another routine picking day, although not as productive for me as Friday, but a good day considering how often I was moved early on, and where I ended up about mid morning....P-1-E....it has been about 3 weeks since I passed through the door into Building 'C', and I have not missed it one little bit.  The 'picking' is hard there, and there are always a lot of 'stowers' adding to the difficulty factor.  Oh well, it is what it is.  Hopefully Sunday I'll find my way back out of Building 'C'.

We saw on the news that George H.W. Bush, POTUS # 41, had died sometime Saturday at the age of 94.  It seems just a short time ago that he finished his one and only 4 year term as President, and now 26 years later he has passed.  He was a war hero, a wonderful family man, and a lifetime public servant.  I wish there were more like him in Washington D.C.

When TLE was preparing breakfast Saturday it was observed we were running short on Half & Half, so right after work we drove directly over to Kroger's to buy some more before heading home.  Even with the detour we were home by 5:15 pm.  About and hour after we got home the skies opened up once again.  The rain was so hard we lost our satellite signal and had to finish watching the Alabama vs. Georgia NCAA football game via live streaming.

I opened up my e-mail account to find that our friends Forest and Cindy with whom we are traveling to Alaska this summer had succeeded in securing reservations at Teklanika in Denali for one week, so we are in!  Since we are seniors the daily price is $12.50 (50% off) making our total for 7 days $87.50.......




......Forest sent me a PDF copy of the reservation details.  That is really the only long range reservation we plan on making this summer, so now that we know when we need to be in Denali we can begin to plan the rest of our 'Jello' itinerary.  December 1st was the opening day for reservations in Denali this summer.  Teklanika is a no frills campground.  We will be dry camping the entire time, but we are used to dry camping for much longer periods than that!

Time to get ready for work.....thanks for stopping by!


When you shop Amazon, please use our link (below) to access their website.......we will appreciate every purchase you make using our Amazon Affiliate link, and  remember, using our link will not add one penny to your purchase, plus we will receive a small commission which helps defray our travel expenses to a small degree.

Saturday, December 1, 2018

3 weeks to go.....

4:17 am - Saturday - December 1st - Campellsville, KY - 57º F, 96% humidity, wind 7 mph out of the southeast......cloudy....occasional rain with a forecast high today of 60º F.  Opened my bedroom window last night for the first time in weeks.  Can't believe it is now December.......we arrived in October.  Looks like it will rain on and off all day Saturday, and into the early morning Sunday hours.

The first day back in the concrete bunker after our 'weekend' is always the hardest.  Not so much the first part of the day, but late afternoon.  Usually after the first day the last four are easier, and Friday was no exception.  By 4 pm I was dragging mentally, but I made it to the end and actually had a very good day 'picking'.  I surpassed 1,000 picks in one shift for only the second time this 'Peak Season', and my highest picking quarter was actually the 4th quarter....go figure.

We had a voicemail waiting at home from Carlos Garza, the manager of SDF1, advising they were cancelling all 6th days for the next 8 days.  I think I mentioned previously that you can sign up for a sixth day of work if you wish.  All those who have been working six days per week will only work 5 days next week, plus there are no 12 hour shifts.....only 5 ten hour days.  They have cancelled some MET (Mandatory Extra Time) for several shifts recently, so we will soon see if our Tuesday MET day remains, or is cancelled.  Frankly, I think they are a little overstaffed right now, and while we were at lunch Friday they were bringing in another 30-40 people for orientation.

Saw the news on the TV's in the lunch room about the big 7.0 earthquake in Alaska Friday.  It sounds like a lot of highways in southwestern Alaska have been severely damaged.  I'm trying to get a handle on which ones, and how that may, or may not affect our summer travels.  After all, it is winter, and I'm pretty sure they will not be able to fix a lot of the damage until things thaw out in the spring.  Hopefully over the next few days we will get a better picture of the damage, and what impact, if any, it will have on our summer plans.

We drove the VW to work for the first time in a while as the rain was bordering on torrential at 6 am.  I hate driving the car such a short distance as it really does not even get up to operating temperature in that short distance, but I also don't want to arrive at work with wet shoes. 

Including Friday, we have 17 days of work left, and 3 weeks total before we will roll our wheels once again. Well, time to get ready for work.....thanks for stopping by!


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Friday, November 30, 2018

Alaska planning......

4:10 am - Friday - November 30th - Campbellsville, KY - 55º F, 93% humidity, wind 8 mph out of the west......raining, cloudy today with a forecast high of 58º F.

We had a brief few minutes Thursday morning where we saw the sun peaking through the clouds as it rose in the eastern sky (I posted a picture of this), but that was the last we saw of the sun the rest of the day.  It was not really very cold, it was just cloudy and blustery.  I went outside a few times, but I don't think TLE even ventured outside one time the entire day.  I puttered around in the trailer for about 45 minutes, but really had no purpose other than to putter.

Long naps abounded for me.....I remember at least three.....maybe there were four.....who knows for sure.  When I was conscious I spent a lot of time and rereading reading the blog entries of good friends Steven and Linda Dempsey (The Chouters...pronounced 'shooters') about their 2016 summer travels in Alaska.  I remember at the time of their trip I thought their formula for travel in Alaska was perfect and determined to try and duplicate most of their itinerary when we travel there this summer.  Of course, weather is a big factor in Alaska, and they were quite fortunate to have pretty much good weather wherever they traveled, especially in Denali.  They spent 5 days in Denali and had sunny days for three of them, so they were able to enjoy the spectacular scenery without cloud cover.  What we get will be left up to Mother Nature.  

We had planned to spend some time at Harden Coffee Thursday, but opted to just spend the entire day doing nothing, and girding ourselves for another 5 ten hour days.  Whether we work the 5th day, or not is in doubt as a number of shifts have had their 'MET' day cancelled.  Remember, MET stands for Mandatory Extra Time, and Tuesday is our 'MET' day.  It may be that our schedule of Friday through Monday (4 ten hour days) will somehow get all of their MET days, but that is yet to be determined.  Friends we have working on other shifts have had theirs cancelled.  One couple have had two in a row cancelled including this Friday for the second time in a row.  We will probably not know the fate of our MET day until sometime Monday around lunch time.

To be clear, we do not come to Amazon expecting overtime.  We make our financial plans based on 4 ten hour days each week, and then any overtime we get is considered a bonus.  In fact, we would be quite happy to just work our 4 ten hour days each week like we did at the Fernley, NV facility 4 years ago.  Many come here expecting to work 5-6 days a week every week, and garner a lot of overtime pay, then get disappointed when the MET does not materialize as frequently as they would like.  Overtime pay can be quite enticing.  For us it means an extra $400 (net) on our combined paychecks.  We net about $1,026 each Friday working the 4 ten hour days, so not really too bad, right?  But if we were to work two more days that would increase our weekly pay by almost $800.....quite a jump for just two more days!

It looks like we will have rain Friday, Saturday and into Sunday, but it will not matter much since we will be inside the concrete bunker close to 11 hours each work day.  The only change in our routine will be that we will probably go to work in the VW to avoid getting drenched on the way to and from work, otherwise it will be the usual......'wash, rinse, dry and repeat' for the next 4, or 5 days.

Thanks for stopping by!

When you shop Amazon, please use our link (below) to access their website.......we will appreciate every purchase you make using our Amazon Affiliate link, and  remember, using our link will not add one penny to your purchase, plus we will receive a small commission which helps defray our travel expenses to a small degree

Thursday, November 29, 2018

What the Bissel?

7:37 am - Thursday - November 29th - Campbellsville, KY - 34º F (feels like 28º F), 72% humidity, wind 8 mph out of the south by southeast.......cloudy today with a forecast high of 46º F (much better than yesterday!).  Slept until after 7 am........it is so nice to be home when the sun rises.....

Just after I snapped this picture it began to sprinkle....and now it is raining once again

....we tried to sleep in Wednesday, but were wide awake at 5:30 am....we usually get up (on work days) at 4 am, so technically I guess 5:30 am is 'sleeping in', but it doesn't feel like it.  To me sleeping in involves sun coming through the windows of your home, not getting up when it is still quite dark.  It is the little things like that which make your life a little better on your 'off' days.

When I first got up Wednesday it was about 19º F, but it felt like single digits.  It was bitter cold, so the outdoor activity options narrowed considerably down to zero.  Wednesday is almost always 'black tank' day for us here at Heartland Campground, and since the forecast calls for rain Thursday I needed to do the deed Wednesday.  Around 11 am I set out to tackle the task and quickly found out that my the residual water in my tank flushing hose was frozen, thereby rendering it useless for the flushing task. Fortunately I carry extra hoses.....I think maybe too many extra hoses......so I retrieved one of those from the trailer and set about the task of dumping and flushing our black tank.  It takes three times filling it half full of fresh water before the water coming out is once again 'clear'.  Clear is a relative term, of course, but for the purposes of water coming out of a black tank 'clear' is good enough.  I've tried filling the tank completely full with flushing water before dumping it, but it still takes three times, so to conserve water I only fill it half full now and get the same good results. 

I was finished with the task about 11:30 am at which time I retrieved TLE's inside vacuum to take it apart to clean the fan.  Over the 7, or 8 years we have had that vacuum hair has accumulated on in and around the fan housing reducing the effectiveness of the vacuum.  I had it apart and cleaned in about 10 minutes, but discovered that one of the  screw anchors (there are 7 of them) had broken.  When I went inside to retrieve my LockTite super glue I found it had bitten the dust after 4 years.  I like LockTite because it does last so long, unlike other super glues.  So a trip to Lowe's was in order to complete the repair of the vacuum.  TLE needed to do some grocery shopping, and we needed to fill the VW gas tank......it's been almost 6 weeks since we filled the tank!  We get gas credits from Kroger each time we shop, and we had accumulated a 30 cent per gallon gas credit which needed to be used before the end of November.  We use Premium Unleaded gas in the VW Beetle (factory recommendation), and have been paying either just under, or just over $3/gallon.  With the recent collapse of the world oil market (crude oil is down to $50/barrel now from a high in the mid 70's) it is now much cheaper, and with the 30 cent per gallon credit our fuel only cost us $2.15 per gallon for 10 gallons.

We were back home a little after 2:30 pm, and after transferring the groceries from the Beetle to the Newell I went out to the trailer to finish fixing the vacuum.....

The Bissel Feather Weight vacuum all together and ready for use once again

.....I had the broken screw anchor glued and fixed in no time, then reassembled the Bissel and returned it to TLE.  This Bissel also had an long extension handle so it may be used as an 'upright'.....

The extension handle for the Bissel

.....TLE uses this for doing quick vacuum jobs, but for the really deep cleaning we bring in my ShopVac from the trailer.

After fixing the vacuum I headed back inside (it never got above 31º F all day) to the comfort of the warm interior of the Newell.  There were at least two naps taken as the day wound down to a close.  We streamed the two hour 'Survivor' at 8pm via our ROKU TV, and were in bed a little after 10 pm.  A very relaxing 1st day off work!

Thanks for stopping by!

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Wednesday, November 28, 2018

UPC, ASIN, LPN........

5:44 am - Wednesday - November 28th - Campbellsville, KY - 20º F, 75% humidity, wind 4 mph out of the west......mostly cloudy today with a forecast high of 37º F.....got down to 18º F last night!


The weather is rather schizophrenic lately.....by Friday it will be in the 60's again for the next three days.  Of course it has to get freezing again on our two days off work.....😕

I don't mean to brag.....okay, well, maybe I do mean to brag, but all that aside Tuesday, our 5th consecutive 10 hour day I felt the best I have felt since we began working 5 weeks ago.  I'm almost sitting here wishing I wasn't writing about it, because I begin to think I will jinx it by mentioning it.  It is like I just turned a corner and went from thinking all the time about how tired my feet and legs were, to not even thinking about them anymore.  Now it is just me and the boredom walking side by side down endless aisles picking whatever.  

About 99.999% of what we pick is clothing, or some sort of clothing related apparel.  I no longer see the items as clothing, but just plastic bags with some sort of material inside.  All I care about anymore is that the correct UPC (Universal Product Code) code, or ASIN (Amazon Standard Identification Number), or LPN (License Plate Numbering (I have no idea why it is called that, so don't ask) number is somewhere on what I am picking, and secondly will I get the positive 'BEEP', or the scolding 'BEE-BOOP' tone?  Sometimes there might be, literally, 50 items in a large bin all completely identical in appearance, except that the one you are looking for is the only one with a slightly different ASIN, and you have to go through every single one of those 50 identical items to find the one correct ASIN that will scan properly and let you move on to the next 'pick'.  That happened twice to me Tuesday afternoon.

It began to snow just after we entered the concrete bunker at 6:15 am, and was still snowing when we took out lunch break at 11:20 am.  Thankfully it was not snowing when we exited the bunker a little after 5 pm to make the 1/4 mile uphill walk home in the 25º F, blustery remains of the day.  Fortunately for us very little of the snow stuck, and as I write to you this morning there is NO snow on the ground.

When we go to work on a cold day like Tuesday we leave the front portable fireplace running so it doesn't get overwhelmingly cold inside.  As soon as we get inside we turn on the other two heaters and usually within minutes our home is comfortable, but Tuesday we had to turn on one of the gas furnaces for a while to get to that comfortable state.  Eventually we were able to turn it off, but it took about an hour!

We tried to stay up until at least 10 pm, but by 9:30 I was asleep in my recliner, and TLE was trying to wake me up to go to bed.  I guess you could say I have officially switched over to going to bed at 8 pm.....at least for the next few weeks.  And speaking of weeks, we now hove 15 work days left, and by this time next week we will have just 10....time is flying!

Thanks for stopping by!

When you shop Amazon, please use our link (below) to access their website.......we will appreciate every purchase you make using our Amazon Affiliate link, and  remember, using our link will not add one penny to your purchase, plus we will receive a small commission which helps defray our travel expenses to a small degree.

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

What's the problem?

4:22 am - Tuesday - November 27th - Campbellsville, KY - 28º F (feels like 19º F), 79% humidity, wind 9 mph out of the west......cloudy today with a forecast high of 28º F.....low today will be 18º F.

Cyber Monday was anything but......we did not have enough work to keep all the 'Outbound' people busy, so VTO (Voluntary Time Off) was being offered every couple of hours. Our attitude is once we are in the building we are there for the duration.  We've already gotten up inordinately early to be at work by 6:30 am, and there is no way we'll cut the day work day short at that time.

We have two basic employee groups here at Amazon in which the bulk of Amazon employees are employed.....Inbound, and Outbound.  Inbound folk unload the product from the semi trailers, load the product on carts called 'U'boats to be stowed, which is then stowed in bins by the 'stowers'.  Then you have the Outbound folk like us......we pick the product, we pack the product, we ship bulk product (called 'Tranship') to other Amazon FC's.  Those are the basic classifications which 70% of the employees fit into.  There is a Safety department, there is AMCARE (in facility urgent care), the Career department, Administration department, the Training/Education department, IT department, custodial, mechanical, etc.  

There is also a small, elite group called 'Problem Solvers' who help both Inbound and Outbound folk fix errors they have made processing product.  I needed the help of a Problem Solver late Monday about 4:25 pm.  I had just put 3 totes on the conveyor to be delivered to the 'Pack' department.  I pulled three empty totes from the line to begin picking again, then I went to the bathroom.  I had hoped to make it to the end of my shift, but it became obvious that I was not going to make it, so I parked my cart, and made my way to the bathroom.  When I returned about 5 minutes later I picked up my scanner to scan the first tote, and got a message that I had 'Scanned the wrong bin'......hmmmm, maybe I scanned the tote before I went to the bathroom, although I never do that.  So I head to my next bin to pick an item, scan the bin, scan the item and drop it in my tote.  I'm still thinking about what happened when I realize I had not closed out the last tote I put on the conveyor before my bathroom run, and now it is gone, and I have another item that is supposed to be in that tote.....DOH!  I head to the problem solving desk on P-4-K (high) and using the two way radio call for a problem solver.  She arrives in about 3 minutes, and I explain what I did.  What I love about these people is there is never any judgement.....they just solve problems, and get you back on your way doing your job.  They appreciate it when you admit you made a mistake, and just want to fix it before it becomes a bigger problem.  Within 5 minutes she has fixed my problem, and it is now about 4:40 pm......10 minutes until the 'chimes' go 'DING DONG' and it is time to head to the front the building once again to punch the clock.

In between the beginning and the end of the shift we had an ice cream social for lunch.  We had all brought our usual lunches, but when we saw the ice cream being served we all opted for 'ice cream for lunch'......what a nice treat....and I did not feel one bit guilty!

Monday was my best day at Amazon yet.....I felt good physically and mentally at the end of the shift.  Sure, I was tired, but I felt fine for a change.....very, very encouraging.  Now to deal with the mind numbing boredom!

Thanks for stopping by!

When you shop Amazon, please use our link (below) to access their website.......we will appreciate every purchase you make using our Amazon Affiliate link, and  remember, using our link will not add one penny to your purchase, plus we will receive a small commission which helps defray our travel expenses to a small degree.s 

Monday, November 26, 2018

'Bee-Boop', 'Bee-Boop'........

4:15 am - Monday - November 26th - Campbellsville, KY - 40º F (feels like 29º F), 76% humidity, wind 25 mph out of the west by southwest......very cloudy, and very windy today with a forecast high of 36º F......WOW.....not getting any warmer today!

We walked to work in the fog Sunday morning, and exited the concrete bunker to threatening skies........the rain materialized around 8 pm, and then went away.  The wind, however, blew all night long, shaking the Newell from time to time.

So, how was work you might wonder?  It was fine.....I guess.  We continue to do well physically, but are all getting mentally tired by the 4th quarter (2:30 pm to 5 pm) and wishing we had a recliner in which to take a nap.  I notice each day about 4 pm I begin to make a lot of mistakes as to which bin I should be scanning, and that happened a lot on Sunday.  About 4 pm my brain reached the 'sensory overload' status and I couldn't seem to tell Bin P-2-C-67-45-A from P-2-C-68-45-A (the highlighted number is the Row number).  I'm scanning bin 45-A on Row 67 on one side of the aisle, when I should be scanning a bin 45-A on Row 68 on the other side, right behind me.  When I scan the wrong bin, or wrong item, or forget to scan the tote at the appropriate time I get this 'Bee-Boop', 'Bee-Boop' sound emanating from my scanner.  It is a very disconcerting sound which makes you feel as if you are being scolded.

For 10.5 hours your senses are being overwhelmed by the constant whirring sound coming from all the hundreds of fans, the clackity-clack sound of the conveyors conveying, and thousands of alpha/numeric combinations flashing across your scanner screen one after another, minute after minute, hour after hour.  At some point, usually around 4 pm for me, I begin to see alpha/numeric characters which are not there and  begin to hear that scolding 'Bee-Boop', 'Bee-Boop' sound way too often.  About that time it seems that time begins to slow down, and seconds begin to seem like minutes.  It seems that some unseen hand is grabbing the minute hand on your clock and not allowing time to progress.  About this time you begin to feel like you are the only person left working in the concrete bunker.....you are certainly convinced that you are the only one still picking on P-2-C, and that time for everyone else is still progressing as it should meaning they have gone home, and left you in your particular time warp to pick all alone.

Then, at last, you hear the loud (and I mean LOUD) 'Ding Dong', 'Ding Dong' (chimes) announcing that you may now proceed to the front of the building, logout off , and put away your scanner only to stand for a couple of minutes transfixed, watching the time on the time clock NOT change.....it seems to keep flashing 4:53 pm for way too long.   Finally, after an inordinate amount of time (probably 120 seconds) the clock changes over to 4:55 pm and you are now free to punch the clock and escape to the outer world once again......on parole for 13.5 hours before you voluntarily return to 'wash, rinse, dry, repeat' for another 10.5 hours.

In between 6:30 am, and 5 pm there are the wonderful breaks spent with good friends talking and laughing, with an emphasis on laughing.  It is those brief breaks from the mind numingly boring repetitive task job you willing subject yourself to 5 days a week that seems to make everything more bearable.  But, here we are, three fifths of the way through our 5th week of work.....only 17 more days of labor remaining before we will fly home for Christmas to see our kids and grandkids!  We will leave Campbellsville with our bank account brimming with new funds which you have already earmarked for next summer's adventures in Alaska.

Thanks for stopping by!


When you shop Amazon, please use our link (below) to access their website.......we will appreciate every purchase you make using our Amazon Affiliate link, and  remember, using our link will not add one penny to your purchase, plus we will receive a small commission which helps defray our travel expenses to a small degree.