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Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Pitter-Patter

6:32 am - Tuesday - November 13th - Campbellsville, KY - 36º F, 95% humidity, wind 10 mph out of the north......heavy cloud cover, rain, with a chance of snow at 8 am today.  Forecast high is 39º F.....it's going to be a chilly, wet one today!  Low tonight will be 27º F.

Monday was our 'Friday'.....only four days of work this week.  As I wrote earlier, we opted not to accept VET (Voluntary Extra Time) for Tuesday.  Frankly, I don't know if I could have done five 10 hour day again this week.  Monday, however, was a much better day for me physically.  I don't know what was going on Sunday, but I felt much better at the beginning of my shift than I thought I would, and I felt pretty good through the first three quarters of the day, but by the beginning of the fourth quarter (2:45 pm to 5 pm) I was dragging.  When the chimes went off at 4:50 pm telling us it was time to begin to put our totes on the conveyor belt, and begin walking to the front of the building to punch the clock I could not have been more relieved and happy.

So, we have 3 weeks of work in the books, and will be beginning our 4th week on Friday.  By this time next week we will have reached the halfway point and have just 4 weeks to go before we are released and head south to warmer climes.

We have a nice group of people we hang out with during breaks and lunch, and we spend a lot of time laughing.  I always wonder if we will form the same type of friendships we have in the past, and although each year is different, with a different mixture of people, it is that for which I hoped.  The last time in Fernley, NV we formed friendships with a mostly younger group of people.  The first time here in Campbellsville it was 100% people in our age range, and that is how it is coming down this year.  We seem to attract, or are attracted to (a chicken,  or egg proposition) happy, energetic people and Charmaine, Howard, Diane, Don, Leonard, Darlene, Fred, Dick, Steve and Karen are all of that.....in spades.  Not only do these relationships during breaks and lunch make Amazon more bearable, but when we see each other on the floor walking from one pick to another, or one area to another we stop and chat for a second, and laugh about something almost every time......there is nothing like shared suffering with people who have a sense of humor!

As you get used to the particular Amazon FC in which you are working you develop likes and dislikes about certain Pick Mods.  I like P-2-C as there have not been stowers up there in a long, long time, and it is very easy to find that for which you are hunting.  P-1-C and P-1-E, P-2-E, P-3-E, and P-4-E are exactly the opposite.....the stowers have been working those Mods for a couple of weeks, and all the bins seem to be at 110% capacity making it quite difficult to find anything in a short amount of time.  Often I have to remove everything from the bin to find the item on my scanner.  I like P-1-Q for the same reason, and P-1-J, P-1-N, P-1-K, P-3-k and P-4-K for the same reason.  As with any job you must take the good with the bad.  If I am working in a Mod that is easy to 'pick' I can average about 110 picks an hour.  If I am in one of the Mods with heavy stower action my average slips down to about 60 per hour.

Some pictures for your viewing pleasure to illustrate some of the terms I use each day.....'stower', 'picker', 'tote', 'conveyors'........


These are 'stowers'....they put merchandise in the bins so we 'pickers' can pick it (above and below)



This is a 'picker'.....notice the Motorola scanner in her hand as she looks into the box to find the item on her scanner screen, which has probably been ordered by someone within the last few minutes


There are literally miles, and miles of conveyors.....you can see both types in this picture (the conveyor going uphill is a belt driven conveyor, and the one in the foreground is roller driven) all running at full speed all of the time.  Those yellow boxes are what we call 'totes'

A 'picker' pushing a 'pick cart' down a lonely aisle looking for the next pick

The 1/4 mile uphill walk home is always sweeter on your 'Friday', and this one was no different.  Even though we were both tired to the bone we giggled, and laughed all the way home knowing we would not be re-entering the concrete bunker on Tuesday, or Wednesday.  We will each be working a 5 hour shift on Thursday.....TLE the morning half from 6:30 am to 11:30 am, and me from 12 pm to 5 pm.  We can do those 5 hour shifts standing on our heads......not that we would want to, right?

We watched the series finale of 'Last Ship', and then the entire English Premier soccer match between Tottenham and Chelsea......it was a great match right to the end, and was won by our favorite, Tottenham 1-NIL.  We finished off the evening watching another recorded episode of NCIS: Los Angeles.

By 12 am it was raining, and it rained the rest of the evening, and is still raining as I write.  Listening to the rain pitter-patter on the aluminum roof just makes everything in the world seem right for just a little while.

Thanks for stopping by!


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Monday, November 12, 2018

Fire?

4:17 am - Monday - November 12th - Campbellsville, KY - 39º F, 82% humidity, wind 1 mph out of the west by northwest.....cloudy today with a forecast high of 46º F and rain beginning around 10 am.....we'll be in the concrete bunker then.

Sunday was just another day like all the other days inside the concrete bunker except for one thing.....around 3:40 pm the fire alarm went off and we all proceeded to evacuate the bunker as we had been previously instructed using the nearest exit door.  I was working in P-1-C at the time (Building 'A') so I parked my cart, and joined the exiting throngs.  Fortunately the sun was peaking out from behind the clouds and it wasn't too cold....remember, I am dressed in a t-shirt and shorts....not exactly fall/winter wear here in central Kentucky.  As it turned out it was a drill and within 30 minutes we were back inside finishing the last 40 minutes of our shift.

Unlike Saturday when I finished the day feeling pretty good physically, Sunday I felt quite tired, and my legs were really tired.  We had planned to drive to work Sunday morning, but there was a heavy layer of frost (no kidding) on the windshield due to the sub freezing temps all night, and I didn't want to deal with it so we walked to work.  That meant we had to walk home, and I really could have used a ride.....oh well.

Amazon continues to introduce a new group of workers each week, and they will continue to do so until early in December as Peak Season reaches a fever pitch.  It wasn't too many days ago I was in that category, and learning my way around the labyrinth that is Amazon.  Now, after 20 some odd days I feel like a veteran once again....have we already been working that long?  We are almost to mid November with about 5 weeks to go in our 8 week marathon.

We will only be working 4 days in a row this week.....not MET, or VET on Tuesday, so we've got that working for us.  Looking forward to being off work for 3 consecutive days!  For dinner TLE served some vegetable soup she had made a few days ago, and it was perfect.  Reminded me more of minestrone than vegetable., and I love minestrone....yumm!  Well, that's it for Sunday....wish I had more for you, but its difficult writing about our day when every work day is remarkably similar.

Thanks for stopping by!

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Sunday, November 11, 2018

Out of hell.....

4:18 am - Sunday - November 11th - Campbellsville, KY - 23º F, 77% humidity, wind mph out of the north.......clear today with a forecast high of 50º F.   23º F is as cold as it will get overnight.  Our water did NOT freeze last night, and it was in the 20's from about 9 pm on last night.

Saturday was a good day in the 'picker' world.....TLE was finally released from Building 'C', and specifically Pick Mod E.....'picking hell' as she termed it.........she got all the way to Building 'A' like the rest of us.  It has been 3 work days since I have seen Building 'C', and I do not miss it one whit.  I spent a lot of time picking in P-1-A, P-1-C, P-2-C, P-K-3 High and Low, and even got to pick for a few minutes in Pick Mod DMG.....wphat is DMG?  It is where items which have some damage to packaging, but are otherwise deemed okay and functional for their intended purpose are stored, and eventually sold at discounted pricing.

It was so bitter cold, and breezy when we exited the Newell at 6 am to walk down to the concrete bunker that we decided it was a VW day.  We had the seat warmers on '4' for maximum benefit for the 3 minute drive down the hill.  We snagged a beneficial parking spot into which we backed our Beetle in anticipation of a quick escape at 5 pm.

The day seemed to pass more quickly than others, and I cannot put my finger on the 'why'.  I guess the 'why' is not too important....I'll just enjoy the fact that it did and not over analyse it like am I wont to do.  Most importantly we spent time during our breaks and lunch laughing and talking with our friends, and that is the most important thing.  It is the people with whom we bond each time at Amazon that make the job bearable.  It's funny, every comment I read about Amazon on the Facebook Amazon page is about the 'mind numbing' nature of the work, no matter what job you have....it is really a matter of the degree to which each is mind numbing.  We all agree that ICQA is the most boring of all the repetitive task jobs at Amazon.  ICQA is essentially auditing bins throughout the facility to verify what is in them compared to what the computer says is in them.  You must pull everything out of the bin and count how many of each type of item and then enter that number into your scanner....yup, I'll agree.....it must be the most boring job at Amazon.  Repetitive task jobs are indeed mind numbing, and that is why I have so much admiration for those who work this gig 365 days a year, year in and year out.  For the most part they all seem happy.....at least those with whom I am able to speak with during the day......and thankful to have a job in an area of Kentucky where decent paying jobs are scarce.

We were home by 5:10 pm turning on the rest of the heaters....we left the portable fireplace heater on while we were working as it was soooo cold when we came home Friday evening.....we had left all the heaters off while we were at work Friday, and it took a good hour to take the chill off the Newell interior.  I have a feeling that at least one of our heaters will be running 24/7 for the foreseeable future.

I watched the finish of a couple of NCAA college games, and then a recorded episode of 'Gold Rush' before heading for bead once again at 8 pm.  My body is slowly adjusting to going to bed so early. 

Thanks for stopping by!


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Saturday, November 10, 2018

That made my day!

4:24 am - Saturday - November 10th - Campbellvsille, KY - 31º F, 77% humidity, wind 7 mph out of the west......partly cloudy today with a forecast high of 38º F.  The low for the overnight has not yet arrived.....it will get down to 25º F by 8 am and then it will begin to warm to the high today of 38º F.

Friday was our second payday since beginning our 8 week stint here at Amazon.  As it turns out we are getting paid about $15.75/hour and with weekend differential (we work every Saturday and Sunday) it gets over $16/hour.  And there is more!  If we complete our contract by working until our release date somewhere around December 22nd or 23rd we will get an additional $1.00/hour for every hour worked while we are here.  On top of that Kentucky takes out about $40 per check on each of our check in taxes, which we will get back when we file our taxes.....that will come to another $640+.  On top of that we will get all, or most all of our Federal taxes withheld for another $800+.

Now that I have finished my math class for the day what did we do on Friday.....well, we each walked around 9-10 miles as we do virtually every day.....sometimes more, sometimes a little less.  I continued to 'pick' in Building 'B', which I am loving.  There is so much variety, and I get moved around through all the Pick Mods on a regular basis, so I never get totally bored.  TLE, on the other hand, is still stuck in what she calls 'Pick Mod E Hell' in Building 'C'.

We had our second 'Holiday' meal on Friday, and another extended lunch from 11:15 am to 12 pm, with 15 minutes paid.  The day seemed to pass quickly, and even though we all know that 10.5 hours is 10.5 hours all day and all night, it is the perception in your mind that makes it feel like just 10.5 hours, and not 21 hours.

One important note.....well, not so important in the overall scheme of things, but important to note that we drove the VW to work Friday morning as it was raining quite hard.  There was no way we would be able to make the 1/4 mile walk to work without getting drenched.  As it turned out we were able to get out of the parking lot pretty quickly.....less than 5 minutes, and were home shortly thereafter.

The first day back at work after a couple of days off work there is always a readjustment to the endless walking, and noise of 1,000 fans moving air throughout the concrete bunker.  Sometimes you forget how loud it is until you get into an area of the building where there are very few fans blowing, and that is a small section of Building 'A' where I spent the last two hours of Friday 'picking'.  It was so quiet!

For dinner I finished off the rest of the spare ribs from Brothers BBQ. TLE heated them up with the leftover french fries to the perfect temperature, and they tasted just as good as they did two nights ago!  That made my day!

As is our custom we were in bed by 8 pm, but with the front heater still running.  98% of the time we turn all the heaters off at night, but it was supposed to get into the low 30's Friday night/Saturday morning and that would mean it would get down to the 50's inside without the heater.  We managed to keep it a comfortable 61º F in the bedroom with the aid of the front heater....perfect!

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, November 9, 2018

Preparing for winter temps....

4:18 am - Friday - November 9th - Campbellsville, KY - 40º F, 96% humidity, wind 6 mph out of the north by northwest.....cloudy, rainy today with a forecast high of 46º F.

We had planned to get out of the house Thursday, but laundry (TLE) and defrosting the freezer (TLE) took their toll on the day, and by early afternoon we had decided to stay inside.  The high for the day was just over 50º F.  Eventually the sun did make an appearance for about 3 hours and kind of dried everything out from the last rain storm.  However, another bout of rain will be hitting us overnight and it will once again be wet and soggy outside.  In fact, we have a lot of inclement weather coming through this part of Kentucky over the next two weeks including sub freezing temperatures.

Speaking of sub freezing temps, I did undertake one project that required a trip to Lowe's for some necessary insulation items.  Here at Heartland Campground the water spigot is below ground level in a large one foot diameter PVC pipe.  They stuff the pipe, around the spigot, with Fiberglas insulation help insulate the area from the cold.  When one hooks up their city water hose there is a large plastic PVC cap which has a notch in it for the hose to pass through.  There is room in there for me to attach my inline water filter and still put the PVC cap on, however, I am concerned that the water filter may freeze, so I used the last heat tape I have (purchased two when we were at the Grand Canyon) to wrap it then used rubberized 2.5" diameter insulation tape to wrap around the water filter.  I neglected to take pictures of that process, but it came out well, and now I am a little more confident it will not freeze.  So, I have now wrapped heat tape around our filter, and around the hose bib on the exterior of the coach where I connect the city water hose in anticipation of the freezing weather this weekend.  I also spent a little more time working on our sign for our friend's sign post in Florida.  Not done yet, but getting there!

Other than that it was a stay inside kind of day involving more resting, and elevating of legs and feet in preparation for another work day Friday.  We will only be working 4 consecutive days this 'work week' as there is no 'MET' (Mandatory Extra Time) on Tuesday.  We could have worked Tuesday by claiming 'VET' (Voluntary Extra Time), but chose to be off work that day.  Instead we accepted VET for Thursday.....just half a day, mind you.  TLE will work a five hour day in the morning (6:30 am to 12 pm) and I will work a five hour stint from 12 pm to 5 pm.  There shouldn't be another MET day called until the 27th.....we hope.

We watched a recorded episode of 'Survivor', and a few recorded episodes of 'Bull', and that was it for our Thursday.....we were off to bed by 8 pm and girding ourselves up mentally for another 40 hours in 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.

Thursday, November 8, 2018

RIP Chuck Z.......

6:55 am - Thursday - November 8th - Campbellsville, KY - 39º F, 80% humidity, 8 mph out of the north by northeast.......partly cloudy today with a forecast high of 51º F.  Our weather outlook for the next 13 days.....




......notice the first two days, Friday and Saturday, in the first screenshot circled in red.....lows in the 20's.  Then look at the second set of two days also circled in red......lows in the 20's again, with possible snow on Tuesday with an overnight low of 21º F.....winter is coming ¡'mas rapido'!



Of course, then there is the amazing sunrise we are having as I write at 7:17 am Thursday!  I will live for today, and leave the freezing temperatures for another day.

Before I get into Wednesday's events I need to pause here and talk about my good friend Chuck Zimmerman who passed on from this life too soon.  I first met Chuck in 7th grade at a private school we attended.  We had a very small class.....just 14 students in all.....7 boys and 7 girls.  As one might imagine we were all good friends, and are still in contact to this day thanks to Facebook, and other social media outlets.....


Chuck and his wife Joy a few years ago

.....as preteens, and teenagers we shared many adventures which included canoe trips in the Northern Minnesota boundary waters, and on the Colorado River.  We went camping together many times.  We rode our bicycles everywhere in Junior High.....we played pickup baseball, basketball and football games on the weekends.  We pulled pranks on each other...we learned how to ride motorcycles together.....I could write a book on all the amazing times we shared together.  The last time I saw Chuck was in 1997 at our 30 year high school reunion.  He was doing well. He moved to Florida from Arizona for a number of years until he retired a couple of years ago and moved back to Arizona.  I had just been in contact with his wife Joy a couple of months ago when she messaged me asking if I remembered a camping trip she, Chuck, Elaine and I had taken in the summer of 1972 when Elaine was 7 months pregnant with our first son.  Out of the 14 kids in our 7th grade class just 9 remain in this life.  We all feel as if a piece of us died yesterday.  We are, after all, the sum total of all of our experiences, and all the people with whom we have shared time with on this earth.  RIP Chuck Z......you are dearly missed!

Wednesday was a day for small tasks.  I spent time raking the leaf accumulation off our artificial turf, attaching the 2019 tag to the license plate for the Newell, updated our insurance cards for both the VW and Newell, and made sure all the current registration info on both vehicles is where it can be located quickly.  I then spent time fabricating a sign which we will deliver to our friends in Inverness, Florida when we visit them in January.  They have this cool sign post in their yard......


....here is the beginning of our contribution.  I used my wood burning tools to begin the sign....there is a long way to go, but it is coming along....


.....I've got a lot more work before it is finished, but I am pleased so far, and so is TLE.  That, and the weekly black tank dumping was the sum total of my activities for Wednesday.  I spent time with my feet elevated, and took a few timely naps.  Around 5:15 pm we jumped in the VW to head into Campbellville to Brothers BBQ where we had dinner with friends Ed, Jackie, Bernie and Richard.  We met Ed and Jackie on our way to Maine, and Ed invited Bernie and Richard who are both Camperforce folk along with us.  I had the 'Full slab of St. Louis Spare Ribs' along with Ed.  Of course it was way too much to eat in one sitting, but there will be a couple more meals out of the leftovers for sure.  We talked endlessly for almost two hours, and had a wonderful time.  I wish I had memorialized the time with at least one 'usie', but I was remiss.  Yelp gives them 4.5 stars on 73 reviews, and TripAdvisor 5 stars on over 150 reviews.  I would be right at 4.5 stars.....amazing ambiance, beyond amazing food, and wonderful, personal service.   Sharing it all with good friends is just the icing on the proverbial cake.

We were home before 8 pm relaxing, and looking forward to another off day on Thursday.  I fell asleep in my recliner but awoke around 9:30 pm and joined TLE in slumberland a few minutes later.

Thanks for stopping by!

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Wednesday, November 7, 2018

Conquering new Mods.......

7:16 am - Wednesday - November 7th - Campbellsville, KY - 46º F, 81% humidity, wind 2 mph out of the east.......cloudy today with a forecast high of 51º F......my, how the weather changes from day to day here in Campbellsville!

Wednesday sunrise peaking through the clouds

It would seem, in retrospect, that Monday's late move into Building 'B'  portended how things would go for me on Tuesday, our VET (Voluntary Extra Time) day.  Just when I needed a mental boost the most I received it in spades.  I began my day in Building 'B', and never left it.  I wandered through the endless rows of Pick Mods P-1-Q, P-1-D (Pick Mod D has four levels like K, but I only picked on P-1 on this day), P-1-J, P-1-K, P-2-K, P-3-K, P-4-K, P-1-L, P-1-M,  and last, but not least P-1-N.  Pick Mods J, L, M, N and Q have only one floor. I needed a day like Tuesday with lots of variety, and a total lack of same old, same old.  It felt like I had a little extra bounce in my step all day through. Regretfully, TLE was still locked down in Building 'C' for the entire day......there was, one might venture, a little 'gnashing of teeth' on our way home about her plight.  I think she is inclined to have a word with our manager, Keenan, on Friday about being released into Building 'B'.

Tuesday was also the first of two catered 'Holiday Meals' served at lunch time for the Amazon workers.  The second will be on Friday, and, as it turns out, we will be able to enjoy both meals since our next work day happens to be Friday.  The extra bonus is we get 45 minutes for lunch, with 15 minutes paid.  Not a big deal by any means, but much appreciated.  We did not have to clock in, or out for lunch.....that will be taken care of by HR.

Most of our friends from our orientation group back on October 22nd did not volunteer to work on Tuesday.....they wanted that 3 day 'weekend'.  We will not take VET the next two, or three Tuesdays, because after that it will most likely become an MET (MANDATORY Extra Time) day for the remainder of our time here in Campbellsville.  Even without overtime we will be grossing $1200 every Friday....not too bad.

We were home by 5:10 pm delighting in the fact that we did not have to be in bed by 8 pm, and we did not have to work on Wednesday and Thursday.  We chose not to watch endless hours of Election coverage.  It is just another political outcome that will be made too much of, and endless mind numbing opinions will be offered about what it all means.  The political class in D.C. will continue to do what they do, and for the most part it will have little, or no effect on most Americans.   There will be slight shifts of power, but in the end none of them really cares a wit about any of us.  We will continue on with our vagabond lives living free, abundant lives, loving our children, and grandchildren, and great grandchildren.  We will continue to spend most of our time in rural America with good, salt of the earth people.....regardless of their political persuasion.  It is amazing to us that most people we come in contact with care little, or nothing about politics.  The only comments we hear are 'When are the political ads going to end?"......well, they are over for another 24 months.....thank God.

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 6, 2018

A slight break in regular programming......

4:20 am - Tuesday - November 6th - Campbellsville, KY - 58º F, 93% humidity, wind 7 mph out of the southwest.......cloudy today with a forecast high of 62º F.  It rained all night long, sometimes ferociously.  There was lightning and thunder.....a good, old fashioned toad strangler!  Stopped raining just before we got up this morning.

So, our fourth consecutive 10 hour shift at Amazon is in the books.  Our feet are still doing fine, but we are both quite tired and ready for our work week to conclude.  Monday was a landmark day in that it was my turn to escape the gravitational pull of Building 'C'....a slight change in regular programming?

About 4 pm I got a message on my scanner that I was to move into Building 'B' to 'pick' in Pick Mods K and D, and that was really the highlight of my day.  Otherwise it was the same old same old.  My life is now defined in 2.5 hour segments, which are further subdivided into 15 minute breaks, 10 minute restroom breaks, and a 30 minute lunch for good measure.  In between the brief breaks from the endless tedium that is my 'picking' world I am wandering endlessly up and down one aisle after another mostly in Pick Mod 'E'.....four floors consisting of 99.99999% apparel related items ranging in size from tiny lapel pins to complete formal men's suits.  The only thing not there are shoes, but do not despair, there is a whole section in Building 'A' dedicated to shoes.

On the other hand, Pick Mods K has a lot of electronics related items, cell phone items, toys, and D is about 80% books.  D is an endless maze of narrow aisle, low ceiling rows of books stretching the length of a couple of football fields into the distance. It feels as if have gone down the proverbial rabbit hole.  When I say the aisles are narrow, I mean narrow.  In Pick Mod E you can easily turn your cart around in the aisles, but in D the aisles are about 1.5 carts wide.  Once you enter you must keep going straight, and if anyone attempts to enter your aisle they must wait until you exit, as there is no way for them to get by you.  TLE loves this section, but I do not.

Nonetheless, we are doing fine.  Mentally we are beginning to adjust to the boredom of the repetitive task world, and each day when we exit the concrete bunker I say to TLE ".....another $300 in the bank!" which lightens the mood just a bit as we trundle up the 1/4 mile hill to our sanctuary from boredom....our home.

While it is still quite dark in the mornings when we walk to work, it is still light when we exit Amazon, but within another week, or so it will be dark as we edge towards the winter solstice.  TLE heated up that second chicken enchilada casserole I mentioned a few days back, and we sat down to watch a few recorded TV episodes.  Our three hours before bedtime pass quickly, and soon we are shutting off the interior lights and pulling the covers up to our chins for another night of redemptive slumber.  Sleep comes quickly, but we are awakened about midnight by the raging storm.  There is about an hour when it is so loud it is difficult to sleep, but eventually the intensity eases somewhat and slip back off to dreamland.  4 am comes all to quickly and the wash, rinse, dry, repeat cycle begins once again.

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.

Monday, November 5, 2018

Is it Sunday?

4:25 am - Monday - November 5th - Campbellsville, KY - 51º F, 96% humidity, wind 5 mph out of the south.....cloudy today with a forecast high of 66º F.  Rained most of the night....not raining now.  Was yesterday really Sunday?  It didn't feel like a Sunday....it is becoming difficult to remember what day of the week it is.

When we left for work Sunday it was clear and quite dry.  When I glanced out one of the cafeteria windows during lunch it was sunny and still clear.  When we exited the FC at 5 pm it was to a gentle rain.  In between all that we 'picked', and we 'picked', and we 'picked'.  And now we enter uncharted territory this time around.....our fourth and fifth consecutive 10 hour shifts are coming up Monday and Tuesday.  Our legs and feet are tired, but we are doing just fine.  At the end of Sunday's 10 hour shift I was out of gas mentally and physically, but I knew I would recover and be ready to go again on Monday.....at least that is my fervent hope.

TLE managed to escape the gravitational pull of Building 'C' at the end of the day to do some picking in Building 'A' in Pick Mods A and B.  I, on the other hand, toiled away my hours in Pick Mod 'E', this time on all 4 floors, with an ever so brief foray into Pick Mod 'F', so I finally 'hit for the cycle'.  And that my friends was the highlight of my 'picking' day.  Otherwise it was just the same old same old......wash, rinse, dry and repeat.

Things have slowed a little here at SDF1, and we are being offered 'VTO' (Voluntary Time Off) virtually everyday, and several times during the day.  For instance we could have gone home for the day at our 9 am break, and then again at our 2:30 pm break.  We didn't become aware of the 9 am VTO offering until we got home and found the messages on our phones, which we don't take to work.  The second one came over our scanners during our 2:30 pm break, but by that time we only had 2 hours to go, so why go home, right?  I'm not sure why they sent a text message on the 9 am VTO because we are not allowed to have our phones on our persons on the floor while working.  If you get caught with a phone while going through security as you exit the building you get pretty much a full body cavity search.  The only real time we have to look at our phones would be during the lunch break, so we just leave them at home.  It is amazing that we can go almost 11 hours without looking at our phones five days a week......who would have thought, right?

Well, that is a recap of our scintillating Sunday.....not much more to tell.....TLE did make a wonderful 'chili size' for dinner, and I mean it was wonderful.  I cherished every single bite.  Characterizing it as 'wonderful' seems so inadequate, and borders on insulting it was that good.

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, November 4, 2018

Symmetry.....

4:13 am - Sunday - November 4th - Campbellsville, KY - 45º F, 75% humidity, wind 5 mph out of the east......clear today with a forecast high of 64º F.

The days have taken on a kind of sameness akin to 'wash, rinse, dry, repeat'.  No one loves symmetry more than I, but there is good symmetry, and there is bad symmetry.  The symmetry you create in your life is unique to you, but the shared symmetry of a repetitive task job is something else indeed.  Some flourish in this kind of environment, and some do not.  The Amazon experience is replete with mind numbing symmetry.  We enjoy brief moments of asymmetry during our two 15 minute breaks, and 30 minute lunch, but the rest of the 10.5 hours we are onsite everyday are necessarily symmetrical for Amazon to succeed.  There are times when I am sure there is a hidden conductor somewhere orchestrating our minute by minute movements throughout this 1 million square foot concrete structure.  If there were no roof on this building and you flew a drone over it from high altitude we would appear to be so many ants moving here and there with a seeming rhythm just like we have all seen in an ant farm.  I have said often before that I have so much respect for the folks who work at Amazon full time......four to five 10's a week, week after week.  I could not do this work beyond my meager multi week commitment during peak season every few years.  Those of us who identity as 'Campeforce' folk are essentially here for a short period of time to harvest the money, and the overtime.  In the end what we will take with us when we depart are the friendships formed and a much more vigorous bank account.   It's just a very temporary job, and the money will be spent, but the friendships.....ah the friendships will last the rest of our lives, and that is the real treasure to be mined during 'Peak Season'.

We were out the door of the Newell at 6 am walking the downhill course to the Employee Entrance for another 10 hour shift.  There were no mysteries awaiting us.....we knew exactly how our day would go.  The only variable in our daily routine would be on which level of Pick Mod 'E' will we spend our day 'picking.  For me it began where it left off on Friday....P-4 of Pick Mod 'E'.  I spent time later in the day on P-1, and P-2 with a brief foray in Pick Mod F (one floor only).  I thought I was going to get to 'bat' for the cycle (baseball terminology referring to a batter getting a single, double, triple and homerun in one game), but never got to work on P-3.  Moving from floor to floor is really the only variety one experiences during a 10 hour shift.

One thing that is different from 6 years ago is that they have completely remodeled the cafeteria, and there are now floor to ceiling windows along one wall enabling you to see what kind of a day you are missing.  Saturday was a beautiful, sunny day as observed during our 30 minute lunch.

As we exited the building at 5 pm we were both quite tired mentally and physically, and silently wondering how we could do this for three more days, let alone 7 more weeks.  We will do it, but the thought is always there as you walk that 1/4 mile uphill road home where the Amazon symmetry has slowly, but surely embedded itself.  It is a necessary symmetry, but resented all the same.  It will make our off days seem even more delicious when we can cast off the Amazon symmetry for a couple of days and become individuals for a brief time.

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, November 3, 2018

7 weeks to go.....

4:22 am - Saturday - November 3rd - Campbellsville, KY - 34º F, 99% humidity, wind 1 mph out of the east by southeast......partly cloudy today with a forecast high of 58º F.

Friday was back to work day, the first of five consecutive workdays.  So far we have worked 3 five hour days, and then 3 ten hour days in preparation for 5 ten hour workdays each week for the next 7 weeks.  This is when the rubber meets the road.  Are our feet and legs ready for 10+ miles of walking per night?   Only time will tell, as they say.   One note about the walking.  When we were here 6 years ago we wold routinely pick in all three buildings each night, and moving from building to building throughout a shift can add a mile, or two per shift.  This time we have been picking in just one building, Building 'C', which does tend to reduce the nightly mileage somewhat.  Neither TLE, nor I wear one of those watches which count steps, and translate them into miles, but our friends who also spend their time picking exclusively in Building 'C' do, and are reporting mileage in the neighborhood of 9-10 miles per day.  How fast you 'pick', and how many items you pick in a shift will determine your total mileage.  I've been doing about 1,100 picks per shift.....TLE a little more.

After two days of rest, and frequent naps we were both ready to begin a new work week, and see just how well we do.  The temps as we walked to work were in the low 40's, but were only destined to reach 49º F for the day's high.    It will warm back into the 60's and 70's over the next week, but we are in store for rain Sunday, Monday and Tuesday, and then later in the week. 

Our shift went well, and as we exited the concrete fortress it was bitter cold, and breezy.  The past few days of work I had not worn my jacket, or watch cap on the walk home, but on this day I had everything on including my gloves for the 1/4 mile uphill walk to the Newell.  We were both pleasantly tired and chilly as we entered the Newell.  We quickly turned on all three heaters, and changed into something comfortable.

TLE had prepared, on our off days, a couple of chicken enchilada casseroles, and put one of them in the oven to heat it for dinner just after we changed clothes.  We have less than 3 hours from the time we get home until it is bed time, so there is no time to dilly dally.  Bhy 5:40 we were eating.....that had to be one of the top 2, or 3 enchilada casseroles she has produced over the years.  They are always very good, but this one really lit up my taste buds!

We were in bed, of course, by 8 pm, and that was our day.  We're doing well with a few expected aches and pains, but very optimistic about completing the next 7 weeks in style!

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, November 2, 2018

Parole, day 2......

4:20 am - Friday - November 2nd - Campbellsville, KY - 46º F, 83% humidity, wind 9 mph out of the west....cloudy today with a forecast high of 49º F. Today is our first Amazon payday this time around.  We each netted $201 and change for 23 hours at the old $10/hour rate.  Next Friday the 'big bucks' begin to roll in!

I slept in until almost 8 am Thursday.....that will not be happening for the next five work days.  By 9 am it was raining steadily, and we were both grateful we were home snug as two bugs in a rug, and not working.  Once again we did very little except rest, and make another trip to Harden Coffee on Main Street for some more of their great coffee and pastries.  We both read our books whilst sipping coffee, and nibbling on our strawberry crumble cakes.  I've been reading Mark Twain's first book, The Innocents Abroad, which is quite a long book at 501 pages, but I have been enjoying it immensely.  To think I have never read this book before!  It is essentially a 'travel book', and was his biggest selling book during his lifetime, as well as the best selling travel book of all time according to Wikipedia.

Other than that brief foray into downtown Campbellsville we were home watching the weather roll through.  Late in the day the winds rose into the 20+ mph range to chase the clouds across the sky.

One more thing about Thursday which I failed to recount yesterday was that we spent over an hour on the phone with the Amazon A-Z people trying to figure out why we could not access our ADP accounts.  At the end of our discussion with Jose he created 'tickets' for each of us to get the problem solved.  We think when we were taken out of Equity Lifestyle's payroll system they somehow suspended our ADP privileges.  We haven't been able to get into ADP for over a year, and we should have been able to even if we were no longer working for Equity Lifestyles (they own Tahoe Valley Campground).  Well, this morning I went to check to see if we could not get into ADP, and we can!

Late afternoon TLE and I both got multiple text messages from Amazon offering 'Voluntary Extra Time' ( or VET) opportunities.  One of them was to work a full shift on Tuesday, November 6th (6:30 am to 5 pm), and we both accepted that offer.  There were many other offers, but we both think five 10 hour days each is quite enough.  Will we work a 5th day every week.....I don't know.....we'll have to play it by ear.

That, my friends, was the extent of our Thursday shenanigans, and the end of day two of our 'parole'from the FC, so I will bid you adieu once again.....thanks for stopping by!

P.S. - Just a reminder.....I know many of you will be starting your online Christmas shopping if you have not already done so.  If you choose Amazon to make your purchases please use my affiliate link below to do so.  It does not increase your costs in anyway! Thanks!


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 1, 2018

$300 per day........

7:52 am - Thursday - November 1st - Campellsville, KY - 65º F, 76% humidity, wind 11 mph out of the south by southeast......it rained on and off throughout the night, but never for very long, or very hard.  It's weird being up at 7:52 am and the sun just now rising, and what a rising it is........


.....I just happened to open the mini blinds as I was writing the opening for today's blog and saw this spectacular orange glow over the eastern horizon!  It is so warm this morning (65 degrees) that I just walked out in shorts and flip flops to get the picture.

Resting and naps were the name of Wednesday's game.  The big mistake one can make after the first week of work at Amazon, especially if you are feeling pretty well physically, is to do too much on your off days.  We're not 'spring chickens' anymore, and the most important thing we can do during these two days off work is 'NOTHING'.

Part of 'NOTHING' Wednesday was to take a very short drive over to Harden Coffee on Main Street around noon time to have a couple of cups of coffee and a pastry.  Yelp give them 4.5 stars on 23 reviews.  What a cool place to hang out!  Since this is a college town (home to Campbellsville University) we were the only oldsters hanging out.  I actually like the energy of this little coffee house, and that is what I would call it....a coffee house, not a coffee shop.....it feels like you are sitting in someone's living room.....



......I had a strawberry crumble pastry, and TLE chose a vanilla scone.  The coffee was 'soooo' good I did not add half and half, which I always add 99.9999% of the time.  I was about to add it when TLE said "You should try it without'......I did, and I was surprised at how good it was, so I took her advice.  We sat there talking, and catching up on the events of the day on our phones for over an hour before heading out to Walmart to pick up a few things before returning to the Newell for the rest of the day.  It was good to get out, and I think we'll return to Harden's a few more times before our time here is finished.

One thing I neglected to report upon was that when we went to get into the VW to drive to Harden's it wouldn't start.  The battery had been drained by the XM Radio receiver I had failed to turn off the last time I used the car a few days prior.  When it happened last Saturday I simply plugged the battery into a charger in the 50 amp start mode, and started the car.  We drove around town, and restarted the car several times, but that was apparently too little time to get it charged up again, so when we got in the car Wednesday it was too low to turn over the engine. This time when we got home I plugged the batter back in to slow charge on the 2 amp setting, and now, as I write, it is properly charged once again.

We took it easy the rest of the afternoon, and around 5:30 pm I turned on the Sea-B-Que to grill some carne asada for a taco dinner had planned for moi....she takes such good care of me!  While we ate we watched several recorded TV episodes, and then watched 'Survivor' live at 8 pm using our streaming capability on our Roku TV.

We were both in bed a little after 9 pm in an effort to maintain as much as possible our workday schedule.  The only difference is we will sleep in on our off days!  Our pay increase to $15/hour began this past Sunday (October 28th), so now we are making (combined) $300 per 10 hour shift, and $450 on our 5th day, which is paid at time and a half, or $22.50/hour.  Makes meandering around Amazon all day, five days a week feel pretty good when you look at it that way!

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.